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Newsome-Chamberlain softball halted when players' father falls ill

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Wed. February 9, 2011 | Steve Lee

LITHIA — Host Newsome was clinging to a 6-5 lead after Chamberlain rallied from six runs down and had a runner on first with nobody out in the top of the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s game.

Then came a life-and-death situation that ultimately led to the nondistrict matchup being canceled.

With Beth Schinella keeping score in the press box while daughters Bailey and Bree Schinella each contributed to the Wolves’ lead, several men opened the press box door to tell Beth something was wrong with her husband, Jerry.

Beth raced down toward the front of the home stands, where Jerry lay on the pavement with school resource officer Mike Alonso, among others, administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Beth helped with CPR, pleading with her husband to fight for his life.

Several minutes passed before the game was halted as a crowd gathered. Paramedics from Hillsborough County Fire Rescue arrived and treated Jerry Schinella on the scene before carting him away on a stretcher.

“My girls are upset,” Newsome coach Dawn Vanella said. “We’re just counting it as a non-game. (Chamberlain coach Bob Diaz and I) both agreed. We didn’t have a problem with it at all.”

“We’re fine,” Diaz said. “It’s like we got rained out.”

Tears flowed among the Newsome ballplayers, many of whom walked away from the field hugging teammates or family members.

“It’s definitely important to call this,” Newsome’s Alexis Recktenwald said. “It’s very emotional.”

“We’re a team, no matter what,” Ashley Gallops said. “Our parents are hurt, we’re all hurt.”

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