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Simmons, JCC ready to go


If anyone is prepared for the condensed and chaotic spring sports schedule that the prolonged winter weather is sure to cause, it’s Kyle Simmons and the Jefferson Community College baseball team.

Simmons, a returning NJCAA Region 3 All-American, played 95 games in six months between his freshman season at JCC last year and his summer stint with the Fulton Railroaders of Kentucky in the Ohio Valley League.

“It was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” said Simmons, a 2012 graduate of Watertown High School.

“It gave me that experience on how to play so many games in such a short amount of time. I (had) never played 45 games in a month and a half before.”

The Cannoneers, coming off their best season in a decade, have already postponed a doubleheader scheduled for today to open their regional schedule. They are in danger of doing the same with each of the three doubleheaders slated for later this week.

“We’re going to be playing a lot of baseball in about a five-week period,” said John Northrop, entering his sixth year as head baseball coach.

Northrop said that this year’s squad, the deepest he’s had with 31 players overall and 16 pitchers, is designed for this type of season.

“It was a similar situation to last year and they got tired at the end of the year.” Northrop said. “Their swings became long or their arms became tired. So we have guys now that can step in and take over and get the appropriate rest days that we need so they can recover and still produce at a high level.”

The Cannoneers finished 26-19 overall last season, 20-8 in the Region 3 Division III East Division, and reached the regional playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Simmons, who plays shortstop and pitches, led the way offensively with a .448 batting average, 69 hits, 14 doubles and eight triples. He drove in 52 runs, ranking second on the team.

Simmons said he hoped to improve his power stroke entering this season, and credited his use of a wood bat all summer in the Ohio Valley League with doing just that.

“I (had) never swung wood all summer,” Simmons said. “Doing that and then coming back to the bats we use, honestly, it feels a lot better. I feel like I have a lot more power and I hit the ball harder.”

Simmons will attend Division II Coker College on an athletic scholarship this fall. Coker, in Hartsville, S.C., is the defending Division II World Series Champion.

Simmons, who was the Times All-North Most Valuable Player as a high school senior, said he almost chose to play for St. John Fisher coming out of high school.

“He’s that stereotypical kid that, in years past, wouldn’t even think about coming here,” Northrop said of Simmons. “But he bought into the program, bought into what we’re trying to do here and he will reap the benefit of getting a really big scholarship at a very good Division II school.”

Here’s a look at all of the JCC spring sports teams.


Coach: John Northrop (6th year).

2013 record: 26-19 overall, 20-8 Region 3 Division 3 East.

Roster: Kyle Simmons (So., SS/RHP); Calder Roggie (So., 2B); Alexander Sanchez (Fr., RHP); Terrance Belec (So., 1B); Bradley McQuinn (Fr., OF); Elliot Martin (So., C/RHP); Eury Villalona (So., LHP); James Matthews III (So., RHP); Alvin Valdez (Fr., OF); Jorge Mera (So., OF); Brandon Noble (Fr., 1B); Jason Hardie (So., C); Michael Wood (Fr., 3B); Cameron Robbins (Fr., LHP); Dustin Pond (So., RHP); Mac Edwards (So., C); Rolando Rincon (So., RHP); Chris Ballester (So., 3B); Emerson Gross (Fr., 3B); Shavict Lora (Fr., 1B); Arman Lakhani (Fr., RHP); James Smith (Fr., OF); James Snelgrove (Fr., RHP); Braden Weir (Fr., C); James Adydan (So., RHP); Danny Granger (Fr., RHP); Justin Gaudet (Fr., 2B); Billy Newcombe (Fr., RHP); Bryant Wentworth (Fr., 2B); TJ Montalbano (Fr., OF/RHP); CJ Loomis (Fr., SS).


Coach: Dave Vespa (2nd year).

2013 record: 2-9.

Outlook: Former Immaculate Heart Central standouts Mike Lazore and Marcus Emerson have joined Dave Vespa’s coaching staff this season. Vespa, in his second year at the helm, said the Cannoneers will be led by their defense, particularly long-poles James Grimm, a former Carthage player, and the returning Mike Mulligan. Dallas Thomas will be the lead option on offense, while returnees Joe Spooner and Jordan Jerome will also be relied on to score. Vespa said he believes the team is talented enough to make the Region 3 Playoffs. JCC made regionals for four straight years from 2008-11, but hasn’t qualified the last two seasons.

Roster: Dallas Thomas (Fr., A); Dan Patterson (Fr., M); Kristian Baxter (So., M); Marshall Stanley (Fr., D); Willie Scott (Fr., M); Gordon Wiltse (Fr., G); Bret Hanson (Fr., M); Zach Anderson (Fr., G); Devin Slayden (Fr., D); Lucas Clark (Fr., D); Taylor Ballou (Fr., M); Dan Conlin (Fr., M); Matt Ferris (Fr., D); Michael Louis (Fr., D); James Brossoit (Fr., M); Claude Bennett (Fr., D); Robbie Sharfstein (Fr., G); James Grimm (Fr., D); Jordan Jerome (So., A); Mike Mulligan (So., D); Joseph Spooner (So., M/A).


Coach: Whitney Bachner (3rd year).

2013 record: 10-4.

Outlook: JCC lost to Onondaga Community College in regionals last year after a 10-4 season that included three losses to the top-two ranked teams in the region. Third-year coach Whitney Bachner believes this year’s squad has the talent to return to regionals. Leading the way will be Victoria Fusco, a high school All-American goalie at Immaculate Heart Central in 2012. The returning Jenna Flath, along with freshmen Taylor Rosette and Haleigh Flint, will be the primary scoring options.

Roster: Victoria Fusco (Fr., G); Halle O’Brien (Fr., A); Morgan Nabywaniec (Fr., M); Morgan O’Hearn (Fr., D); Madalyn Brand (Fr., M); Hannah Miterko (Fr., M); Stephanie Rosenberger (Fr., A); Taylor Rosette (Fr., A); Kathryn Beagle (Fr., M); Samantha Alteri (Fr., D); Haleigh Flint (Fr., M); Jenna Flath (So., A); Paige Hart (So., D); Leighanne Booth (Fr., M).


Coach: Lyndsay Rowell-Grandjean (1st year).

2013 record: 11-15.

Outlook: Former Sandy Creek standout Lyndsay Rowell-Grandjean has taken over the program hoping to improve on a sub-.500 season. Freshmen Brooke LaLone and Haley Riley, from South Jefferson and Lowville, respectively, will handle the pitching duties. Lauren Labiendo, a freshman from LaFargeville, is expected to lead off the lineup and anchor the outfield. JCC will look to sophomores Mary Young and Kate Gehrke to drive in runs in the middle of the lineup, while freshmen Jarika Nuffer and Jordan Miller lead a strong defensive infield.

Roster: Jordan Miller (Fr., IF); Jarika Nuffer (Fr., IF/OF); Paige Morgia (So., IF/OF); Brooke LaLone (Fr., P); Jane Judware (So., 1B); Kate Gehrke (So., C/OF); Lauren Labiendo (Fr., OF); Jenna Ferlito (So., OF); Taylor Murtha (So., C); Haley Riley (Fr., P/OF); Mary Young (So., IF).

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