Tag Archives: Softball

Howard Beach softball team X-Bays crowned 2015 champs

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the X-Bays

The X-Bays, a softball team started as a fun activity for friends living in the Howard Beach area, celebrated their third championship in five years on Sunday and several moves up the Queens Metro ASA Softball League division ladder.

The team, made up of men in their early 20s to mid 40s, was formed in 2009 but did not play a full season until 2010. According to co-manager Anthony Galetto, the X-Bays were “really bad” the first year but steadily continued to improve. After starting out in division C3, the X-Bays moved up to division C1 for the 2013 championships, where they were nearly undefeated.

“It’s amazing,” Galetto said. “We’ve been here before so we knew what it would take to get here. It’s an odd year. It seems like in the past three years we’ve been winning in odd years so we kinda knew it was our time.”

Galetto attributed the win to the team’s selfless style of play and the older players’ willingness to step down and let the “younger, maybe more experienced players get in there and do their thing.”

Two of the key players were starting pitcher Joel Lopez, who has been playing for two years, and Jose Torrez, who Galetto described as a championship MVP.

“Nobody can touch him,” Galetto said of Lopez. “He’s been an absolute phenom.”

Most of the players have families and sacrifice their Sundays to practice and play. Galetto, who along with Baker lives closest to Frank M. Charles Park where most games are played, drives to the park after work at 3 p.m. on Saturdays to maintain it.

After several complaints from community members about the condition of the softball field, the Parks Department, Gateway National Recreation Area and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder worked together to level the infields, repair the outfields and provide players with equipment to make minor game day repairs.

Galetto said he is happy to see that the improved field is now also being used by little league softball teams. Though the extra use has made it somewhat difficult to maintain, the Parks Department is only a phone call away.

“The Gateway guys have been great,” Galetto said. “Whenever I need something, I just pick up the phone and call somebody.”

The X-Bays defeated the Nobodies in division B1 and are waiting to hear back from the league about their ranking. The team’s 20-5-1 record was the best in the entire league this season and Galetto is confident and excited to play against teams in division A. His celebration was short lived because after winning, Galetto had to drive to work.

“I celebrated by getting a bottle of champagne [dumped on me], soaked in alcohol, with a tear in my eye and getting in my car and driving to work,” Galetto said. “But I took a shower first worrying about being pulled over and being late for work.”


Construction crushed, Tottenville Pirates steal championship

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The tears started to flow uncontrollably off pitcher Britney Rodriguez’s face as she lined up for the presentation for the finalist medals.

She couldn’t help but cry. Her team, the High School of Construction Red Hawks, just dropped the city championship game against the Tottenville High School Pirates in a 13-3 blowout at St. John’s University on Sunday.

The lost was devastating, but what seemed to hurt the senior more was that her Red Hawks didn’t battle as the top-ranked city team.

“We are a better team than that and I don’t know what happened,” said Rodriguez, who signed with Lackawanna College. “We fell short and we didn’t come out the way we were supposed to.”

The Red Hawks aimed for back-to-back city titles, but played a sloppy, error-filled game, allowing five quick runs in the first inning. Then in the third inning, the Pirates added six more runs — two on wild pitches — to take an 11-0 lead.

“Those two innings were just unbelievable. That first inning set the tone,” Red Hawks coach Marco Migliaccio said. “To go out like this is pretty horrible, because this is not even close to what our best game should have been.”

Construction temporarily recovered out of its funk and scored three runs in the fourth inning, beginning with a bases-loaded single by junior Nicole Ovelheira. There was a glimmer of hope for the Red Hawks, but it was quickly dashed in the next inning as they struggled to get base runners. Tottenville piled on two more runs in final inning to deflect any hopes of a comeback.

“The nerves really hit the girls who have never been here before and then it hit all of us,” said senior Amy Pirozek, who will play at Hunter College next year. “We realized what was at stake and it just fell apart.”

Rodriguez, Pirozek and a few other seniors at the Ozone Park school are the remaining members of the team that built the Red Hawks into the A Division champion last year. They are happy for where the team has come in the past few years, but upset with their final game.

“It feels great, but this is not how I wanted it to end,” Rodriguez said.




Bayside softball escapes upset in playoff trap game

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The Bayside High School softball team’s reward for being excellent all year was almost the cause for its demise in the 2014 PSAL playoffs.

The city’s second-ranked softball team earned a two-game bye because of its 15-1 record and tie for first in the Queens A Division, delaying its playoff debut until the sweet sixteen round on May 27 against Curtis High School of Staten Island.

But rust from the two-game hiatus quickly showed. Curtis, the 15-seeded team, jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and Bayside was trailing 5-4 by the fifth inning. Bayside was looking at an upset and early exit from the tournament, when the team quickly woke up in the bottom of the fifth inning led by senior Heidi Gomez, and they won the game 9-5.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Coach Steve Piorkowski said, referring to the bye. “Skills like hitting and pitching you need to be game sharp, you want to be competing straight through.”

Gomez, the team’s ace pitcher, finished with 12 strikeouts and a complete game, but she gave up four walks and eight hits, including a monster three-run homer, which gave Curtis its 5-4 lead in the fifth.

But following her mistake, Gomez, who went 2-for-3 at the plate, started the Lady Commodores’ rally when she powered a single in bottom of the inning. Her pinch-runner eventually scored on a throwing error to first base to tie the game.

Later in the inning, with one base runner, senior catcher Taylor Moy smacked a triple, giving Bayside the lead. Then Moy scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat to expand the lead, 7-5.

“I was like, we got to catch back up, we’re going to lose and I don’t want to lose,” Moy said. “So we had to rally, push through, make contact — any contact possible.”

Bayside quieted Curtis’ offensive for the remainder of the game and expanded their lead in the next inning. With the trap game behind them, the team feels that they’ll be in shape for the next round.

“I think if we play how we normally play, we’ll do great,” Gomez said.

Bayside will host George Washington of Manhattan on Thursday at 4 p.m.



Queens disabled softball team to play against blind Long Island team

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy American Softball

It’s not really about who wins or loses, it’s about the love of the game.

Queens-based American Softball, a league for developmentally challenged and handicapped adults, will play the Long Island Bombers, a blind and visually impaired softball team.

The meeting, on June 1 in Rockville Centre, will consist of noncompetitive games between the two leagues.

“This is about coming together and showing that there are opportunities for disabled players to have fun,” said Ted Fass, executive director of the Bombers. “For me, it’s just putting two groups together to have a fun day.”

Both teams have adjusted forms of the sport and will combine them for the games. The Bombers play beep baseball, which involves a larger, beeping softball, two four-foot tall buzzing bases and a set of alternate rules.

Pitchers can see and aren’t counted as players. Their job is to let the batters hit. After making contact, players run to either buzzing base and if they touch it before the ball is secured by a fielder, they score a run.

American softball on the other hand usually has volunteers assisting the players in everything from running to batting.

“Both teams have challenges, but one thing they love is softball,” said Randy Novick, founder of American Softball. “I think it’s a wonderful, different experience.”



Softball meets socializing in Astoria

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Astoria Plays Ball

For one local softball league, it’s not about the number of home runs, it’s about the quality of the friendships.

Astoria Plays Ball, which kicks off its second season Saturday, was created for more than just the sport.

The co-ed adult league acts like a social club for locals to meet each other, then branch out to do activities beyond the field.

“We try to keep it very community focused,” said Harris Beringer, one of the league’s organizers.

Astoria Plays Ball was launched last spring with about 80 players who initially signed up.

This season, with a higher demand, the league is debuting a new logo and T-shirts, vamping up its social media and other organizational aspects, and looking into expanding.

Currently there are six teams of 20, each with a creative name, including Street Meat, Sons of Pitches, Just the Foul Tip and Smokin’ Bunts.

Following games, played twice a week at Whitey Ford Field, teams head to a local bar for drink specials and hot dogs. The winners get free beers.

“The winning team is getting the beers, but mostly we want everyone to have fun,” Beringer said.

The league de-emphasizes competition.

“A lot of the people in the league haven’t played before and they are getting their first experience with softball and we don’t want them to be scared off,” he said.

In addition to socializing during practices, members, most of whom did not know each other beforehand, have hung out during and in between seasons at parties, bowling nights and trivia nights.

There are also potential plans to attend a Mets game.

Beringer hopes to not only grow the softball league’s number of teams and seasons, but also add other sports, such as basketball and kickball.

The league is additionally looking to give back to where it plays ball through the Astoria Park Alliance or Green Shores NYC in the future so members can bond through community work as well.

“Astoria Plays Ball is the best place to meet some great people and get some exercise,” said Laura Carbone, one of the players. “Everyone is so friendly and encouraging … I have met amazing people that have turned into wonderful friendships.”



Red Hawks flying high, fresh faces eyeing back-to-back titles

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre


High School for Construction junior softball player Jenasez Alves has something to prove.

Last year, the Red Hawks varsity and junior varsity squads were top teams in the city. The varsity team won its division and then the city title — the school’s first Division A championship — after a 3-2 win over perennial powerhouse Tottenville High School of Staten Island.

But despite the junior varsity team also winning its division, they’ve come up short in the playoffs, and were routed two years ago by Tottenville.

Jenasez Alves

Alves, who was on that team, was promoted from the junior varsity team this year and is looking for payback. She is determined to help the varsity team win back-to-back titles and hopes to repay the squad from Staten Island in the process. Likewise, other fresh faces on the Red Hawks are trying to earn their stripes to defend the team’s city title.

“I just want to see how everything plays out,” Alves said after a game against the John Bowne Wildcats on Monday, April 7, “and with this team this year, if we will be able to fill in the shoes of last year’s [team].”

With her motivation, Alves is shocking even her coach. She is currently batting .632, and Alves went 3-for-4 on Monday with two triples and three RBIs, helping the Red Hawks to a 15-0 shutout over the Wildcats (1-4 PSAL).

“Jena is a totally different ball player, she has come a long way with a lot of hard work,” head coach Marco Migliaccio said. “We lost a lot of big players, but she stepped up. This is an unexpected surprised.”

The Red Hawks (8-0 PSAL) are powered by many seniors from the championship team, including all-star Brittany Rodriguez, who has lead the A division in hits and batting average for the past two years. Rodriguez, the team’s ace, also led the league in strikeouts (162) and wins (15) in 2012.

But behind the upperclassmen are two dangerous freshmen who bypassed the junior varsity team. Freshman infielder Lizul Portugal, who is already a regular starter, is batting .704 in 27 at bats with five homers — good enough to be in the top of the A division in both catergories. Besides eyeing another title, Portugal will learn from Rodriguez and the other seniors about how to lead the team beyond this season.

“Brittany has been everything over the years,” Migliaccio said. “It helps [Portugal] a lot. Brittany really had nobody to look up to, but [Portugal] has a year to watch Brittany and look up to her.”



Mets host wheelchair softball tournament

| smosco@queenscourier.com


Top wheelchair athletes from around the world arrived at Citi Field for the 10th annual Mets Wheelchair Softball Tournament (MWST) with one goal in mind: to win the championship and show that disabilities should not resign one to a sedentary lifestyle.

The tournament was held on Lot A at the home of the New York Mets and featured teams of men, women and veterans who compete in sports wheelchairs. All teams were sponsored by a Major League Baseball team and the event was organized by the Wheelchair Sports Federation.

Wheelchair teams from Queens, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and the Bronx participated and, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, 100 students with special needs participated in a softball clinic led by the players.

Also, as a special treat for the ballplayers, Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver showed up to give the players some on-the-diamond advice. He even pitched to a few of the players, giving them the opportunity to hit off a baseball legend at the tournament on Friday, September 16.

Many of the men and women who played in the tournament are veterans wounded in battle, and many have competed and won medals at the Paralympics. There were also plenty of players who have competed in this tournament for many years, making them veterans both on and off the field.

On the field of play, the RIC (Rehabilitory Institute of Chicago) Cubs defeated the Mets wheelchair softball team, 10-4, to win the championship.