Tag Archives: Catholic Youth Organization

Queens native to host youth baseball clinic


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Anthony Iapoce

A Queens native is hoping to establish a new baseball culture in the borough to foster more skilled players.

Anthony Iapoce, currently a hitting coordinator with the Chicago Cubs, has two decades of professional baseball experience playing and coaching with various teams. He will host his first youth baseball clinic on Saturday, December 14 at Fitzgerald Gym at Queens College from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“The most important factor in the camp is just being influential to the kids and teaching them the right fundamentals when it comes to the game,” Iapoce said.

The camp is the first in a series he hopes to expand before introducing a borough-wide clinic for coaches to learn advance drills and network.

Iapoce, who is a native of Astoria, grew up playing baseball in Queens. He played Catholic Youth Organization baseball at St. Joseph’s parish, and later at Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School in East Elmhurst.

After playing college baseball for Lamar University in Texas, he played for 11 years in the minor leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins), where he compiled a .273 batting average in 845 games and reached Triple-A– the highest level before the major league.

After he stopped playing baseball, he became a coach in the Marlin’s minor league system and then a hitting coordinator with the Toronto Blue Jays. Last year, he received a call from the Cubs to provide hitting guidance for their minor league players. Having traveled around the country for a long time, he recently moved back to Queens and is excited about establishing a camp in his hometown.

“This is a huge deal for me, because it’s the first camp I’ll do where I’m from,” Iapoce said. “It hits the heart pretty good. It gives you goosebumps just talking about it.”

His clinic at Queens College will be limited to about 35 players so that he can give more personal attention to each participant. Iapoce and fellow minor league coaches and players will focus on improving the youngsters’ fundamentals and mechanics in all positions. He hopes to create the coaches’ clinic based on the success of the camps.

“What we are trying to do in Chicago is create a winning culture in the minor leagues,” Iapoce said. “We are trying to create this culture of teaching in Queens, more importantly to the coaches.”

For more information about Iapoce’s baseball clinic, contact him at 347-351-5233 or click here. The camp cost $145 for one player or $125 per player for a group of five and is open to boys and girls from ages nine to 13.

 

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Rockaway Sandy survivor to run New York City Marathon for 20th time


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of John Edwards

Rockaway Park resident John Edwards, 59, was hoping to run the ING New York City Marathon for the 20th time last year, but Mother Nature had other ideas.

The race was canceled due to the massive city-wide damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. But it wasn’t a time for Edwards, who is not related to the politician, and his family to look forward to a marathon anyway.

Sandy flooded his basement, ruining irreplaceable pictures, documents and furniture, destroyed windows in his house and totaled two of the family’s cars. Edwards estimated that the damage cost more than $60,000.

“People were going from house to house helping each other and people were covered with sewer water,” Edwards said. “I don’t think it was time to be celebrating a New York City Marathon when we had people down here who didn’t know what they were going to do the next day.”

Now, nearly a year later, he has repaired his house and replaced items lost, thanks in part to insurance. And as part of his return to normalcy, Edwards is once again gearing up for the Marathon on November 3.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Edwards said. I don’t expect to run fast, I expect to just get through it.”
Edwards, a manager of a bakery on Long Island, began running when he was 27 years old.

At that time he routinely played baseball in Brooklyn bar leagues with friends.

“On the weekend we played ball, ate burgers, drank beer and gained weight,” Edwards said. “But then the groundballs would be going through your legs, because of the gut you’d be growing, so [a friend suggested] let’s go and do a little running.”

Edwards and teammates eventually began entering races and he developed a love for running. In 1982 he entered and completed his first city marathon. Since then he has completed numerous races around the city and his hobby evolved into an addiction of sorts.

As he is training for the Marathon, Edwards wakes up as early as 3:30 a.m. to do daily runs, which can vary from a short three miles to much longer distances, such as a recent 18-mile Marathon prep race.

“I think it’s a combination of sheer pride and natural endurance and then love of the sport,” Mary, Edwards’ youngest daughter, said.

Edwards is known throughout the community as a “running guru.”

He founded the Rockapulco Running Series in 2001, which are various runs in the Rockaways throughout the year, including themed half marathon runs for Christmas, Labor Day and Memorial Day. He is also a member of the local running club the Rockaway Gliders.

Edwards restarted the local Catholic Youth Organization track team at nearby St. Francis de Sales in 1996 so his daughters could run with other youngsters. But even after his children outgrew the league, he continued to train young runners for nearly a decade.

His daughters will now join him in his 20th Marathon. After more than three decades the hobby has become a family bonding activity for Edwards, one that Sandy wasn’t able to break.

“It’s been a way for us to stay connected,” Edwards said. “It’s nice.”

 

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