It’s truly been a team effort for IHA in 2016, from parents, coaches, friends and some brotherly love, LaRezza style

The healing process of losing a loved one happens with time, love and strength.

There’s no ‘end date’ to when the grieving process should cease. Nor, should there be.

The Immaculate Heart Academy (IHA) softball team has dealt with the loss of its beloved head coach, Anthony LaRezza, as well as possible in 2016. That can be attested by the fact that the Eagles will be playing for a second straight NJSIAA Non-Public A championship, as well as what will assuredly be the state’s number one ranking, on June 11, at Kean University, when it takes on Donovan Catholic at 3 p.m.

IHA has accomplished a 30-1 record and 29-game winning streak by focusing on the game, thanks to superb coaching, led by Diana Fasano, and a hard-working staff, as well as parental support so well-timed in providing encouragement, as well as stepping back and watching their daughters just play.

alaA bond of brotherly love. (Left to rght) Billy, Joe, Allen and Anthony LaRezza, on Anthony’s 50th birthday party in January of 2016, just a few weeks before Anthony’s passing. (Courtesy of LaRezza family. Click on photo for larger image).

There has also been a bond between Anthony’s three older brothers, Joe, Allen and Billy, that has afforded a kindred rapport, filled with encouragement and almost an awe factor, on the siblings’ part, as to what their little brother meant to so many, and how the players have responded to seeing those guys at the games.

And with that in mind, the LaRezza brothers’ presence has provided another healing process.

iha1The LaRezza brothers (left to right) Joe, Allen and Billy, along with Ed Bates and his beloved ‘Flippy’ at a birthday party for Bates this past March. The entire IHA team attended, and it was the first time Anthony’s brothers had the chance to talk with the Eagles’ players about their brother.

At most IHA home games, you’ll see Joe along the fence, on the third-base/left-field line, watching the game, usually wearing that maroon tee-shirt, which honors Anthony. Allen is usually there, too, with his brother. They don’t say much, they just watch, cheer, and on most occasions, stay afterward to congratulate the team on a nice win.

ihaIHA players and Ed Bates celebrated with the LaRezza brothers during a March gathering, wishing Ed a happy birthday, and helping the players and coaches laugh a little.

And it’s not just home games. It’s anywhere the Eagles play. Joe and Allen were at Ivy Hill Park earlier this week, when IHA won the North Non-Public A title.

iha2Ed Bates on center stage.

Anthony’s brothers have thrown the first ball out on a few occasions this year. They’ve shook more hands than most running for political office. Many who talk to them, most of whom Joe and Allen had never met before, will just tell them how much Anthony was an influence, whether it be helping a daughter get a scholarship to college, or just a few kind words Anthony had for a player. And on many occasions, that player probably played on the opposing team.

“We never knew the extent of what he did, honestly,” said Allen. “He was our little brother, the guy we sent to the store. Anthony was a Newark fireman, and we knew he coached softball at IHA, but he never talked much about his coaching.”

Bob Jones, whose daughter Reagan plays third base for IHA, found it hard to believe, when Anthony’s brothers first told that story.

reaganBob Jones and his daughter, junior Reagan Jones.

“Joe and Allen told us that, but now looking back, I guess it’s true, because we never got to know Anthony’s brothers until this season,” Bob said.

And yes, it’s true. Only Anthony’s brother Joe had been to a handful of IHA games prior to this season.

“Never was,” said Allen. “It was a side of Anthony that I never knew. We knew that he loved working at IHA, and enjoyed teaching the kids softball, but not to this extent.”

ihaA common occurence during IHA games in 2016. Joe LaRezza, here with some IHA pals, (left to right, Olivia Sprofera, Taylor Kenerson, Sonia Sharma and Emilie Cieslak) after a game.

Bear in mind that Joe, Allen and Billy could have come to one or two games, and then moved on with their lives. That’s completely understood. They have families and careers of their own, and no one will ever question the love from the older brothers to the younger sibling.

But they’ve come back, game in and game out, especially Joe. They smile, laugh and watch softball. And you can see the eyes of the players light up, when one of the LaRezza brothers stops by to say hello.

It’s a healing process. Many of Anthony’s friends have gone along the same route to honor a friend. Sergio Rodriguez, the Newark Academy coach, addressed the IHA players in early April, telling them it was time for them to play the way Anthony would want, because Anthony wouldn’t want the kids to feel sad.

IMG_20160410_164349251Sergio Rodriguez gave an impassioned speech to the IHA players in early April.

Phil Delgado, Montclair’s coach, admits to keeping Anthony close to his heart, all season long. “The best way to pay respect to Anthony is by coaching and playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played, the way he’d want it done.”

hoopsSergio Rodriguez was nice enough to share this photo of he (right, with ball) dribbling around Anthony LaRezza (center, working through pick) from some good times a generation ago.

And Fasano, the unsung hero, put it best early in the regular season, which was filled with so much emotion. “Anthony would have hated all of this,” she said. “That was never his style. You honor him by just playing.”

So, that’s what those close to Anthony have done.

They play.

They coach.

They watch.

They parent.

Delgado led Montclair to an unexpected appearance in the Essex County Tournament championship game. Rodriguez guided Newark Academy to a Super Essex Conference championship, 19 wins, and a berth in the North Non-Public B title game.

iha3IHA players before the 2016 season opener, at Paramus Catholic, on April 1. The team will conclude its season on June 11, playing for a state championship.

And for Joe, Allen and Billy LaRezza, providing a presence at the games has been their response to remembering a loved one.

“We hear a new story every day about our brother,” said Joe. “It’s amazing. It was a world we never knew existed, because that’s the kind of guy Anthony was. It was never about him.”

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By mike051893

West Essex’s triple crown season featured 26-3 overall record, Mondo’s 200th, and a young nucleus hoping 2017 will be even better; Congrats to Kate Jencarelli on a tremendous career; Betley, Vardimans, James, Gemma, Schwartz, Huetter, Garofalo and Rodriguez among key players set to return

Taking home titles from the Super Essex Conference, Essex County Tournament and North Jersey, Section 1, Group 3 was certainly an impressive feat for West Essex, which finished the 2016 season with a marvelous 26-3 record.

And while coach Andrea Mondadori’s Knights were disappointed in losing its season finale to Middletown South, 5-3, in the Group 3 semifinal, it’s safe to say the future is indeed bright for the team from North Caldwell.

It was an especially good year for Mondadori. Her dad, Steve, joined the coaching staff and manned the first base box. And ‘Mondo, along with assistant coach Jason Ahmed, won their 200th career game in 2016.

we2West Essex players presented coach Andrea Mondadori a cake on the occasion of her 200th career victory. (Click on photos for larger images).

West Essex loses just one starting senior in first baseman Kate Jencarelli, a very talented defensive player who also accumulated over 100 career hits. An outstanding student, she’ll be attending SUNY, Oneonta, through a program that could place her at Cornell University after a year.

kjKate Jencarelli was honored by her teammates with career hit number 100 this season.

The play of freshman shortstop Julia Vardiman over the last five weeks of the season was spectacular. Vardiman was the team’s leadoff hitter down the stretch. In the game against Middletown South, she tripled to lead off the game, later homered and finished with two runs scored and a pair of RBI.

jv1Julia Vardiman should be a team leader for years to come.

Alexa Vardiman (Funny Cide) a junior was the team’s starting catcher and a big-time hitter, batting second in the lineup.

The biggest surprise may have been the play of junior second baseman Bridget Betley, who batted close to .500, had big hits in key moments and was a stalwart defensively.  I often called her Bridge over Troubled Water, or B-Squared, and she always had a catchy quote after a game, but the bottom line was Betley was something special for the Knights.

bridgetBridget Betley was never at a loss for words, and her play on the field was incredible.

Third baseman Lilly James was as good as they got defensively, and the sophomore became a dangerous hitter, as the season progressed. Centerfielder Amanda Garofalo might be the fastest player on the team, and the junior had plenty of clout at the plate.

IMG_20160417_165813027Amanda Garofalo and her dad, Bill, following a game this season.

Right fielder Madison Gemma was healthy in 2016 and the junior provided a lot of power in the middle of the lineup. Rachel Rodriguez became a solid left fielder and boasted a steady bat.

And how about junior pitcher Sami Huetter (Canonero II)? Huetter threw four straight shutouts in the state tournament and was equally tough in the county tournament. She, along with Mount St. Dominic’s Kelsey Oh, were the best pitchers in Essex County.

we1Sami Huetter and her new bat were great companions this season.

Amanda Schwartz, a sophomore, is an up-and-coming pitcher.

High expectations can sometimes be overwhelming for players, but the Knights know that 2017 could be even better than this year.

weBridget Betley (right) and Alexa Vardiman.

The improvement from 2015 to 2016 went from losing a county final, by 17 runs, to winning the ECT a year later in dominant fashion. It went from an early exit in the state sectionals, to winning the program’s first state crown in six years.

we2Coach Andrea Mondadori, here with Alexa Vardiman (left) and Sami Huetter. (Funny Cide and Canonero II).

And next year, the motivation will be to not only repeat as conference, county and sectional champs, but to add that final piece, en route to a Group 3 crown, and maybe a chance to play in what will be the first Tournament of Champions.

 

 

 

By mike051893

Magical run by Livingston results in state sectional title and marvelous effort in Group 4 semifinal; Thanks to some great seniors, and underclassmen, including McCormack, Saperstein, Beinhacker, Cooney, Petrillo, Sheehan, Viggiano and Royce

Most coaches will tell you that the good teams peak at the end of its respective season.

With that said, Livingston’s run to a state sectional softball championship and a very good performance in the Group 4 semifinal against a top-rated team in Watchung Hills, speaks volumes of a team that worked through adversity, thanks to superb coaching and the tenacity of the senior class.

liv1Livingston coach Jason Daily gathers his players following a tough 2-1 loss in the Group 4 semifinal. (Click on photos for larger images).

Livingston coach Jason Daily is known as a technical coach, (as well as the Mayor of ShangriLa) using his team’s talents to the max. He’s been the master of utilizing small ball, power pitching, power hitting and superb defense, where it best applied.

When Daily had a Secretariat-type pitcher, Jess Peslak, it was a matter of watching her dominate in the circle, and have a steady defense behind her.

When he had a Seattle Slewtype leadoff batter in Kylie McLaughlin, a three-time, first-team, All-State player, he could use small ball, because of Kylie’s speed, but then go to long ball, because she wasn’t your typical slap hitter, rather could hit long homers.

liv22Livingston players gather for final on-field moment after dropping the Group 4 semifinal.

And with stud players like Sammi Rothenberger, Marina Lombardi and Rachel Wasilak, good fielding was combined with clutch hitting.

Livingston would win two county titles, a pair of conference championships and multiple state sectional titles, from 2012-2013. Along the way, the Lancers would put together a 40-1 record, in conference play, from 2012 through the middle of the ’14 season.

Graduation would take its toll, but Livingston continued to reload. And in 2016, the Lancers, as a seventh seed, won the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 championship for the third time in five years. And in the Group 4 semifinal on June 7, it played a tremendous game, before losing, 2-1, when Watchung Hills scored a run in the top of the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie, at Montclair State University.

And so, the books are closed on a 17-12 season at Livingston, but the memories should never fade.

liv23Livingston coach Jason Daily thanks his seniors for four great years. As freshmen, the upperclassmen won a state sectional title, and now, as seniors, they’ll graduate as state champions again.

“Great group of kids,” said an emotional Daily, afterward. “They really had a good run at this. And they had a lot of fun competing, which is something I’ll always remember.”

And the names are those of kids who played their hearts out, like pitcher Sydney McCormack (Syd The Kid), who had a tremendous state tournament, infielders Allie Royce, Allie Beinhacker, Blake Saperstein and Nina Petrillo, catcher Emma Cooney, pitchers Jess Gorman and Kaitlyn Kelly and outfielders Jaclyn Williamson, Ashley Reuter, Julia Viggiano and Jill Gibbon and hitters Kate Sheehan and Danelle Rosenblum.

Livingston won four straight to claim the sectional crown, with everyone on the roster contributing one way, or the other. The Lancers, who were a .500 team for most of the season, certainly saved it best for the stretch drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By mike051893

In ShangriLa, it’s been quite a run for the Big Green Machine, and the best may still be yet to come for Syd The Kid, Cooney, Royce, Saperstein, Vigiano, Petrillo and Beinhacker

With a state sectional title already on its resume for 2016, Livingston will take on Watchung Hills in a Group 4 semifinal on June 7.

And if you had told head coach Jason Daily in mid March that his team would be two games away from the school’s first-ever Group title in softball, he probably would have gotten a good chuckle.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t have believed you back then,” said Daily. “But I’ll tell you what, these kids have worked so hard. I’ve had some tremendous teams here over the years, but this group is something else, especially in practice. They’re getting dirty every day on that field, diving for balls, hustling to their assignments during drills, and, really, having a lot of fun doing it. ”

Livingston was seeded seventh in North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4, and began its run by blanking Passaic Tech, 6-0, in its only home game at the field I like to call, ‘ShangriLa’.

A 6-3 win over second seeded Kearny followed in the sectional quarters. The Lancers then shutout North Bergen, the third seed, 6-0, before playing a phenomenal game in downing Morris Knolls, 13-3, for the sectional championship, Denville.

“We had a crazy day at Knolls,” said Daily, the King of ShangriLa. “We had mechanical problems with our bus getting there, then the driver got lost. When we got there, it was raining a little, the ball was wet, but nothing bothered these kids. They went out there and played a great game.”

The senior leadership has been key, according to Daily.

lettermenThe 1960’s group, the Lettermen, sang ‘ShangriLa’.

“We have six seniors who have been tremendous,” said Daily. “A few of them were here, as freshmen, when we won our last sectional title. They know we came close the past two years, but didn’t win it. But now, we’re here and they’re loving this opportunity.”

Livingston won back-to-back sectional titles in 2012 and 2013, but lost in the Group 4 semifinal, in both seasons, at Nutley, to Huntderdon Central, 4-0, and Watchung Hills, 2-1. In both instances, the Lancers were the favorite, coming in with a 28-0 mark in 2012 and 25-3 the following year, with a lofty state ranking.

This year, a 17-11 squad isn’t ranked in the state, but Daily agrees that the Lancers don’t really care about that.

“I don’t think they even look at that stuff,” said Daily. “They’re enjoying this. We’ve had a few former players come back, like Jess Peslak, Alexa Altcheck, Sammi Passeri and Marina Lombardi, to talk to our team, and that’s been a good thing for these kids. Alexa plays at Harvard now, and she spoke to the kids about the challenges of playing at the Ivy League level, and dealing with injury. She gave some good points about being a part of a team and the greater good. I think our team understood it.”

Livingston’s pitcher, Sydney McCormack (Syd The Kid) has saved her best pitching for the state tournament.

sydSyd The Kid.

“She’s been tremendous,” said Daily. “Syd is so focused. She’s throwing good pitches, and our defense has been great behind her, too.”

A senior-laden infield features first baseman Allie (Rolls) Royce, second baseman Allie Beinhacker, shortstop Blake Saperstein and third baseman Nina Petrillo for the Big Green Machine.

greenmachineThe other Big Green Machine.

Julia Viggiano, a senior, has been tremendous in the outfield, as have Jaclyn Williamson, Ashley Reuter and Jill Gibbon. Danielle Rosenblum and Kate Sheehan have been reliable designated hitters while Jess Gorman and Kaitlyn Kelly are also pitchers.

Daily noted the solid play of Viggiano.

“Julia bats ninth, but she could be our leadoff, or number two hitter,” said Daily. “She has excellent speed on the basepaths. With her batting ninth, it gives us a lot of options in our 9-1-2 rotation in the lineup.”

And then there’s sophomore catcher Emma Cooney, who has been incredible since taking over starting job after Lombardi graduated last spring.

“Emma works so well with our pitchers, and is very good defensively,” said Daily. “We’ve had some great catchers here over the years.”

liv 2Livingston hope to add another trophy before the week is concluded. (Click on photo for larger image).

The Lancers were playing .500 ball for much of the season, but Daily began to see a change when the team entered the Essex County Tournament.

“We got back to the semifinals,” said Daily. “And even though we lost to Montclair in the semis, I thought our kids used that loss as a factor to go after it in the states. The seniors knew it would be their last chance to win a title, and they’ve amped it up.”

Daily also feels that playing in the Super Essex Conference’s American Division has prepared his team well.

“Two games each with Mount St. Dominic, Nutley, Cedar Grove, West Essex, Bloomfield and Montclair have certainly tested us,” said Daily. “And we had some good games with Hillsborough, Bishop Ahr, Westfield, Parsippany Hills and Ocean. We were 5-7 in the conference, with an eighth loss to Montclair in the county tournament. Were 12-3 outside the conference. We knew we’ll be facing a tremendous team in Watchung Hills, but I really believe our kids are prepared.”

 

 

By mike051893

Delgado on Daily’s success: The guy is a magician

With Livingston winning the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 championship on June 3, it didn’t take long for the accolades to come to the Lancers’ head coach, Jason Daily.

Montclair’s lead man, Phil Delgado, who many feel has produced a Coach of the Year performance himself, couldn’t help but laud a man he’s called a mentor for some time.

philMontclair coach Phil Delgado has long praised the work of Livingston’s Jason Daily. (Click on photos for larger images).

“The guy is a magician, brother,” said Delgado. “We’re all battling for second place, when it comes to coaching, when you discuss Jason. He’s had some great teams, and some good teams, but the bottom line is, he just wins. I’m not surprised they won a state championship today. Never count Livingston out.”

Ironically, Livingston’s last loss, before its run in the state tournament, came to Montclair, in the semifinals of the Essex County Tournament.

jdEarlier this season, Daily won his 300th career game at Livingston.

“We played really well that night, and we had to if we were going to beat Livingston,” said Delgado. “I always told my kids, win or lose, when the game is over, make sure you congratulate Coach Daily on being a great coach.”

By mike051893

IT’S SHANGRI-LA IN LIVINGSTON, AS THE BIG GREEN MACHINE RIDES AGAIN, STUNS MORRIS KNOLLS TO WIN STATE SECTIONAL CROWN, BEHIND SYD THE KID, PETRILLO, SHEEHAN, COONEY AND SENIOR LEADERSHIP

For the third time in the last five seasons, Livingston has won the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 state sectional championship, defeating Morris Knolls, 13-3, in Denville.

Head coach Jason Daily’s team will take on Watchung Hills in a Group 4 semifinal on June 7, at Montclair State University, starting at 5 p.m. Livingston lost a 2-1 decision to Watchung Hills in the 2013 Group 4 semi, after, ironically, defeating Morris Knolls, 11-3, in the sectional final.

It was the fourth straight win, all in the state tourney, and eighth win in the last 10 games for the Lancers. And once again, as was the case in the three previous state wins, the Lancers had outstanding pitching from Sydney (Syd The Kid) McCormack, timely hitting and tremendous defense.

liv 1Livingston players celebrate a state title. (Click on photo for larger image).

“We’re really coming around,” said Daily, who has been the head coach at Livingston since 2001. “We’re definitely hitting our stride. The kids have become so close-knit, they’re confident and having fun.”

Livingston (17-11) had been around the .500 mark for most of the season.

“Up until the states, we hadn’t won more than two in a row all season,” said Daily. “We had seen signs of this team coming around, but we could never get it going. Right now, we’re playing well, and looking forward to the next game.”

Livingston scored seven times in the third inning to take control.

liv 2Champions ! (Click on photo for larger image).

“We had nine straight batters get on base, and that opened it up for us,” said Daily. “Kate Sheehan had a big two-run double and Nina Petrillo pulled off a huge squeeze bunt, with two outs, to keep the rally going.”

Livingston’s defense has been stellar all season long.

“We knew we had the ability,” said Daily. “And now, it’s coming around.”

And McCormack’s effort has been outstanding, including two shutouts in the state tournament.

“She’s been tremendous,” said Daily of Syd The Kid.

sydSyd The Kid has been pitching very well in the state tournament, winning four times.

Livingston’s infield defense, made up of all seniors, features first baseman Allie Royce, second baseman Allie Beinhacker, shortstop Blake Saperstein and Petrillo at third. Sophomore Emma Cooney has been tremendous behind the plate, while the outfield play of Jaclyn Williamson, Ashley Reuter, Julia Viggiano and Jill Gibbon continues to excel. Sheehan and Danielle Rosenblum have been the team’s designated hitters.

liv 3Lancers are number 1 ! (Click on photo for larger image).

It’s been quite a run for Livingston.

“This will be our third Group 4 semifinal (since 2012),” said Daily. “One year, we were 28-0 and lost. This year, we have 11 losses. But it doesn’t matter. We’re here, and these kids are excited, and so am I.”

By mike051893

No Bridge Over Troubled Water for Betley, who drives in both runs, plays good defense, and behind another shutout by Huetter, West Essex is state sectional champs, and a Triple Crown winner

West Essex captured its first state sectional title in six years, in dramatic fashion, defeating defending champion Sparta, 2-0, in the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 3 final, in North Caldwell.

West Essex (26-2) will face Middletown South, at Mount St. Dominic in Caldwell, on June 7, at 1:30 p.m., in the Group 3 semifinal. Middletown South defeated South Plainfield to win the Section 2, Group 3 championship.

we gathersWest Essex players gather around coach Andrea Mondadori after winning a state title on June 3. (Click on photo for larger image).

A well pitched game, by both teams, featured stellar defense. The Knights’ infield defense was outstanding, as second baseman Bridget (Over Troubled Water) Betley, shortstop Julia Vardiman, third baseman Lilly James and first baseman Kate Jencarelli were flawless in the field. And the stud battery of pitcher Sami Huetter (Canonero II) and Alexa Vardiman (Funny Cide) helped the Knights to a fourth straight shutout in the state tournament.

mariWest Essex pitcher Sami Huetter spends a moment with her mom, Mari, following a big win. (Click on photo for larger image).

Betley also had the big hit, a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth that plated Amanda Garofalo and Julia Vardiman with the game-winning runs.

West Essex coach Andrea Mondadori credited her team with making big plays.

fcideAlexa Vardiman (left) and Amanda Garofalo after the state championship game. (Click on photo for larger image).

“You played great defense, and swung the bats aggressively,” she told the team after the game. “You made plays and worked hard for this. You deserve it. Enjoy it, for a few days, then we get ready for Middletown South.”

Huetter was marvelous once again, scattering five hits while striking out four and walking two. She hasn’t allowed a run in the state tournament.

bet and canSami Huetter (left) and Bridget Betley. (Click on photo for larger image).

“I don’t think I pitched as well as I could have,” said always-smiling junior righty. “But the defense was tremendous and I was able to make some good pitches. This is a great feeling, for this entire team.”

bet dadBridget Betley and her dad celebrate a state title. (Click on photo for larger image).

West Essex’s sectional title marks the third title for the team this year. The Knights won the SEC’s American Division title and the Essex County Tournament, before winning the state sectional crown, for a Triple Crown.

West Essex last won a state sectional championship in 2010, when it defeated Rutherford in Group 2. The Knights lost in the Group 2 semifinal to the eventual champion, Indian Hills.

we champsCHAMPIONS ! (Click on photo for larger image).

 

 

By mike051893

‘Liv and Let Liv’, as Sprofera spins 2-hit shutout, then adds some Mac ‘N Cheese to a good day for (29-1) IHA

Immaculate Heart Academy won its 28th straight game, defeating a stubborn Pingry team, 6-0, in Washington Township, as Olivia Sprofera (Southpaw Seattle Slew) spun another gem, a two-hitter, with 13 strikeouts.

The victory moves IHA (29-1) into the North Non-Public A final on June 7, where it will face the winner of the June 3 contest between Pope John and Mount St. Dominic. The winner of that game advances to the state championship game, next weekend, at Kean University.

Sprofera, who couldn’t wait to have some of her favorite macaroni and cheese at a local eatery after the game, felt she pitched well.

“I did okay,” she said, with a large ice bag on her left shoulder. “At this stage of the season, you have to take advantage of opportunities, and we did that today.

“It’s survive and advance.”

slew and taylorOlivia Sprofera (left) and Taylor Kenerson, here joined by Taylor’s mom, Lisa, were key to IHA’s win against Pingry in state tournament action today. (Click on photo for larger image)

IHA had its hands full against a very talented pitcher in Pingry’s Katie Marino. The final score was not indicative of how well Marino, who will play at the University of Notre Dame this fall, pitched. The Pingry defense struggled, especially in the third inning, when IHA scored five times.

Marino held a good hitting team to four hits, but IHA head coach Diana Fasano found the game to be a good test for her team.

“I thought we played well today,” said Fasano. “Marino was pretty tough for them. We swung the bats okay, and it’s just a matter of preparing for next week now. In our first round (state) game (a 5-3 win against Union Catholic) we were kind of off, and I told our kids that sometimes that happens, and it’s better to get it out of the way. Today, we were much better.”

Defensively, IHA was solid, especially at shortstop, as Taylor Kenerson (Point Given) was outstanding, once again, as was third baseman (The) Reagan (Revolution) Jones, second baseman Sonia Sharma and Emilie Cieslak (Tim Tam) at first.

It will be a hectic weekend for IHA, as the senior class prepares for graduation.

“The way I see it is, we’ll practice, get ready, enjoy the weekend, practice again, then play on Tuesday,” said Fasano.

And how good was that Mac and Cheese?

“It’s the best,” Sprofera said with a laugh. “I highly recommend it.”

 

 

 

 

By mike051893

Caldwell wins season finale, with stellar defense and timely hitting, finishes 15-10 in final game for Johnson, Dietz and Ricci

As he does after every game, Caldwell head coach Mike Teshkoyan gathered his team around the infield, this time at Newark Academy, to discuss the Chiefs solid performance in a 4-2 win over the Minutemen, in an SEC Liberty Division matchup.

The win didn’t change anything within the conference, as Newark Academy had already clinched the title, and was 11-0, in conference play, but for both head coaches, the game was important.

For Caldwell, it was the chance to end the season with a 15th victory while Newark Academy coach Serg Rodriguez wanted his team to play well, as it prepares for a North, Non-Public B semifinal state game, slated for June 3. Newark Academy is the top seed this season.

The end result was good for Teshkoyan, and his brother, Mark, who have shared the coaching duties for the past 30 seasons.

cald1Caldwell coaches Mike Teshkoyan (right) and Mark Teshkoyan (left) are flanked by seniors (l to r) Shannon Johnson, Shauna Dietz and Nina Ricci, following the Chiefs last game of the season, a 4-2 win over Newark Academy. (Click on pictures for larger image).

“When we started the season, I’m not sure anyone thought we’d win 15 games,” said Mike Teshkoyan. “But these kids never stopped believing in themselves. They worked hard, and to see them play so well today, against the conference champions, is a good start to our off-season. We’ve got some talented young players on this team. Our kids can build from this.”

Caldwell (15-10) has spent the last two seasons in the SEC Liberty, and could possibly move up to the American Division in 2017, if there’s any realignment proposed by the league, for softball.

cald2Caldwell coach Mike Teshkoyan discusses his team’s win over Newark Academy.

Teshkoyan was particularly proud of his seniors, Shannon Johnson, Shauna Dietz and Nina Ricci.

“It’s never easy to say goodbye to our seniors, said Teshkoyan. “They’re great kids, and have been a part of a lot of success here.”

Carlie Corrigan pitched a solid game for the Chiefs, holding a good hitting Newark Academy team to five hits. Johnson was very impressive at shortstop and catcher Christina Guarino was once again outstanding.

“There’s a good corp of players coming back next year,” said Teshkoyan. “I’m proud of these kids.”

Rodriguez, Newark Academy’s coach, felt his team could have played better.

“We came out flat today,” said Rodriguez. “We could have played better. We’ll need to amp it up for Friday’s state tournament game.”

By mike051893

Newark Academy gearing for state tournament, after winning SEC Liberty crown, will host Morristown Beard in semifinals on June 3

Newark Academy, the top seed in the North Non-Public B state tournament, will take on Morristown Beard in a semifinal game on Friday, June 3.

It’s been a good season for coach Serg Rodriguez’s team, which was 18-8 after a loss to Caldwell on June 1. Despite that, Newark Academy had already clinched the Super Essex Conference’s Liberty Division title and finished 11-1 in the conference.

Sam Burggraf, a third baseman, hit a solo homer for Newark Academy.

It’s always good to see the parents at the game, and in this case, some senior dads took a moment for a photo with their daughters.

naRich Mandelbaum and his daughter, Rebecca, who will be playing on the collegiate level this fall, at Brown University. (Click on photo for larger image).

na1Sophie Rosenberg (Arts and Letters) and her dad, Mike. Sophie will be attending Tulane University this fall. Sophie’s brother just completed his freshman year at Tulane, and Mike is very pleased that son and daughter will be at the same school this fall. (Click on photo for larger image).

By mike051893