KINGSTON — They say stroke play — similar to a shootout in ice hockey — is the most exciting part of field hockey.
But not so much when the strokes don’t go your way.
Lehigh Valley 1 converted two strokes and held Pocono 1 to just one goal on a stroke to win the Keystone Games Junior field hockey gold medal Sunday, 1-0 at Wyoming Seminary’s Nesbitt Field.
“It’s always tough to lose like that,” said Coughlin High School coach Colleen Woods, who assisted Pocono 1 head coach Courtney Thomas.
Still, there was no shame for Pocono 1 in winning a silver medal.
“I think I did my best the whole time,” said Pocono 1 goalie Mia Magnotta, who shut out Lehigh Valley 1 through regulation and a 10-minute overtime period. “I’m disappointed. But at the end of the day, I think our team tried our best.”
Magnotta led Wyoming Seminary to the Class A state finals as a freshman goalie last season, and felt that high-stakes postseason high school tournament was comparable to what she felt in the Keystone Games.
“It felt a little similar, yeah,” Magnotta said.
For Thomas, a Lake-Lehman assistant, the experience was uplifting.
“It was a really nice game to play and watch, all the way through strokes,” Thomas said. “I think the girls, coming from all different schools, they all came together and formed a family.”
TRACK AND FIELD
After a decade away from the sport, Wilkes-Barre resident Bob Meluskey returned with a bang Sunday.
Or, make that three bronze.
Meluskey, also known as “Moose,” took third place in the javelin, discus and shot put events Sunday at the Senior Games.
What kept him away?
The former press maintenance mechanic at Offset Paperback pointed to a myriad of physical injuries he’s endured, most notable an accident at work that left him hospitalized in 2014 and forced a long recovery from concussion symptoms.
What brought him back?
“I’ve still got that little kid in me,” Meluskey said.
Speaking of kids, recent Hazleton Area grad Joey Grula won the boys 17-19 javelin Saturday with a throw of 172-10 to win gold by more than 15 feet. Grula, a state medalist in javelin, will head off to throw for Brown University in the fall.
Phil Stevens of Dalton and Darlis Simonton of Carlisle captured the 80-and-over division of mixed doubles, extending a long-standing friendship between the pair at Newberry Estates Country Club.
Or maybe not.
“We met in grade school,” Stevens cracked, before admitting that before Saturday, the two had “never met.”
Simonton also won the 80-and-over women’s singles gold medal, while Simonton finished second but picked up the Pennsylvania gold medal Friday in pickleball.
“Because the guy who beat me was from Maryland,” Stevens said. “Oh, we had a lot of fun.”
It may have been a twist of fate, but certainly not luck, that took Charlie DiMarco to the gold medal for the 74-79 age group.
With an unconventional backhand release, the 77-year-old DiMarco spun his way to the title at Newberry Estates to add to his collection of Keystone State gold medals that are getting too numerous for him to carry.
“Most people shoot with the front hand. I’ve always shot with the backhand,” DiMarco said, after tossing his bocce ball tantalizingly close to the centered golf ball with amazing consistency. “I don’t know why, but I’ve always done it that way.”
DiMarco, from West Chester, said he plays regularly in a league in southern Pennsylvania and marked his 22nd year competing in the Keystone Games — boasting he wins at bocce about every other year.
He said he picked up the sport at an early age, and it’s brought him a lifetime of good times.
“I’m Italian,” DiMarco said. “My father who was from the old country. When I was a kid, we had to play bocce in the backyard.
“So I got interested.”
DiMarco also took a bronze medal in shuffleboard Sunday.
WILKES-BARRE – Athletes from around the state have been in Luzerne County competing in the Keystone State Games and Pennsylvania Senior Games since Thursday.
In some cases, the participants have even come to the area from across state borders.
The women’s volleyball tournament, conducted as part of the Senior Games Saturday and Sunday at Wilkes University’s McHale Athletic Center, featured 16 teams, including entries from New York, Ohio, Maryland and Virginia.
More was at stake than just medals in Pennsylvania.
The top three finishers in each of four age groups – the top Pennsylvania team was also guaranteed of advancing – became eligible for the National Senior Games to be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2019.
Five teams and tournament director Tami Barker, a Keystone Games volunteer, all came to Wilkes-Barre for the event from the Pittsburgh area.
“There’s pool play so everyone is getting to play several times,” Barker said.
Lokahi East Coast Volleyball from the Philadelphia suburbs, named after a team its founders had played for in Hawaii, produced the 50-54 champion Saturday and 55-59 champion Sunday.
Pittsburgh teams took the other two titles.
The men’s tournament will be conducted Aug. 4-5 on the same courts.
Richard Ferrier showed incredible consistency in the 55-64-year-old Male Scratch Division when the Keystone Games and Senior Games wrapped up competition at Chacko’s Family Bowling Center on Sunday.
Ferrier, from Lancaster County, opened with a 256 and followed it with consecutive games of 257 in a series of 770 to defeat silver medalist Bret York by 73 pins.
There were other impressive scores from senior men.
Being unopposed in the 65-and-over Male Scratch Division did not discourage Walter Williams from putting together a big series. He rolled a 224-279-233—736.
The largest field of the bowling competition for any age was in Division B Doubles, a handicap event that had 10 teams Saturday afternoon.
Maribeth Baker, who put up the same score while taking the 12-15 Female Handicap Division gold unopposed, had a 581 series to combine with Gregory Matyjevich’s 645 and a team handicap of 84 in a series of 1370.
Andrew Webb won Saturday’s 5K for the United Way, a new running event held in conjunction with the Keystone Games.
Webb led a field of 97 finishers with a time of 22:33.
Among the age group winners were: 25-29 Female, Laine Mackave, Wilkes-Barre; 30-34 Female, Meghan Miller, Swoyersville; 45-49 Female, Traci Strungis, Mountain Top; 10-15 Male, Jacob Patla, Hunlock Creek; 35-39 Male, Hanover Twp.; 45-49 Male, John Van Why, Wilkes-Barre; 55-59 Male, Jerry Langan, Pittston; 70-74 Male, Maxim Furek, Mocanaqua.
Tom Robinson contributed to this coverage