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HGSA raises money to support breast cancer charities
After enjoying an incredible travel season, the Hamilton Girls Softball Association 8U Hurricanes were invited to the Hamilton Council Meeting last week and were presented with a proclamation recognizing their accomplishments this summer. The 8’s finished 22-1 and won five of six tournaments, including the Babe Ruth Southern New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic Regional Titles. Pictured are (front row, from left) councilman Ed Gore, Alex Haley, Amy Jones, Haley Lestician, Lauren Coiante, Natalie Mehl, Becca Ludowig, Nicole Cerasi, Emily Ludowig; (back row) councilmen Kevin Meara and Dennis Pone, coach Pete Lestician, councilman Dave Kenny, manager Matt Mehl, councilwoman Kelly Yaede and coach Joe Cerasi.
The Hamilton Girls Softball Association Hurricanes 10U White team capped an outstanding season by recently winning the Howell Eye of the Storm Tournament championship. Celebrating the victory are (front row, from left) Jessica Angelini, Madison Balke, Bella Savelli, Grace Cooke, Cora Bridgers; (second row) Kodi Stout, Sara Szalwinski, Victoria Savelli, Alexis Davidson, Brynn Wilfing, Ashley Gerstnicker; (back row) Coach Frank Angelini, Manager Steve Wilfing, Coaches Jon Cooke and Pete Balke. Missing from the picture is Nicole Russo, Cassidy Wood, Arianna Pelosi, and Samantha Manz.
Gabby Bennett had two hits in Friday's morning game, but it wasn't enough as HGSA dropped a 5-0 decision to Santa Fe, Fla., for its first loss in the Babe Ruth World Series. The ''Canes phenomenal season ended Friday night with a loss to Busly, La. (Photo courtesy of Mark Pasierb).
Aug. 13 Babe Ruth 12U World Series
Hurricanes awesome run ends with two losses Friday
Kayla Peterson makes a play from the ground against Graceland Indiana in the Hurricanes victory to open bracket play Thursday (Photo courtesy of Mark Pasierb).
Aug. 12 Babe Ruth 12U Softball World Series
Hurricanes storm to victory as bracket play begins
Amanda Ferlisi fires a pitch against Brusly, La. in today's Babe Ruth World Series game. Ferlisi picked up the win in five innings and also continued her hot hitting (Photo courtesy of Mark Pasierb).
Aug. 9 Babe Ruth Softball 12-year-old World Series
Hurricanes win again to clinch berth in bracket play
The HGSA infield gets fired up during Sunday's win over Altamonte Springs Fla. Hamilton romped to a 13-2 win to go 2-0 in pool play (Photo courtesy of Mark Pasierb).
Aug. 8 Babe Ruth 12-year-old Softball World Series
Hurricanes romp past Southeast Region champions
Karen Prihoda gets set to deliver a pitch against Monett during Saturday's Babe Ruth World Series opener in Florida. Prihoda fired a four-hitter as HGSA took a 9-2 win (Photo courtesy of Mark Pasierb).
Aug. 7 Babe Ruth Softball 12-year-old World Series
HGSA Hurricanes open pool play in impressive fashion
Look out Florida, it's Hurricane season!
Kayla Peterson and the HGSA 12-year-old All-Star team are ready to roll in the Babe Ruth World Series, which gets underway Saturday with the Hurricanes playing the first game in its division at 10 a.m. (Photo courtesy of Mark Pasierb).
Babe Ruth 12-Year-Old Softball World Series
The waiting is over as Hamilton gears up for Series
In the midst of holding a bon voyage party Wednesday night for the 12U team bound for the Babe Ruth World Series, the HGSA also took time out to honor its 10U and 8U region champs, along with legendary area pitching coach Jerry Herrara, who has been a valuable contributor the program's success. Herrara is flanked by several membrs of the 12U and 14U teams, inlcuding Gerri "Bear" Laird, Jess Giordano, Herrera, Amanda Ferlisi, Karen Prihoda, Julia Lydon, Kayla Peterson and (back row) Haley Peterson.
HGSA World Series manager reflects on league's success
14U Blue 'Canes play up in age and still win tourney title
Jamie Terry slugged a double in game one and fired a three-hitter in game two to help propel the HGSA 14U Hurricanes to a 5-0 record and the championship of the second annual Blazing Blitz USSSA World Series qualifier in Cape May Courthouse (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at email@example.com).
14U 'Canes blitz all comers at Blazing Blitz WS Qualifier
A double dose of delight for HGSA Hurricanes!
If the smiles don't say it all, then the banner sure does as the HGSA 12U Hurricanes celebrate their third consecutive Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regional championship in Waretown Monday. The 'Canes had to win seven straight to earn another World Series berth.
The youngest Hurricanes were wearing winning smiles after becoming the first 8U team in HGSA history to win a Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regional championship, which they did on Monday with a 11-6 win over Luzerne (Pa.) in the finals.
July 19 Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Softball Regionals
HGSA 12Us win third straight title, 8Us take first one ever
The HGSA 12U Hurricanes had plenty of opportunities to celebrate in Waretown on Sunday, as Hamilton took three straight wins to battle from the loser's bracket into the finals at the Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regionals (Photo courtesy of Mark Pasierb).
July 18 Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regionals
HGSA 12Us two wins from title, 8Us need one for crown
Alex Haley helped get the 8U Hurricanes off and running Saturday when her RBI single helped key a game-winning, two-run sixth inning rally in an 8-7 win over Kinnelon (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at firstname.lastname@example.org).
July 17 Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Softball Regionals
HGSA 8U 'Canes win first two, 12Us rebound with two wins
Mary Kate Madonia had a strong game in the field and at the plate Friday but couldn't
save the 12U HGSA Hurricanes from a 4-1 loss to Luzerne County, Pa. in a first-round
Mid-Atlantic Region game (Photo courtesy of Mark Pasierb).
July 16 Mid-Atlantic 12U Softball Regionals
Cold hitting sends 'Canes to loser's bracket on first day
This was a familiar position for Angela Marinos on Sunday, as she caught all five games while providing offensive production for the HGSA 18U team as they rolled to the War at the Shore championship by knocking off four of the top five ranked teams on the final day (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at email@example.com).
HGSA 18U Softball
Jersey Shore totally unprepared for Sunday Hurricanes
The HGSA 12U softball team let the world know they are number one Southern New Jersey once again after taking a 13-3 win over Waretown in Monday night's Babe Ruth SJ state tournament (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at firstname.lastname@example.org).
July 12 Babe Ruth Southern NJ State Tournament
'Canes power! HGSA goes 3-for-3 in championship finals
Leftfielder Amanda Ferlisi made a big defensive play in game one and had a total of three hits and four RBI Sunday as the HGSA 12U Hurricanes topped Millville and Washington Township to reach the Babe Ruth Southern New Jersey State Championship at HGSA (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at email@example.com).
Babe Ruth Southern New Jersey Championship
Hurricanes 8U, 10U and 12U teams all blow into finals
Alexis Davidson gets ready to let one fly against Egg Harbor in the opening round of the Southern New Jersey State 10U Babe Ruth Tournament at HGSA. Davidson picked up the win for the Hurricanes (Photo by Ken Weingartner).
July 9-10 South Jersey State Babe Ruth Softball
HGSA 8s in winner's bracket finals, 10s win opener
HGSA Hurricanes hurler Kristin Hallam fires a pitch against Waretown during Thursday night's 12U Southern New Jersey Babe Ruth State Championship first-round game. Hallam fired a two-hitter in the Hurricanes 4-0 victory, raising her record to 11-3. Check back for more details (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at firstname.lastname@example.org).
HGSA 12U Babe Ruth Round-Up
Hallam wears down Waretown in first-round victory
July 7 Babe Ruth Softball
HGSA 12U and 10U teams host this weekend's SJ states
14U Blue Hurricanes fall in Pony Mid-Atlantic semis
The 14U Blue Hamilton Hurricanes went 3-2-1 over the July 4th holiday weekend to reach the semifinals of the Pony Mid-Atlantic States at Diamond Nation.
The losses were the first of the summer for Hamilton, which improved to 29-2-2.
On Saturday, the ‘Canes opened with a 9-6 loss to Top Gun, a team they beat 9-1 two weeks ago. Courtney Whittaker homered and Alex Nyktas had two hits, two stolen bases and two runs scored for Hamilton.
In Game 2, the ‘Canes topped the Blaze Elite, 7-4, as. Whittaker went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI, Nyktas knocked in three runs and stole two bases and Val Suto singled, walked twice, stole two bases and scored twice. Gerri "Bear" Laird tossed a four-hitter to record the win.
In Game 3, Jess Giordano had two hits, including a double and two RBI, Jamie Terry had two hits and Caitlin Brugnoli and Brooke Alagona knocked in runs in a 7-7 tie with the West Jersey Witches. Terry went the distance in the circle.
In the elimination round, Hamilton scored twice in the seventh to beat the Bordentown Bandits 95, 4-3. Terry tripled home Alyssa James with the tying run, then scored on Suto’s sacrifice fly to win it. Brugnoli had two hits and Mackenzie Ewell singled and stole a base. Laird tossed a five-hitter for the win.
Hamilton then beat the Central Jersey Lightning, 6-4, as Suto had two hits and Nyktas, Alagona and Terry knocked in runs to support the six-hit itching of Giordano.
In the semifinals, the Hurricanes Canes managed just one hit, a Nyktas triple, in a 1-0 loss to the New Jersey Flames. Amber Dietrich played an outstanding left field to keep it close. Terry took the loss, despite surrendering just four hits.
Winners of the 9th Annual HGSA Scholarship program are (front row from left) Steinert’s Jen Petrilla, Nottingham’s Kim Murl, Hamilton’s Kim Purdy and Notre Dame’s Ashley Lawitz. Looking on are HGSA President Chris Chianese and Scholarship Chair Jerry Suto.
HGSA hands out four more scholarships to its members
The Hamilton Girls Softball Association recently announced the winners of its 9th Annual Scholarship program. They include Hamilton’s Kim Purdy, Nottingham’s Kim Murl, Steinert’s Jen Petrilla and Notre Dame’s Ashley Lawitz.
The $500 awards are presented to high school seniors who have played softball with HGSA and who will be furthering their education by attending college. The HGSA Scholarship Program had been established in an effort to assist the program’s players in their continuing education.
Applicants must have played a minimum of five years with an HGSA Minor League and a Major League team. They must be graduating seniors who have been accepted to an accredited institute of higher education as a freshman for the 2010 Fall Semester.
Lauren Coiante was not only armed and dangerous in the field for the 8U Hurricanes, but she also went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI at the plate in Wednesday night's Babe Ruth District One championship game (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at bgsportshots.com).
Hamilton 8U Hurricanes Babe Ruth District One champs
Kara Huchel connects for a hit against Northern Burlington during the 8U Hurricanes 16-3 win in Monday night's Babe Ruth District One Tournament. Hamilton moved within one win of the district title and will play for it on Wednesday night (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at bgsportshots.com).
Hamilton Hurricanes Round-Up
8Us one win from Babe Ruth title, 14U Blue are Bad Girls
The Hamilton 12U Hurricanes are all smiles after winning the Hopewell Valley Bad Girls XVI Tournament. Enjoying the celebration are (front row, from left) Kristin Hallam, Alissa Brugnoli, Jackie Pasierb, Julia Lydon, Kayla Peterson, Karen Prihoda; (second row) Kelly Schwager, Gabby Bennett, Brittany Kelly, Amanda Ferlisi ,Mary Kate Madonia, Kelly Hawrylo; (back row) coaches Joe Ferlisi, Frank Bennett, Steve Madonia.
12U Hurricanes are the baddest girls of all in HoVal
The Hamilton Hurricane 12U softball team captured the Hopewell Valley Bad Girls XVI Tournament this past weekend, out-dueling a field of 24 teams from around the Northeast.
The Hurricanes earned a fourth seed after Saturday, when they went 3-0 in beating the New Jersey Nightmare, Ewing Edge Red and Monroe Thunder. On Sunday they competed in the A bracket tournament and beat the Beacon Extreme (NY), 12-2, behind the pitching of Amanda Ferlisi and a grand slam from Brittany Kelly.
In game two, Gabby Bennett delivered the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh while Karen Prihoda went the distance in the circle for a 7-6 win over the Monroe Thunder. Kelly Schwager had a great offensive game as well.
Hamilton won the championship game, 8-2, over the Lower Bucks Lady Lions (Pa.), as Alissa Brugnoli had several key hits to back the pitching of Kristin Hallam.
The Hurricanes, coached by Frank Bennett, Joe Ferlisi, Steve Madonia and Tim Brugnoli, are now preparing for the Southern New Jersey Babe Ruth tournament at the HGSA Complex July 8-12.
Click here for June 2010 HGSA results/photos
Click here for May 2010 HGSA results/photos
Click here for April 2010 HGSA results/stories/photos
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(Also known as
Rich Fisher's blog)
Feb 2, 2013
Groundhog Day is
Feb. 2: Well, today is Groundhog Day.
And you know what that means? It means I have found a blogging loophole.
For all you people out there -- like Whalen and Costantino and the Baroness -- who insist on telling me I need a new blog just because they don't want to read the old one for 19 straight weeks, I have discovered the answer to my problem.
Again, I reiterate, it is Groundhog Day. And if you saw the Bill Murray movie, you know that Groundhog Day is the same day, over and over and over again.
Therefor, because I am writing this blog today, it gives me carte blanche to leave it up here over and over and over and over again. Moreso than usual. Like. . .forever!
You think you got tired of seeing Phil Alu and Jon Adams at the top of this blog?
You are REALLY gonna hate The Groundhog!
* * * *
Just want to pass along good luck wishes to Nottingham junior Josh Lajeunesse, one of the many class acts and key contributors on the Nottingham state champion football team. r Josh recently discovered he needs serious shoulder surgery, which will keep him out of action for four months and unfortunately cause him to miss track season.
"Yeah, but I gotta get ready for football," he said.
Yeah ya do buddy, so good luck on the surgery No. 2 and hope all goes well!
* * * *
Speaking of Nottingham football, seems they are taking Fish Bowl 1 quite serious.
"It was nice to win a state football title," said one administrator. "But to say we won both the state title and the Fish Bowl, now that would be something!
We are keeping the administrator anonymous lest he incur the wrath of Coach Adams for linking the two together . .but we know that secretly, the Big Dawg feels the same way! lol
* * * *
Speaking of Fish Bowl, I just want to thank everyone for participating. I had hoped to get about 20-30 responses and just run them straight down in a list. But with the great feedback from everyone we got 88 responses (89 counting Donna Brihn's dog) and rand allowed us to turn it into the Fish Bowl.
What's amazing is as a collective group we couldn't pick a winner! 44-44. Wow, a township divided!
Anyway, thanks for taking part in the fun folks, and good luck to you and your team!
* * * *
Oh, one other thing. We heard back from Phil Alu (there's that name again!) about his selection of Kyle Kaepernick as Super Bowl MVP.
"Holy crap! Now I know why my Fantasy Football team sucked all year. I was playing Kyle Kaepernck out of West Oak High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan all season and not Colin Kaepernick from the 49ers."
The sad think here is, Kyle Kaepernick even sucked for West Oak High School. And Kalamazoo football is weak!
* * * *
I love my mother, but I'll never play her Super Bowl pool again. She asked me to buy five blocks, which I did. She said she would fill them in and mail it to me, which she did.
But rather than scatter my name in different blocks all over the sheet, she wrote it straight down in five blocks.
The result? In all five of my boxes I have Baltimore and nine. Nine! Are you freakin kidding me? So much for having a lot of different chances to win this baby, which of course, is the reason for multiple blocks.
Love ya mom!
Hate your pool!
* * * *
OK, that's it. I hope you like this blog, cuz you're gonna see it over and over and over and over and over. All that's missing is a picture of Ned Ryerson and the soundtrack to I Got You Babe!
* * * *
Oh, and one more thing. Does anyone out there actually watch all 8 hours of pre-game Super Bowl shows that are available? If so, then you could actually read this blog over and over and over and never get bored. Because you reeeallly need a life!
Jan 27, 2013
Happy New Year!
Yeah yeah, I know, it's an old year by now. But hey, I haven't written anything since the new year so it's a New Year for Fish Tales.
Hope everybody had a great holiday, hope everybody enjoyed the NFL playoffs, hope everybody has returned all their gifts that sucked and I just hope everbody is doin' great dogawnnit!
I don't really have a heck of a lot on my mind, but I'm getting yelled at again by people saying to put up a new blog. They don't neccessarily care what I have to say, they just get tired of seeing the same thing at the top of this spot for so long. Sorry Big Dawg, all the love is gone now, they all hate you now due to over-exposure. You have joined Phil Alu as a "stayed at the top of the blog too long" poster boy. lol.
* * * *
OK, let's start with the Super Bowl.
I mean, you never really hear much about it (insert *rolls eyes* here) so we'll talk about it!
You know what's interesting. And this, like so many other things, speaks to the popularity of the NFL. The Supe is the one championship in sports that the TV Networks don't fret about.
In baseball they would moan if the World Series match-up is the Kansas City Royals vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. "Oh God, those aren't big TV markets!"
It wasn't always like that for the Series. It was the big thing, everyone cared. Kids rushed home from school as fast as possible to catch the end of the games. But not anymore. Games that last til 12:30 a.m. don't help the cause these days, but that's only part of it.
But I digress.
Take the NBA. If they don't have the Lakers and/or the Celtics/Miami in the finals, its like a mad dash for a bridge to jump off of.
"No one will watch this. Ohhhhh noooo!"
And if it's the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs.... . .um, what's like, the big match-up for the NHL? OK, forget that one.
But football has no such worries. This game could be the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Seattle Seahawks and it wouldn't matter. 999 gazillion people would tune in anyway, just because it's like an unofficial national law.
"Gonna watch the Super Bowl?"
"How come, you don't like football?"
"I know, but it's the Super Bowl?"
I mean, that's basically the answer people give, and it's just understood. Oh yeah, it's the Super Bowl.
And by the way, when is the NFL gonna give folks a break and make this game on a Saturday so people at all the parties can recover on Sunday? . They can't be clinging to tradition or the game would still start at 1 o'clock, the halftime show would still be the Hokey-Fanokie high school marching band and the tickets could still be purchased by folks outside the 1 percent of the people with all the money in the world.
I'm sure someone did some research and concluded "Can't move it to Saturday, too costly."
Oh well, it's still the Super Bowl and we'll all watch it. Cuz hey, it's the Super Bowl!
* * * *
Speaking of the Super Bowl, I don't know who's going to win and I don't care. But if I have to make a pick, I'd pick the Ravens.
I dunno. But I had to make a pick so I picked the Ravens.
* * * *
Here's a classic basketball official story. I will not reveal the names to protect the innocent (and guilty) but it was pretty good stuff.
Three refs walked into a CVC girls game earlier this year. As they entered the gym, one of the head coaches says "Oh here they come, the three blind mice."
To which one of them -- who I am proud to say lives in Hamilton -- promptly responded by going "Yeah, but one of us can hear," and slammed the coach with a techncial foul before the game even started.
Now that's style!
* * * *
I kind of lost a kindred spirit when Stan Musial passed away last week.
First off, Stan the Man was from Donora, Pa., and I had a roomate in college who hailed from Donora. His parents knew Musial and said he was the greatest guy ever.
Secondly, Musial got his 3,000th career hit on the day I was born.
Just think. . .two monumental occurrances on the same day!
Uh, OK. . one.
* * * *
So I have seen three of the movies nominated for the Oscars so far: Lincoln, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook. All good flicks, but, man, Daniel Day Lewis blew me away as Lincoln. Good stuff!
I find Lincoln to be so fascinating. The more I learn about him, the more I want to know about what made him tick.
As opposed to somone like, say, Kim Kardashian, who I don't know anything about and yet I want to know even less.
* * * *
I would much rather see Amber Dietrich and Courtney Adams playing basketball this winter instead of texting me updates to tweet of Steinert and Hamilton girls' basketball games.
But they are injured and can't play and that stinks. But thanks girls, for contributing to the cause. You're the best!
And while Amber has been promoted to Fish4scores Director of Twitter Operations (with a 50 percent pay increase from her original salary of nothing), Courtney's work from mid-season on has promoted her to Assistant Director.
Please don't be late for the next staff meeting girls.
* * * *
I would also like to thank another Twitter contributor -- who I will only refer to as "Outcast of the People" -- but he can't seem to stay at the games for more tha none half -- and sometimes the decision wasn't his to leave. :)
* * * *
Check back later this week when we provide Super Bowl picks from the township's athetic community.
* * * *
OK, I leave you with this trivia question -- which I guarantee 80 percent of you won't be able to answer:
Who won today's Pro Bowl?
Dec 9, 2012
It's a Big Dawg
Dec. 9: So I went to a Christmas party at the house of Hightstown High Athletic Director Gary Bushelli Saturday night and it was loaded with Mercer County athletic personalities.
Aside from the Hightstown coaches, which include former Rams head football coach Jack Dunn, there were Notre Dame coach Chappy Moore, former ND/Neptune Athletic Director Vince Ardery, former Steinert AD Rich Giallella and on the list went on.
As we arrived late and struggled through the crowd to get a drink, I was stopped by one person after another with questions.
"Were you at the game? Tell us about the game? How was the game? Tell me about the interception return."
Everyone wanted to know about the Northstars win over Neptune. And at the end of every conversation I had. . .this is not an exaggaration -- EVERY conversation, it ended the same way --- "That's great for Adams. Good for Adams. Good for Jon, he deserves it. Wow Jon must be happy."
That's the common theme running throughout Mercer County and Northstar Nation today. An outpouring of congratulations has Big Dawg's Facebook page in overdrive. He wasn't checking text messages yesterday until he had the time.
It's a sheer love-fest and include me in the group. Obviously the fact that Coach Adams survived serious cancer issues in the summer adds to the story line here. But that's not where the love is coming from. Had the Dawg been healthy as a horse last summer the same accolades would be coming his way.
Adams is a guy who has worked hard as the Northstars head coach for 23 years. He loves his players and has developed a close bond with so many of them after they left. He gives tough love, sometimes he has to get tough without giving the love to get a point across.
He admitted it was hard to bench his son Stephen in the second half against Neptune because Luke Westerberg had the hot hand. It had to be killing him, since it was the first time all year he abandoned the rotation system. And it happened in the biggest game of the year.
What dad on earth would feel good about doing that? How many of them might just not have done it?
But while Adams loves his son, he treats his players as his family as well and he knew this was the move to make for Nottingham to win. In fact, he and his staff proved to be outstanding throughout the playoffs in which Nottingham went 3-0 against the Shore Conference.
Rather than avoid the other team's strengths, he attacked them. He did what conventional wisdom said not to do because he had faith in his players. And his confidence in his players to do that, gave them the confidence to get it done.
Against Manasquan and Long Branch, he decided to slug it out with a running game against teams that love that style. Against Neptune, a team that can score points in bunches with big plays, conventional wisdom said to go with a running game to keep the ball out of Ajee Patterson's hands. So what did Nottingham do? Get three offensive touchdown plays of 53 yards or more.
It wasn't just the Big Dawg. His assistants obviously played a big part in it. And why not listen to a staff that includes former head coaches Bob Harris, Frank Gatto and John Berei. It was truly a clinic the way they handled three teams that everyone thought were the favorites.
Personally speaking, we in the media love Adams. He's always a good quote and gives you all the time you need (a lot of you in Hamilton do that, which is appreciated).
Sure he'll rub some people the wrong way. No one in the world has a 100 percent fan club.
But he is close with so many people and they are all feeling good for their guy today. And they should. He's a great guy, a gregarious guy who is the classic "Big Teddy Bear" kind of guy.
My only complaint with Mr. Adams is that he playfully admonished the sportswriters for not believing his team had the speed to match up with Neptune. To that, I say please read the below blog written yesterday. Ahem, ahem.
But other than that, I love ya Big Dawg!
Just like everybody else.
Dec. 8 2012
It's in the Stars: Nottingham
will win it!
Dec. 8: I never ever make predictions. I just don't, because I don't think anyone knows what will happen in a football game.
But I am making one today. I truly believe Nottingham's football team is going to come home a winner against Neptune in the Central Jersey Group III championship game.
I had a feeling about this team after the Allentown game. That was a loss, but could have been a win and there was just something about the Northstars that impressed me in that game. They could have won as easily as lost and I didn't count it as a loss in terms of what the Stars could do down the line.
I really think this is a team of destiny. It all started in the summer when Jon Adams health issues could have led to a completely dismal season. But the Big Dawg came through in a big way, his team followed his lead and well, here we are.
But that's not the only reason I think Nottingham will win today. I also think they have developed an unshakable confidence after bringing down two straight Shore Conference teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs. That right there removes the stumbling block of "Oh gee, can we beat the Shore?"
And then there is one othe little factor: speed. Neptune's great advantage in these games is speed. Especially in the passing game. But Nottingham's has plenty of speed in the secondary, as long as a physical presence. I'm not saying the Stars have an advantage, but I am saying Neptune doesn't have an advantage.
There are just a lot of things that feel right about this game for Nottingham. So much so, that I'm actually making a prediction.
I don't know what the score will be. . .but Nottingham will be on the positive side of it when it's over.
Dec. 2 2012
Shore is good!
Dec. 2: What is all this talk about the Shore Conference being so good in football?
That's what they might be saying on Klockner Road in Hamilton Township these days, as that little strip of asphalt houses two schools that are actually tormenting the mighty Shore teams lately.
For those who don't follow high school football extensively, it is common knowledge that teams from the Shore pound teams from Mercer County every year in the state playoffs. A few teams hang, but many of the games are embarrassing blowouts.
Over the past two seasons, however, Hamilton Township schools (and Klockner Road residents) Steinert and Nottingham are 3-1 against the Shore Conference.
Steinert beat Wall in last year's playoffs, then led Neptune into the third quarter before falling in the title game. Nottingham has taken two straight seven-point wins over Manasquan and Long Branch this playoff season, despite being considered the underdog in both.
Throw in Hamilton West's near-miss loss to Middletown South in 2010 and it's safe to say that the township is carrying the banner for Mercer County against the Shore.
It's something to be proud of because, lets
face it, the Shore Conference is excellent. It has many more quality teams than Mercer from top to bottom, it has a ton of football talent and great teams play great teams throughout the year. That only toughens them up come playoff time.
Teams in Mercer, even with the West Jersey realignment, are probably getting two to three good tests a year.
The fact that Nottingham and Steinert have fared well in the playoffs doesn't mean the conference's are coming closer together in talent.
What it does mean, is we have had the privelege of watching two very special football teams the past two years. Two teams that have proven they can be great no matter what league they are in and what team they are playing.
And both have unique stories to tell.
For Steinert, it marked the first time the school ever won a playoff game, let alone reach a sectional final.
For Nottingham, it's one of the feel-good stories of the year. Over the summer, the Stars were uncertain of if they would have their head coach. And the coach himself wondered how much of a future he had after Jon Adams had to undergo surgery for cancer.
But Adams won his battle and his Northstars have won every battle but one this year. And the team it lost to is no longer around as Allentown fell to Neptune in Friday's other CJ III final.
It's the same Neptune that beat Steinert last year. The same Neptune Nottingham plays at The College of New Jersey for a championship on Saturday.
Few people outside the area probably think Nottingham will win. But that doesn't matter.
If people can't figure out by now that the Northstars may just be a team of destiny, they never will.
And besides, Nottingham has proven it can overcome the aura of the Shore Conference.
But can the Scarlet Fliers overcome the aura of Klockner Road?
* * * *
Congratulations to coach Dan O'Donnell and the Fish4scores.com basketball team, which won its inaugural game in the St. Gregory Intramural League's Senior Division. Way to go gang, you're making us all proud!
* * * *
Speaking of last year's football teams, graduated Steinert quarterback Adam Riese was on hand at the Thanksgiving game while graduated Nottingham QB Esayah Obado was at Saturday's Nottingham-Long Branch game.
Both were red-shirted at their respective schools this year -- Riese at New Hampshire and Obado and Delaware State -- and both felt it was a productive year of learning about the nuances of college football.
Nov. 20 2012
allow us to smile
times in Hamilton
Nov. 20: Thank you, Nottingham!
In the wake of so many disturbing things being reported on in Hamilton Township these days, and with today’s guilty verdict of Mayor John Bencivengo, this township needs something to smile about.
And it has reasons to do just that thanks to what's happening on the corner of Klockner Road and Hamilton Avenue.
Nottingham High School is all smiles these days with what’s going on its athletic department.
Start with the hiring of Chris “The Baron” Raba last week. Raba was finally confirmed as boys basketball coach, giving the Northstars a guy with a proven track record of success to run their program.
Then there is the football team, who gave us one of the most exciting football games seen in these parts in some time. Trailing by 14 and going nowhere at halftime Nottingham roared back for a 21-14 win to advance to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III semifinals next week.
Let’s not forget about “Amazing” Grace Dwyer, who is sweeping New Jersey by storm in just her first year in high school. The freshman is putting up times that are remarkable and blew into Wednesday’s Meet of Champions by finishing third in the NJSIAA Group III meet last Saturday.
And to top it off, softball star Valerie Suto signed a letter of intent on Monday to play for Division I Seton Hall, which is pretty impressive.
That’s a lot of nice stuff to feel good about during this time of turmoil.
It’s no wonder that Rick “The Voice of the Northstars” Taylor has a lot to say these days.
* * * *
I couldn’t be happier for Jon Adams and the success he has had with Nottingham football this year. This was a guy who, last summer, didn’t even know if he would be teaching or coaching, let along standing two wins away from a sectional title.
Way to go Big Dawg!
* * * *
Apologies go out to Meg “Martina Scorcese” Black, the Steinert grad now attending Kutztown State. In my last blog I thanked so many people for their contributions, but forgot to thank “Blackie” for all her fine video efforts last summer (and hopefully again over winter break).
* * * *
I didn’t get a chance to write anything on it, but congratulations to Hamilton West’s Lauren “The Lamb” Wyrough for scoring two goals and leading her team to victory in the Mooch Myernick Soccer All-Star game Sunday. That gave Wyrough eight goals in five games since her knee injury.
* * * *
Also congratulations go out to Kristin Jacobs (formerly Voorhees) for being named the new Steinert girls basketball coach.
Voorhees was a standout player at Steinert under Jim “Jules” Giglio and was a long-time assistant under Bob Boyce at West Windsor-Plainsboro North.
Jacobs gets started this weekend when basketball practice gets underway.
* * * *
It has been 25 years since the Steinert boys cross country team won the NJSIAA Group III meet with Tom Canto, Aaron Oldfield, Charlie Zoda, Doug Larkin, Tom Hooker and several other standouts. The crew plans on meeting at Veterans Park with coaches Jerry Bleistein and Doug Martin this Friday and are toying with taking an anniversary run through the park. Whether or not that happens, they will then head to DeLorenzo’s for some pizza.
* * * *
Thursday’s the big day over at Steinert with the Thanksgiving game, and Texas Roadhouse plans on doing its part.
The Fish4Scores Athlete of the Week sponsor will be selling gift cards and donating some of the profits back to the schools. See tomorrow’s preview of the game for more details.
* * * *
Not sure if he would want me to reveal this, but Hamilton Little Lads Basketball Director Jack DeStefano just became a great grandfather when his grandson Nick and his wife brought a new baby boy into the world Monday.
“Now I have a new reason for sticking with Little Lads,” Jack said with a laugh.
That must be what keeps him looking so young.
* * * *
Rutgers in the Big 10. Wow.
Looks good for football, but I don’t know about basketball. And it will be interesting to see Steinert grad and RU soccer coach Dan Donigan’s take on it, as I’m not sure the Big 10 is quite on par with the Big Eats when it comes to men’s soccer.
* * * *
Well that’s it for now. I just want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and we’ll see you on the gridiron Thursday morning!
Sep. 23, 2012
Don’t faint but. . .
it’s a new blog!
OK, OK, I know what you’re thinking.
Another blog already? How many of these things can we take!
Well, after hearing people complaining throughout the spring, summer and fall (I was goin for the record!), even I have gotten sick of seeing the same blog for so long.
I got tired of reading about the second round of the NBA playoffs, considering the the NBA finals AND the Olympics are over. Mollie Coyne was a high school senior during the last blog, today she scored her first collegiate goal. Way to go Mol!
But the biggest complaint I got was “You gotta get Phil Alu out of there!” Sorry Phil. . .I tried to hold out as long as I could, but the masses have spoken!
The second biggest complaint came from Steinert Athletic Director John Costantino . . . every day. It seems Cos reads this blog when he wants to fall asleep. Since he didn’t have a new blog to bore him for five months. . .his whole sleeping pattern is shot.
Sooo anyway, get a pillow Cos and read away. Lots to catch up on.
And in case you forget the set-up, these are various thoughts, sectioned off by little * * * * thingies. So if you get bored with one thing, just shut up and move on to the next.
* * * *
As you may have already seen, we have some new features on Fish4Scores.com, not the least of which is a new Athlete of the Week Sponsor. We’re delighted to welcome aboard Texas Roadhouse on Route 33, which is donating gift cards and hanging up the photos of the winners each week in their fine establishment.
Owner Norm Patten is just what Hamilton Township ordered. He is not only supporting Fish4scores and the high school’s standout student-athletes, he wants to immerse his establishment into this township. So if you’re looking for a place to stage an event, make like the gang at Cheers and call “Norm!”
OK, that was lame. Are you sure you want another blog?
Secondly, we are still tying up the loose ends with the potential sponsor, but we are a few hand shakes away from awarding one student-athlete from each school a “Scholar-Athlete of the Season” award, which will be given at the end of the fall, winter and spring seasons. Once everything is finalized, I’ll let everyone know the details and we will proudly reveal the new sponsor.
Speaking of scholar-athletes, you may have seen our new feature “The Life of a Student-Athlete” where Steinert’s Jeff Mattonelli and Hamilton’s Colleen “Collar” Murphy give us some insight on their lives beyond the athletic field. We are bringing a Nottingham athlete into the rotation as well, but I have not cleared it with him yet. When I do, he will add a third view.
I gotta tell you, so far I’ve been really impressed. In their first efforts, Jeff and Murph provided interesting, entertaining insight to what they are all about, and I have a feeling it will only get better as we all get into a rhythm.
* * * *
Features aren’t the only thing that’s new.
They are coinciding with an upcoming new look for Fish4Scores.
Now, you are probably going to complain about it at first.
Why? Because it’s change, and everyone hates change. “Where is this? How do I get to this? Why did he change this!!!!”
One of the main reasons is, it will cut my workload by at least a third. This site served its use over the first three years but it takes an incredibly long time to post stories and photos. So, part of it is self preservation.
Secondly, we want to continue to highlight the day’s activities prominently, but we plan on leaving the Athlete of the Week, Scholar-Athlete of the Season and Life of a Student-Athlete directly underneath on the home page so people don’t have to go searching for them.
Thus, the top of the page will be that oh-so-popular website method of rotating photos scrolling by, so you can pick your story.
I am trying to keep the new site as functional as this one. There will still be the “Fall” “Winter” “Spring” “Summer” menus at the top, and they will drop down with the sports for that season. So it won’t be THAT different.
I just ask you give it a chance and ou’ll get used to it. And bear with me, cuz I won’t know what I’m doing for a while so there may be a few gaffes here and there. But it will all smooth out so don’t go anywhere!
* * * *
We also have plenty of new people on board. Cathy Martin Healy took the plunge behind the scenes this summer and has done a tremendous job as my marketing consultant. Cathy is a freelancer who is extremely good at what she does. If you need her talents, let me know and I’ll hook you up (and no, I don’t get a percentage).
Shannon Keenan Moscarello is our new sales representative, so if you want to put an ad on Fish4scores, let us know and I will put you in touch with Shannon.
For a brief time until he graduates, we’re happy to have Rider student JJ Duke with us, predominantly as a soccer writer but he may pop up at other events as well. Mark Pratico, another Rider guy, is back helping out with his soccer expertise and we couldn’t be happier about that.
And we have found yet another talented parent with photography talents, as Nancy Eggert is supplying us with some darn good shots of Steinert boys’ soccer. The only drawback is she was referred to us by Jim “Jules” Giglio, so I now I feel indebted to Jules. And that’s never good.
There is also recent Nottingham graduate Dave Robb, who’s slipping us some nice Northstar shots. Brian “The Shot” McCarthy is our wild card, who could be anywhere at any time to shoot a township sports team near you. Brian also has a new Facebook photo page dealing with Hamilton Township news photography that you might want to check out: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Hamilton-Herald-News-com/113569545457746.
We still have the ol’ reliables, of course. At Nottingham, there is Wes “The Media Mogul” Kirkpatrick and Mary “The Renowned One” Malone. Two legends. Need we say more?
Over at Hamilton West, there is Jim Jenkins providing quality cross country shots. And of course, one of the gutsiest football photographers around – Donna Brihn. Poor Donna needs ankle surgery but refuses to miss shooting Hamilton football so she’s hobbling up and down the sidelines with a brace at not only varsity games, but JV and freshmen contests as well.
Yesterday she had to ice it for hours after the game and apologized for getting me her photos late. How’s that for dedication? Hornet players, give Mrs. Brihn a pat on the back and a “way to go” the next time you see her. Just watch the ankle!
And then there’s Princeton Packet sports editor Bob “Sense” Nuse, who will try and provide a cross country story if any Hamilton teams are running at the same meet his son is running at. Bob knows his stuff.
Then there are the usual suspects that are staples – photographers John Blaine and Dennis Symons Jr.; writer/teacher/many other things Tony Piscotta, and jack of all trades Ken Weingartner.
The fact that so many quality people want to be a part of this blows my mind and really makes me proud. This site would be nothing without their contributions.
So as we officially begin our fourth year on Oct. 1, to all you people – and any others that I might have missed – I say thank you so much.
* * * *
Speaking of Oct. 1, that is the date of the Daniel Rossi Memorial Scholarship Fund 2nd Annual Golf Outing. For more info go to http://www.facebook.com/events/216801735100874/.
While we’re at it, don’t forget the Wraparound Sports 7th Annual Softball Tournament to fight breast cancer on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13-14. Get more info at www.wraparoundsports.org. And please say a prayer for Wraparound founder Janeen Gondek, a good friend and a tremendous person who is going through a very tough time right now.
* * * *
I thought nothing would get on my nerves more than the countless Facebook photos this past summer of sand and an ocean that people posted with variations of the following: “On the beach at LBI. . life is good.”
Well, I was wrong.
Since Bruce Springsteen’s tour swung east, my Facebook is on overload with tailgaters in the parking lot and the words “Brrruuuuce!” as their oh so clever comment.
Facebook has become the new post cards. Remember post cards? There was writing involved. And a stamp. Remember stamps?
Anyway, my attitude toward all these Facebook people telling me what a blast they’re having while I’m working, is reflective of my attitude toward post cards. (Someone please tell the kids what a post card is). When my friends went on vacation, my parting words always were “Have fun but don’t send me a post card. I’m not interested in your good time.”
* * * *
I was very bummed out this past week to hear that Steinert’s Amber Dietrich has had her senior season of field hockey cut short due to a torn ACL. Dietrich hurt it when she caught it in some high grass at Robbinsville (the turf field was unavailable).
Amber is a great kid and anyone that knows her, hopes she can get back for her final season of softball. I spoke with her today at the Nottingham-Steinert football game and she is going to see a doctor Monday. She’s hoping to be back in six months, which would get her back by March and in time for softball.
Good luck Amber!!!
* * * *
Another thing that happened since the last blog (and no Mr. Costantino, not the discovery of electricity) is that I am now writing for the Hamilton Post newspaper. The reason I say this is to support their fine website, mercerspace.com, which does a great job covering the county, and especially this township, with its news and sports coverage.
(How’s that Joe and Rob? Do I still have a job!)
* * * *
I couldn’t agree more with Steve Young concerning the lockout with the NFL officials. In case you missed it, Young said that as long as people keep filling the stadiums and as long as ratings are up, why should Roger Goodell care about the replacement refs and their flaws. In the NFL, the bottom line is the buck. Who cares if games are screwed up or, worse yet, players are crunched.
I have a close friend who worked for the NFL for years. . .in the same office with Paul Tagliabue, in fact. She and her husband moved from New York to Los Angeles a few years ago and she now works for the NFL Network.
But she told me stories that blew my mind about how cheap the NFL is. A multi-gajillion dollar corporation treated regular old workers, like maintenance men, office employees and custodians like dirt. That’s why Young’s words hit home with me, because it mirrored everything my friend told me.
* * * *
Kudos to everybody’s favorite trainer, Trenton High’s Poppy Anderson. A Hamilton resident, Poppy is the male honoree this year by the Trenton Select Club. There is truly not a classier guy associated with Mercer County athletics.
* * * *
More kudos, to Hibernians soccer coach Tom Bayless, who is being inducted into the Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame. Tom is originally from Lawrence but his Hamilton roots run deep with all he’s done in the township.
And he’s almost as classy as Poppy! Just don’t ask me to define almost.
Love ya Bayless!
* * * *
Rutgers football beat Arkansas on the road last night and every time the Razorbacks applied the pressure, Rutgers answered. Could be an interesting year in Piscataway and no one will be happier than our JoJo's friend Andy.
* * * *
Gotta love this second wildcard in baseball. Hey, it kept me interested in the Phils for about 6 weeks longer than if there wasn't one.
* * * *
Another NHL lockout? Damn! Some of my greatest memories are of NHL games in October, when the baseball post-season is unfolding and college and pro football are in full bloom.
* * * *
Well, that’s about it folks.
See ya in 5 months . . . or whenever Haley’s Comet comes by again.