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A Change Of Scenery Does Him Good

Cliff Brantley making an immediate impact at Adelphi

Sometimes it’s best to make a change in your life. It’s possible something was holding you back from reaching your potential. In the case of Cliff Brantley, he just needed a change of scenery.

“Things were not working out for me at my previous school, baseball-wise,” said the junior who played at Wagner College in Staten Island. “I was in a position where I needed somewhere to play and I remembered receiving a letter from Coach Dom Scala my junior year in high school. I took the chance in telling him I was interested in playing. I visited the school and came down with my parents. I am extremely grateful to Adelphi and Coach Scala for giving me the opportunity to play.”

Through 29 games, it has been a tremendous decision. In a matter of one year, Brantley has gone from fighting for a lineup spot with a .170 average, to being the team’s leading hitter from the first day of the season and the first player on Long Island to compile 50 hits.

To this point, he has an incredible 51 hits in 114 at bats (.447), including eight doubles, one home run, 20 runs and 15 stolen bases and stellar defense in center field.

“He’s been the leadoff hitter we’ve been missing the past few years,” said relief pitcher Mike Cranston. “A great teammate, hard worker and one of the fastest players I’ve played with,” he added.

Brantley has made the Northeast-10 look easy. Those who have played in the conference know that is not generally the case. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the nation’s lowest team ERAs in 2011.

1. UMass-Lowell 1.83

2. Adelphi 1.98

3. Southern Connecticut State 2.12

4. Franklin Pierce 2.45

Even with that No. 1 ranked ERA, UMass still found a way to lose 14 games. Additionally, No. 18 and 19 on this list were also in the conference.

Essentially, the Northeast-10 is where batting averages go to die. The wood bats account for a big chunk of the power outage. It’s one of few conferences in the country that enforce it. There is also a bevy of professional-caliber pitchers that come from this conference.

Regardless, Brantley had found a way to put together 15 multi-hit games, including nine three-hit games. It has been nothing short of remarkable.

Brantley attributes the start to two things. First off all, he credits his father, also Cliff Brantley, who played two seasons in the Major Leagues (‘91-’92) to teaching him how to hit at a young age.

“Starting when I was about eight he would always throw the ball as hard as he could at me and told me to swing no matter where it was,” he said. “So I could build up the hand-eye coordination and be able to gain the confidence that I could hit any pitch with two strikes,” he added.

He also credits one of Adelphi’s coaches, Bill Ianniciello.

“We spent hours upon hours, day-in and day-out before the season working on keeping both my hands on the bat throughout my swing. I always finished my swing with only my bottom hand on the bat. Keeping a strong top hand allowed me to hit the ball harder and hit more ground balls and line drives which is very beneficial to my style of play.”

His father was a pitcher in the big leagues, which means he needed to find a hitter to emulate.

“Growing up I admired Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins and Dustin Pedroia. Currently, I’m starting to like Dee Gordon of the LA Dodgers and Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers.”

Having watched Brantley’s style of play, he does resemble those players to varying degrees. That is saying something, considering their success at the highest level.

Brantley still has a way to go to approach them, but in the meantime he is focusing on getting the Panthers to the playoffs. They are in the midst of a dogfight for a postseason berth.

“We have a strong chance for sure at the playoffs,” he said. “Our offense is starting to put up more runs these days and our pitching is continuing to do a good job. We can take this season as far as we want,” he said.

News

In an earlier column, Mayor John Watras shared some helpful tips on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.

As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm:

New online company debuts

Two Long Island childhood friends, Scott Reich and Michael Winik, recently left their respective careers as an attorney and investment banker to pursue their dream of starting a business together, online food market OurHarvest.

“When Mike and I decided to start a business, we knew it had to reflect our shared love of food, address the lifestyles of our fellow Long Islanders, and be socially responsible,” said Reich.


Sports

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

— Submitted by the Challenger Soccer League


Calendar

Financial Options For Students

Thursday, October 16

Kids In The Kitchen

Friday, October 17

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 20



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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