Inside Maricopa Sports – April 2015


COMING TO YOU FROM PHOENIX
COLLEGE, I’M ASHLEY NEVEL, AND IT’S TIME TO GO
“INSIDE MARICOPA SPORTS.” ON THIS EDITION OF INSIDE
MARICOPA SPORTS, PHOENIX COLLEGE BASKETBALL STAR
BRANDON BROWN BEATS THE ODDS AFTER HIS LIFE
TOOK A WRONG TURN. MIKE CAROTENUTO CATCHES UP
WITH THE REIGNING NATIONAL CHAMPION HEAD COACH
TONY CIRELLI OF THE MESA BASEBALL TEAM. PC SOFTBALL CONTINUES TO
DOMINATE, WHILE BOTH THE PC MEN’S AND WOMEN’S
BASKETBALL TEAMS COMPETE IN THE NATIONAL
TOURNAMENT. ALL COMING UP ON
INSIDE MARICOPA SPORTS. STAY TUNED. JUST A MINOR SETBACK WOULD
PAVE THE WAY FOR A MAJOR COMEBACK, AS BRANDON BROWN
TAKES FULL ADVANTAGE OF HIS SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE. BRANDON BROWN IS ONE
OF THE MOST CELEBRATED BASKETBALL PLAYERS AT
PHOENIX COLLEGE, BUT IT DIDN’T START OUT THAT WAY. AFTER A PROMISING
BASKETBALL CAREER AT CESAR CHAVEZ HIGH SCHOOL,
BROWN’S HOPE AND DREAMS AS A BASKETBALL PLAYER
WERE PUT ON HOLD. I WAS HANGING OUT WITH THE
WRONG CROWD, WRONG PEOPLE AT THE WRONG TIME. AND I GOT INTO A
LITTLE BIT OF TROUBLE. HE SPENT TWO AND A HALF
YEARS IN A CORRECTIONS FACILITY FOR HIS INVOLVEMENT
WITH AN ARMED ROBBERY. BUT BRANDON TURNED HIS
LIFE AROUND AND TOOK CONTROL OF LIFE WITH THE
HELP AND SUPPORT OF HIS HIGH SCHOOL COACH
AND GARY LEE. GARY LEE IS ONE OF THE
BEST COACHES I’VE EVER HAD. HE’S LIKE A DAD ON AND OFF
THE COURT, THE SAME PERSON EVERY TIME NO MATTER WHAT. I LOVE HIM. AND HE’S JUST
A GREAT COACH. LEE HAS REMAINED A BIG
PART OF BROWN’S LIFE, EVEN WHILE BROWN
SERVED HIS TIME. WE WOULD TALK ABOUT WHAT
WAS GOING ON IN HIS DAILY LIFE AND HOW HE WAS
HANDLING IT AND TALKED ABOUT THE FUTURE AND, YOU
KNOW, A LOT OF IT WAS GO TO PC AND START FRESH
AND TRY TO PROVE HIMSELF. BROWN ENROLLED AT PHOENIX
COLLEGE IN THE SPRING OF 2013 TO PURSUE AN
EDUCATION AND PLAY BASKETBALL. HIS SUCCESS TOOK OFF FROM
THERE AS HE LED THE BEARS TO ITS FIRST NATIONAL
TITLE HIS FRESHMEN YEAR. IT MEANT THE WORLD, JUST
COMING FROM WHERE I CAME FROM TO WINNING NATIONAL
CHAMPIONSHIP AND BEING THE MVP OF THE TOURNAMENT,
NOTHING COULD TOUCH ME. JUST TO SEE HIM HAVE A
SECOND OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW HIS TALENTS PLAYING
BASKETBALL, JUST TO GET HIS DEGREE HERE AT PHOENIX
COLLEGE AND MOVE ON AND FOR HIM TO BE JUST
UNBELIEVABLY SUCCESSFUL DOING IT, IT’S
FUN TO WATCH. GORDON RECRUITED BRANDON
IN HIGH SCHOOL AND SAW HIS POTENTIAL AS
A POINT GUARD. HIS WORK ETHIC, HIS DRIVE
TO BE SUCCESSFUL, AND HE’S THE ULTIMATE COMPETITOR. BROWN NEVER LET HIS
PAST DEFINE HIM. HE USED IT AS MOTIVATION
TO NOT ONLY BECOME A BETTER BASKETBALL PLAYER,
BUT TO BECOME A BETTER STUDENT AS WELL. IT MADE ME A WAY
BETTER STUDENT. I GOT GOOD GRADES
SINCE I’VE BEEN HERE. I TAKE SCHOOL A
LOT MORE SERIOUS. BROWN BELIEVES HIS
EXPERIENCE BOTH GOOD AND BAD HAS GIVEN
HIM A REPUTATION. I MADE A HUGE
TURNAROUND IN MY LIFE. I DID A LOT OF GREAT
THINGS HERE AT THIS SCHOOL. AND I THINK I HAD
A LOT OF SUCCESS. COACH LEE SAYS BROWN’S
ACHIEVEMENTS ARE AN INSPIRATION TO THE KIDS AT
CESAR CHAVEZ HIGH SCHOOL. WE TAKE OUR KIDS OVER TO
PHOENIX COLLEGE FOR WATCH THEM TO PLAY. HE’LL COME HERE FOR OPEN
GYM AND PLAY WITH OUR KIDS, AND THEY REALLY
LIKE WATCHING HIM PLAY. BROWN SHARES SOME ADVICE
TO THOSE WHO LOOK UP TO HIM. STAY FOCUSED ON WHATEVER
IT IS THAT YOU’RE TRYING TO DO AND GO FOR IT. BROWN’S MENTAL TOUGHNESS
ALLOWS HIM TO PRESERVER AND TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF
HIS SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE. BROWN LED THE BEARS
TO ANOTHER NATIONAL TOURNAMENT THIS YEAR
WHERE THEY PLACED THIRD. EXPECT CONTINUED SUCCESS
FROM THE 23 YEAR OLD WHO HAS INTEREST FROM
MANY MAJOR COLLEGES. NEXT ON INSIDE MARICOPA
SPORTS, MIKE CAROTENUTO CATCHES UP WITH THE MESA
COMMUNITY COLLEGE BASEBALL TEAM. LAST SEASON BROUGHT THE
MESA COMMUNITY COLLEGE BASEBALL TEAM AND HEAD
COACH TONY CIRELLI THEIR FIRST NATIONAL TITLE. CIRELLI REFLECTS ON WHAT
WINNING THAT CHAMPIONSHIP MEANT TO HIM IN HIS
INTERVIEW WITH MIKE CAROTENUTO. TONI CIRELLI HAS BEEN
MCC’S HEAD BASEBALL COACH FOR 21 YEARS. AND IN THAT TIME THE
PROGRAM HAS HAD BOTH TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS. BUT THE ONE THING MISSING
FROM COACH CIRELLI’S RESUME WAS A NATIONAL
CHAMPIONSHIP. WELL, THE 2014 TEAM
DELIVERED THAT, AND IT’S AN EXPERIENCE THAT
FEELS SURREAL TO HIM. IT’S HARD TO COMPREHEND
STILL, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS SO MANY THINGS THAT
HAD TO GO RIGHT. THE KIDS JUST PLAYED GREAT
ON THE DAYS THEY HAD TO. SO WE GOT A LOT OF BREAKS
AND BALLS BOUNCED OUR WAY. THE CHAMPIONSHIP WAS A
BATTLE TO WIN, BECAUSE MESA LOST THEIR FIRST GAME
AND WOULD HAVE TO WIN FIVE IN A ROW TO WIN THE TITLE. BUT COACH CIRELLI AND
THEIR STAFF DIDN’T CHANGE THEIR MESSAGE TO THE TEAM FROM
THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON. AND OUR BIG THING THE
WHOLE YEAR WAS PLAY AGAINST THE GAME. SO, YOU KNOW, WE DON’T
GET CAUGHT UP IN WHO WE’RE PLAYING OR WHERE WE’RE
PLAYING OR THE SITUATION. IF YOU PLAY IT IN SMALL
PORTIONS AND WIN AN INNING AT THE TIME, AND THEN AT
THE END OF THE GAME YOU LOOK UP AND HOPEFULLY
YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT END OF THE SCORE. FOR COACH CIRELLI THE
ALUMNI ARE AN IMPORTANT ASPECT TO THE PROGRAM,
FROM COMING OUT TO PRACTICE AND TALKING WITH
THE TEAM, TO WORKING WITH THE PLAYERS ON THE FIELD,
AND HELPING OUT WHEN THE TEAM IS ON THE
BIGGEST STAGE. AS I WATCHED PROBABLY 3 OR
4 OF THE GAMES ONLINE WHEN THEY WERE PLAYING, AND I
TEXT ROSE ONE GAME, AND I WAS TELLING HIM, HEY, THE
PITCHER IS DOING THIS, YOU KNOW, DOING THAT,
TRYING TO HELP THEM OUT. TO BE ABLE TO WATCH OVER
THE INTERNET AND SEE HIM SUCCEED AND FINALLY GET
THE RING, I MEAN, IT WAS DEFINITELY AN
AWESOME EXPERIENCE. FOR SOPHOMORE PITCHER
EVAN FRESQUEZ THE JOY OF WINNING A NATIONAL TITLE
WAS EVEN SWEETER, SINCE THE TEAM GOT COACH
CIRELLI HIS FIRST. SOMETHING THAT WE
WORKED REALLY HARD FOR. I KNOW THAT IT’S SOMETHING
THAT HE’S WORKED VERY HARD FOR, BEING HERE FOR SO
LONG AND NEVER GIVING UP. AND HE ALWAYS
BELIEVED IN US. AND SO WE WANTED TO GIVE
HIM EVERYTHING THAT WE GOT, AND WE LEFT IT ON THE FIELD
AND BROUGHT BACK THE TITLE. WINNING A NATIONAL
CHAMPIONSHIP MEANS A LOT TO COACH CIRELLI, BUT IT’S
NOT WHAT VALIDATES HIS COACHING CAREER. THE LIFE LESSONS AND THE
SUCCESSES FORMER PLAYERS HAVE OFF THE FIELD
IS JUST AS IMPORTANT. YOU KNOW, BEING RESPECTFUL
TO EVERYBODY, HIS STUFF ABOUT STANDING FOR THE
NATIONAL ANTHEM, YOU KNOW, DON’T MOVE UNTIL THE
ENTIRE THING IS OVER. I STILL DO THAT TODAY. TO SEE THAT THEY ARE HUGE
IN THE COMMUNITY, THAT THEY’RE GOOD FATHERS, GOOD
HUSBANDS, THAT’S VERY REWARDING. WE’VE BEEN TO — YOU KNOW,
COACH WILLIS AND I HAVE BEEN TO A LOT OF WEDDINGS. AND THAT’S REALLY AN HONOR
TO ME FOR SOMEONE TO ASK ME TO COME TO
THEIR BIG DAY. MCC FANS SHOULD BE EXCITED
TO KNOW THAT COACH CIRELLI HAS NO INTENTION TO
RETIRE ANYTIME SOON. I REALLY DON’T HAVE ANY
HOBBIES BESIDES MESA BASEBALL. SO, YOU KNOW, I TELL
PEOPLE WHEN I WAS TEN YEARS OLD I COULDN’T WAIT
TO GET OUT OF SCHOOL SO I COULD GO TO THE BALLPARK. I’M 56 YEARS OLD, AND I
CAN’T WAIT TO GET OUT OF SCHOOL TO GO TO
THE BALLPARK. MIKE CAROTENUTO FOR
INSIDE MARICOPA SPORTS. MCC CARRIED LAST YEAR’S
SUCCESS OVER TO THIS SEASON AS THEY SET A TOP
OF THE ACCAC STANDINGS. NOW WE TURN OUR ATTENTION
TO ANOTHER TEAM DOMINATING THEIR CONFERENCE, THE
PHOENIX COLLEGE SOFTBALL TEAM. OVER THE PAST 14 YEARS THE
PHOENIX COLLEGE SOFTBALL PROGRAM WON 8 NJCAA
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS AND 12 RELIGION I
DIVISION II TITLES. BUT THE BEAR’S WINNING
MOMENTUM STALLED LAST SEASON AFTER SCOTTSDALE
COMMUNITY COLLEGE PULLED OFF THE UPSET TO WIN THE
D-II RELIGION I TITLE AND ADVANCED TO THE NATIONAL
TOURNAMENT, A MOMENT THAT HEAD COACH HEINZ MUELLER
USED TO HIS ADVANTAGED. I LEARNED FROM IT, WORKED
HARDER, RECRUITED HARDER. LAST YEAR’S LOSS MOTIVATED
THE BEARS AS THEY SWEPT THE ARTICHOKES IN
THEIR SEASON SERIES. HE REMINDED US LIKE, HEY,
THIS IS THE TEAM WE LOST TO LAST YEAR. THEY BEAT US ON
OUR HOME FIELD. WE CAN’T DO THAT. WE CAN’T DO THAT AGAIN. FRESHMEN KENNEDY GARCIA
LEADS THE NJCAA IN SAVES AND WINS AND RANKS
5TH IN STRIKEOUTS. SHE HAS ALSO EARNED
SEVERAL ACCAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS. THEY MEAN A LOT. IT MEANS, LIKE, I’M
ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING RIGHT HERE. GARCIA IS PLAYING A
CRUCIAL ROLE IN PC SUCCESS SO FAR THIS SEASON. THE BEARS ARE FIRST IN THE
ACCAC, BUT HER FOCUS ISN’T ON THE STANDINGS. I THINK WE’RE NUMBER
ONE RIGHT NOW SO FAR. I KIND JUST DON’T
THINK ABOUT IT. AS LONG AS WE GET
THE WIN I’M HAPPY. SOPHOMORE CATCHER MORGAN
LEONARD HAS ALSO EARNED ACCAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
HONORS AND RANKS THIRD IN THE NATION IN RBI’S AND
SECOND IN HOME RUNS. IT REALLY PUT A DRIVE IN
ME AND REALLY SHOWED ME WHAT A PLAYER I CAN BE
AND HAVE TURNED INTO. LEONARD CREATES A LOT OF
HER SUCCESS TO MUELLER AND HIS COACHING STAFF. THE AMOUNT OF CONFIDENCE
AND HOW MUCH THEY PUSH YOU AND HOW MUCH THEY KNOW
THAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF — LIKE, HE’LL SEND A TEXT
OUT AFTER GAMES AND SAY, YOU DID AMAZING. YOU DID GREAT. NOT MANY COACHES DO THAT. THROUGH COMMUNICATION
COACH MUELLER SEES THAT CONFIDENCE BUILDING MENTAL
TOUGHNESS AND HELPING HIS TEAM WIN GAMES. IF YOU GET YOUR TEAM TO
LEARN HOW TO COME FROM BEHIND AND LEARN HOW TO
PLAY THROUGH ADVERSITY, YOU GOT A PRETTY GOOD
SHOT, BECAUSE THEY’RE NEVER DOWN. GIVEN PC’S HISTORY AND
VICTORIOUS REPUTATION, GARCIA KNOWS SHE PLAYS
ON A MARKED TEAM, BUT SHE DOESN’T LET THAT STOP HER
FROM PLAYING HER GAME. I DEFINITELY FEEL THERE IS
A TARGET, BUT I DON’T LET IT BOTHER ME. IT DOESN’T
REALLY PHASE ME. I JUST PLAY IT ONE
GAME AT A TIME. THE LADY BEARS AREN’T
INTIMIDATED BY ANY OPPONENT. I DON’T THINK WE REALLY
THINK ABOUT A TEAM THAT THREATENS US REALLY. I THINK WE JUST GO OUT
THERE AND PLAY IT INNING BY INNING, PITCH BY PITCH. CELEBRATING HIS 25TH YEAR
AS PC’S HEAD COACH AND HAVING MORE THAN 1,000
WINS UNDER HIS BELT, MUELLER KNOWS WHAT IT
TAKES TO WIN AND BE A NATIONAL CHAMPION. ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS
I ALWAYS GO BY IS AT THE END OF THE SEASON WHEN
IT’S REGIONALS AND NATIONALS, IS LET THEM
HAVE FUN AND LET THEM PLAY THE GAME AND GET
OUT OF THEIR WAY. FOR INSIDE MARICOPA
SPORTS, I’M ASHLEY NEVEL. CONFIDENT AND FOCUSED, THE
LADY BEARS STRIVE TO CLOSE OUT THE SEASON ON THE
HIGH NOTE AND BRING HOME ANOTHER NATIONAL TITLE. STAY WITH US ON INSIDE
MARICOPA SPORTS, BOTH THE PHOENIX COLLEGE MEN’S
BASKETBALL HEAD COACH MATT GORDON AND THE WOMEN’S
COACH KRISTINE KINCAID SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES IN
THE NATIONAL TOURNAMENT. AFTER CLAIMING THEIR FIRST
MEN’S BASKETBALL NATIONAL TITLE LAST YEAR, THE
PHOENIX COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM MADE
ANOTHER APPEARANCE TO THE NATIONAL TOURNAMENT, BUT
FELL SHORT OF A TITLE AND TOOK THIRD PLACE. IT WAS REALLY DIFFERENT. AND THEN EVERYBODY
EXPECTED MORE OF US. BUT IT’S FUN. IT’S FUN TO HAVE THAT
CHALLENGE, AND OUR GUYS HANDLED IT REALLY WELL. WE JUST FELL A LITTLE
SHORT, BUT, YOU KNOW, IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE. CONGRATS TO THE MEN’S
BASKETBALL TEAM ON ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL SEASON. NOW ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE
OF BASKETBALL, THE BEARS HADN’T BEEN TO THE
NATIONAL TOURNAMENT SINCE 2003, BUT THAT ALL CHANGED
THIS YEAR AS FIVE-YEAR HEAD COACH KRISTINE
KINCAID AND HER TEAM SHOCKED ARIZONA BY
CLAIMING THE RELIGION I TITLE AND THEN STUNNED THE
NATION IN THE NATIONAL TOURNAMENT. IT JUST REALLY PUT THINGS
IN PERSPECTIVE, AND THAT’S WHAT IT’S ABOUT IS THEM
REALIZING THAT, YOU KNOW, ALL YOUR HARD WORK AND
ALL YOUR EFFORT, YOU KNOW, THAT PUT IN THROUGHOUT
THE YEAR THAT, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, IT’S
GOING TO PAY OFF. SO, YOU KNOW, WE’RE
ALREADY LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR. THE 16TH-SEEDED BEARS WON
2 GAMES IN THE NATIONAL TOURNAMENT TO
CLAIM 8TH PLACE. CONGRATS TO
THE LADY BEARS. THAT’S GOING TO DO IT FOR
THIS EDITION OF INSIDE MARICOPA SPORTS. FOR DATES AND TIMES OF OUR
SHOW VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT MARICOPA.EDU/MCTV. CHECK OUT OUR FACEBOOK
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MARICOPA SPORTS TEAM, I’M ASHLEY NEVEL. WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

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