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Rob Potter | Democrat

MELANIE KLEINER, A 15-year-old sophomore at Sullivan West Central School, is playing for the boys’ golf team this spring. She competed for the Lady Bulldogs’ golf squad the past three seasons.

Melanie Kleiner Plays For SW Boys' Golf Team

By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON — April 20, 2007 — Melanie Kleiner is moving from the red tees to the blue tees.
After playing for the Sullivan West girls’ golf team the past three years, Kleiner is a member of the SW boys’ golf team this spring.
As a result, the 15-year-old sophomore will experience some changes in her golf game.
One of the adjustments Kleiner will need to make is to hit the ball farther off the tee. At courses like the Villa Roma in Callicoon, where the SW boys’ and girls’ golf teams play their home matches, girls tee off from the red tees, but the boys use the blue tees.
At each hole, the red tees are closer to the green. For example, the blue tees on the Villa’s par-4 first hole are 365 yards from the pin and the red tees are 245 yards from the pin. That is a 120-yard difference.
However, Kleiner is ready for the challenge.
“I need to elevate my game,” she said. “I will need to hit from the longer tees as I get taller and stronger.”
SW Coach Bob Fife is not worried about Kleiner’s ability to hit from the blue tees.
“She will have to make some adjustments to her game,” Fife said. “But she will hold her own against the boys.
“I think she will probably be our third or fourth best player,” he added.
Fife noted that Kleiner should not have too many problems with her short game.
“She should do very well on the fairways and around the greens here at the Villa Roma,” he said. “She has played this course a thousand times.”
Actually, Fife might not be too far off in his estimation. Because her father, Matt Kleiner, is the PGA Golf Professional at the Villa Roma, Melanie Kleiner has been playing the course for several years.
Matt Kleiner is very supportive of his daughter’s decision to play on the SW boys’ golf team.
“It’s what she needed to do,” he said. “Melanie really wants to play golf in college and this will help her prepare for that next level. Playing against the guys on the blue tees is similar to playing with college girls.”
Melanie realizes that playing against the boys and teeing off on the blue tees will help her game now and in the future.
“My ultimate dream is to play golf for Duke,” she said.
Other schools which Kleiner is considering are Georgia, Pepperdine and UCLA. Like Duke, those universities have some of the best women’s golf programs in the nation.
Melanie and her teammates were scheduled to open their season on Monday at the Villa against The Family School and then play at James I. O’Neill on Tuesday afternoon. But both matches were cancelled due to the heavy rains which fell over the area from Sunday into Monday.
On Wednesday, the SW team played a practice round on the Villa’s front nine.
Melanie noted that her teammates have offered her support and encouragement.
“They are all my friends and they have been really nice,” she said.
One of those teammates is especially close to Melanie – her older brother, Ben Kleiner.
Melanie noted that she has asked Ben, a SW senior, questions when they are out on the course and he gives her good advice.
“We played a lot of golf over the Easter break,” she said. “Ben is always willing to help me and he supports me being on the boys’ team.”
SW is slated to host Roscoe at 4 p.m. today at the Villa Roma in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) match.
Is Kleiner ready for the match?
“Definitely, I’m very excited,” she replied.
And Kleiner, who twice last spring shot an even par 35 on the Villa’s front nine while competing for the Lady Bulldogs’ team, is looking forward to the rest of the season as well.
Fife thinks that Melanie has a good chance of qualifying for the OCIAA championship, which will be held on May 14 at the Swan Lake Golf & Country Club. If Melanie qualifies for that event, she would have the opportunity to earn a spot in the following week’s Section IX tournament.
“I would be really happy to qualify for the league meet,” she said. “I think that would be a good accomplishment.”

Rob Potter | Democrat

TRI-VALLEY THIRD BASEMAN Tricia Corigliano uses her right hand to hold the softball in her glove as she tags Onteora’s Shannon Smith in the third inning of Saturday’s non-league game in Grahamsville. However, Corigliano’s tag was a second too late, which allowed Smith to successfully steal the base.

Onteora Shuts Out Tri-Valley

By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE — April 17, 2007 — The Onteora softball team evened its record on Saturday while spoiling the season opener for the Tri-Valley Lady Bears.
Behind a strong pitching performance by Dee Shultis, Onteora defeated the host Lady Bears, 5-0, in the non-league game at the Grahamsville Fairgrounds.
The Lady Indians improved their record at 2-2, while T-V fell to 0-1.
Shultis, a sophomore, recorded 12 strikeouts while earning the shutout victory. She allowed just two hits in the contest.
The only T-V players to get a hit off Shultis were Bethany Huebsch and Kayla McNamara.
“We had a lack of aggressiveness in the batter’s box,” T-V Coach Mary Feusner said. “We just didn’t show a lot of confidence in the [batter’s] box today.”
Onteora took a 1-0 advantage in the top of the third inning. Shannon Smith led off with an infield single, then stole second base and third base. After T-V pitcher Gretchen Hartman retired the next two Lady Indians with a strikeout and a groundout, respectively, Becky Shultis singled to center field and Smith scored on the base hit.
The Lady Indians extended their lead in the top of the fifth. With one out, Mallory Cairo singled and Becky Shultis reached base on an error. The next batter, Missy Leighton, ripped a single to center field. Both Cairo and Becky Shultis crossed home plate on the hit, giving their team a 3-0 advantage.
Onteora added a pair of runs in the seventh inning.
Cairo opened the frame with a single to left field. Hartman retired the next two batters with infield pop flies, but Smith reached base with a walk.
Cairo scored when Dee Shultis singled to left field. The next batter, Liz Patterson, ripped a single to left, which enabled Smith to score.
Dee Shultis also tried to score on the hit, but she was tagged out at the plate by Lady Bear catcher Kayla McNamara after a fine throw from left fielder Kayla Scannell.
The outstanding relay from Scannell to McNamara was one of the game’s highlights for the Lady Bears. Another was a spectacular catch by shortstop Karyn Sheeley. In the sixth inning, Dee Shultis smacked a hard line drive towards left field. But Sheeley jumped up and caught the ball in the top of her glove to rob Shultis of at least a single.
Following the game, Onteora Coach Doris Thomas had a great deal of praise for Dee Shultis, who is only a sophomore.
“She is not our regular starting pitcher, but she did very well today,” Thomas said. “Our catcher, Shannon Smith, is not our normal catcher, but she and Dee worked very well together.
“Everybody on our team played well,” Thomas added.
Feusner noted that her team “made some silly errors” versus the Lady Indians.
Those mistakes can probably be attributed to some first-game jitters and the fact that the Lady Bears are a very young team. There are only four seniors on the T-V roster – Hartman, McNamara, Kayla Raimundo and Scannell. In addition, two freshmen and an eighth-grader were among the team’s starting infielders on Saturday.
Feusner pointed out that there were some positives for the Lady Bears, including defensive plays like Sheeley’s and the work of Hartman and McNamara.
“We don’t have any complaints about the battery,” Feusner said. “Gretchen pitched well and Kayla did a great job behind the plate.”
The veteran coach noted that her team has plenty of time to improve as the season proceeds.
“We’ll learn from today,” Feusner commented. “We’ll be OK.”

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