Dishin’ the Dirt in the new year

By Steve Svetovich

Condolences to the family of former Dunmore basketball player Corey Rinaldi who died last month unexpectedly at the age of 26…Corey played baseball for several years in the Freedom Summer Baseball League at Sherwood Park and was an assistant golf pro at the Irem Temple Country Club….Do you remember Brian Lavelle scoring 22 points in Dunmore’s 54-48 win over Scranton Prep in Lynett Tournament championship 30 years ago?…Do you remember Chael Clark scoring 27 points for Dunmore in 54-47 win over Scranton Prep in Lynett Tournament championship 20 years ago?…Condolences to family of former University of Scranton athletic director Gary Wodder who died at 78 Christmas Eve in Florida after battle with pulmonary fibrosis…Brian Walsh, member of Scranton Prep’s baseball team, will attend Bloomsburg University next year…North Carolina-bound, three-time all-state senior center Ciera Toomey, sidelined since March with torn ACL, came back in second half of Lynett Memorial Girls Tournament semifinal to swish clutch 21-foot 3-pointer in Dunmore’s 58-42 win over Scranton…Dunmore sophomore Sophia Talutto led Lady Bucks with 19 points in Lynett Tournament semifinal win…Congratulations to Scranton Prep boys and girls basketball teams for both winning Lynett Memorial Tournament…Holy Cross senior forward Gabe Gonzales scored 16 points in team’s 58-52 loss to Scranton in Lynett Memorial Boys Tournament semifinal…Oliver Almonte led Scranton with 18 points…Cullen Smith scored 16 points and Nico Ruggiero added 13 points in Dunmore’s 66-53 loss to Scranton Prep in Lynett Boys Memorial semifinal contest…Kellen Casey led Scranton Prep with 11 points and 12 rebounds…Chase Scanlan added 10 points for Prep…Scranton Prep sophomore Maya Jenkins scored 16 points and Jenna Hillebrand added 15 points in Scranton Prep’s 72-19 win over Holy Cross in Lynett Girls Memorial Tournament semifinal…Condolences to family of Dunmore’s Delvi Olivetti, who started Dunmore Roofing over 70 years ago and earned Purple Heart and Bronze Star after being shot and injured in Battle of the Bulge during World War II, who died Christmas morning at 97…Condolences to family of long time local musician Billy Arnold who performed all around world since age seven and died last month at 79…Congratulations to Lakeland quarterback and defensive back Dominico Spataro presented with 31st Fiore Cesare Award and Scholarship…Congratulations to Fred “The Crime Dog” McGriff for his long overdue selection into National Baseball Hall of Fame…The Crime Dog batted .284, with 2,490 hits, 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs in 19-year career…McGriff hit 30 or more homers 10 times and drove in more than 90 runs 12 times…Crime Dog led both leagues in homers and batted .303 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 10 playoff series and 188 post season at bats…Despite Crime Dog’s selection, Yankees legend Don Mattingly came up short on votes…Donnie Baseball hit .307 with 2,153 hits and earned nine Gold Gloves and an AL MVP in 14-year career…Todd Helton, Jeff Kent, Gary Sheffield, Jimmy Rollins, Tori Hunter, Billy Wagner, Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez and Scott Rolen are leading candidates for selection into National Baseball Hall of Fame through writers’ vote this month…This scribe’s picks would be Helton, Kent, Rollins, Sheffield and Hunter…Nashville’s Alyssa Lazar, local music talent, in town last month performing at several venues with Dunmore’s Ryan Svetovich…Former North Scranton standout athlete T.J. Schmidt proud to be expecting first grandchild in spring…Congratulations to New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge named AL MVP, team captain, Associated Press Athlete of Year and securing nine-year, $360-million contract…Judge also got married this year and broke AL single season homer record with 62…It doesn’t get much better than that…How about Lebron James scoring 47 points on 38th birthday…Condolences to family of Dunmore’s Paul Biko who died several months ago at 72…A standout basketball player at Cathedral High School, Biko coached with late legend Jimmy Valvano who called him one of best players he ever coached…Bishop Hannon graduate Jimmy “J.B.” Barrett seen strumming guitar and singing New Year’s Eve at Dunmore’s Gold Crown Pizza and Bar…Dunmore’s Joe Cardillo seen with family enjoying the entertainment New Year’s 

Athlete of the Month: Nick Donvito

Dunmore middle linebacker Nick Donvito named first-team all-star by coaches

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore junior middle linebacker Nick Donvito is starting to reap rewards for his strong work ethic on the gridiron.

After being selected as a first-team NPF Division III all-star at middle linebacker last season, the tough junior was picked as a first-team Lackawanna Football Conference Division II Coaches’ All -Star for his efforts at the defensive position this season.

Son of William and Ann Marie Donvito, Dunmore, Nick totaled 111 tackles and four fumble recoveries for Dunmore this past season.

He also plays fullback and tight end for Dunmore. He added two touchdowns on offense.

His Dunmore teammate Nico Ruggiero was named first team on both offense at running back and defense in the secondary. Another teammate Max Hunt was selected first team by the coaches as a kicker.

Nick also excels in the classroom. The scholar-athlete is a member of the TACT club and has an impressive 3.7 academic average at Dunmore.

He wants to play football in college and is thinking about attending Bloomsburg University.

The hard-working junior said he has learned a lot from his parents.

“They tell me to always stay confident and surround yourself with positive people who make you a better person.”

Dunmore head football coach Kevin McHale has also been a very positive influence. “Coach McHale taught me to be a leader both on and off the field. He taught me school is first and football is second.”

Nick talked about a remarkable Dunmore football season in which the Bucks advanced to the District II Class 2A championship, losing to an undefeated Lakeland, 20-14, in a hard fought battle. Dunmore finished the season 8-4.

“It was an amazing season from the first game on,” said the senior stalwart. “No one believed in us, especially against Old Forge. And we beat them, 43-36, in the first game of the season. We believed in ourselves. That game got us going. It built up our confidence.”

Nick talked about what it takes to excel at the middle linebacker position in high school football.

“You need to be a leader on defense,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to speak up. You need to be a dog out there on the field. You need to do the dirty work.”

The talented junior said his favorite academic subject is social studies. He would like to see American rap artist Don Toliver in concert.

He talked about the future. “I want to help Dunmore football win a district and state championship next year. I want us to make the community and our fans proud.

“Then I want to play football in college, graduate, and start my own business. I want to become an entrepreneur and maybe own and operate my own clothing store.”

The two-year starter on the football team said he loves Dunmore.

“Dunmore is the best place on earth,” he said. “There is no place I would rather be. My experience as a member of the Dunmore football team is the best. I have made so many great friends and memories. Dunmore is the greatest.”

Doin’ Dunmore: Holy Cross All-Region soccer star also excels in classroom

By Steve Svetovich

Holy Cross senior soccer player Drew Smith was selected All-Region for a second time.

And he also has four Division II first-team selections as a high school soccer performer to his credit.

So what does he do for an encore?

He accumulates a highly impressive 3.95 academic average and commits to attend Marywood University to study business and play soccer next fall.

Drew had 20 assists and 21 goals for a Holy Cross soccer team that won its second consecutive District 2 Class 1A title.

The two-time All-Region pick accounted for 60 career goals and 65 career assists.

Holy Cross finished the soccer season at 16-2-2, winning the district title over Old Forge, 4-1.

Son of Todd and Debra Smith, Drew is coached by Joe Dodgson at Holy Cross.

Well-spoken and polite, Drew has been playing travel soccer since the fourth grade. He currently plays travel soccer for Nitro, a team coached by Mike Piranian and composed of players from the Scranton and Wilkes Barre areas. Piranian is also the Wilkes University men’s soccer coach.

Drew gives a lot of credit to Piranian. “He taught me a lot and helped me get recruited,” he said.

The senior scholar-athlete said the biggest lesson he learned from Holy Cross soccer coach Dodgson is that his teammates and coaches are like a family.

Drew talked about what it takes to excel at soccer on the high school level. “Love the game and the people you play with,” he said.

“And always put in the extra work.”

His mom and dad have been mentors all the way through.

“My mom and dad always tell me to focus on school and that having a good education is one of the most important things in life.”

The humble, hard-working senior will return this spring for his second year as a javelin thrower on the Holy Cross track and field team.

He is also a member of the TRU club and digital media and design club at Holy Cross.

Drew plays about 35 travel soccer games a year. He plays year round when not playing on the school’s team. He played two travel soccer games on the day of this interview. “I love it,” he said.

He plays defensive middle man on the travel team. Drew played attacking middle man on the Holy Cross soccer team.

The articulate senior keeps his future goals simple. “I want to play soccer in college and graduate from Marywood with a business degree. I might go into supply chain management. I want to have a successful life out of college. I want to get a good job, be happy and have a happy family. I want to live a normal life.”

Drew said he has thoroughly enjoyed his experience at Holy Cross. “I loved every second of my four years here,” he said. “I will continue to enjoy the final months. My friends here made it amazing. The faculty at Holy Cross is extremely supportive.

“Being a member of the soccer team has been a tremendous experience. My soccer teammates are especially amazing friends.”