IHA team dinner featured laughter, some tears and a classic Abbott and Costello routine from Joe and Allen LaRezza; A pictorial look back at a championship season

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

Barely 48 hours after winning a riveting Non-Public A state championship at Kean University for the second straight year, the Immaculate Heart Academy softball team gathered for its season-ending team dinner.

cakeThe cake, presented to the team at its June 13 dinner, was well received. (Click on all photos for larger images).

The expected emotions of the event were there, but a nice mix of laughter and the joy of finishing 31-1 seemed to resonate, which would have been good news for the man that elicited the aforementioned emotions.

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Many will say that IHA’s legendary head coach Anthony LaRezza had watched over his players all season long, as well as the parents and fans who never missed a scrimmage, or game. No one loved coaching as much as Anthony, and he knew that the 2016 season could be special after the ’15 team had won a somewhat unexpected title with a roster of underclassmen.

Why’d you have to leave so soon?
Why’d you have to go?
Why’d you have to leave me when I needed you the most?

‘Cause I don’t really know how to tell ya
Without feeling much worse
I know you’re in a better place
But it’s always gonna hurt

Anthony passed away on Feb. 4, 2016, a month to the day before the official start of practice. Those who knew him best would say he never wanted the attention, that all his work was for the players. And despite losing their coach, the Eagles moved on, the way LaRezza wanted, and accomplished the ultimate goal of a triple crown in 2016, winning a conference, county and state title.

Head coach Diana Fasano, who had stayed true to coaching all season long, despite a heavy heart, gave a wonderful speech at the dinner, remembering a man and a coach.

“Anthony was my coach, too,” she had said. “And he would be very proud of all of you tonight.”

dousingDousing the coach with the water bucket after a state title in 2015 (above) and this year (below).

df1Fasano received the ultimate compliment from her players on June 11.

This video, put together by the IHA community, says it all about Anthony LaRezza.

Assistant coach Ali Bryan, usually a very quiet person, was spectacular in talking to the large crowd.

Ed Bates, IHA’s number one fan, was there, and received some nice gifts. Ed gave a nice speech, remembering Anthony and adding his pal ‘Sharky’ into the mix.

Carry on
Give me all the strength I need to carry on

It’s been a long day without you my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

The crowd laughed a lot, cried a little, and mostly smiled a great deal. The heart-shaped cloud which momentarily drifted about the field at Kean in the top of the seventh of the championship game, was certainly a sign that Coach was close by.

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Anthony’s brothers, Joe and Allen, were also there, as they were all season long. The LaRezzas presented all the players a personalized key chain, with the player’s number and name. Bates also got one, with a dolphin inscription.

How do I breathe without you
I’m feeling so cold
I’ll be waiting right here for ya
Till the day you’re home

Carry on
Give me all the strength I need to carry on

So let the light guide your way
Hold every memory as you go
And every road you take will always lead you home, home

Here’s an earlier article written about Joe and Allen’s contributions to the IHA softball team in 2016. https://mikelamberti.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/its-truly-been-a-team-effort-for-iha-in-2016-from-parents-coaches-friends-and-some-brotherly-love-larezza-style/

While handing out the goodies, Joe and Allen put on a typical LaRezza show, trying to figure out which key chain belonged to which player. The crowd laughed, and when Allen gave an impression of Anthony, when talking about what Fasano’s role in 2016 could be, it was like the Big Guy was in the room.

liv spro

Emilie Cieslak, a senior first baseman, gave a wonderful speech, even kidding that she was ‘a little freaked out’ when first meeting Anthony’s brothers, this past March, because of the daunting resemblances, and how much the two would mean to the entire team.

And when the dinner had ended, Kevin Kenerson, father of senior shortstop Taylor Kenerson, put it best.

“I wish Anthony was here to see this,” said Kevin. “But then again, I’m pretty sure he was.”

It’s been a long day without you my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again Oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh
Oohh When I see you again
See you again
When I see you again
Here’s a look at the 2016 season at IHA…Please click on photos for larger images.
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BANER
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IMG_20160410_165725092
os
reagan
ken
iha
slew and taylor
pg and fasano
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kyliec
iha2
iha1
iha2
iha team
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ad
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iha2
team champs
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reagan1
iha3

 

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By mike051893

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