Tag Archives: Sports

Martial arts tournament to be held at Queens College

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of World Fighting Martial Arts Federation

Each year, the U.S. Open Martial Arts Championship, one of the premier martial arts competition events on the East Coast, brings together hundreds of competitors from around the world to compete in a variety of matches. This year they are headed to Queens College to battle it out to find out who is the best.

The World Fighting Martial Arts Federation (WFMAF) is hosting the fifth U.S. Open Martial Arts Championship on Oct. 4 at Queens College, located at 65-30 Kissena Blvd. in Flushing.

Elite martial artists will compete in a variety of events in several different divisions and weight classes to win medals and cash prizes.

Competitors will face off in open-hand and weapons form competition in kung fu, karate, taekwondo, and wushu, as well as combat competitions in light contact sanda (light contact sparring), ultimate sanda (full contact sparring), shuai jiao (Chinese wrestling), judo, push hands, chi sao sparring and short weapons sparring.

At the culmination of the event, the grandmasters in attendance will give demonstrations of the arts, not normally seen at many venues.

For more information on how to register to be a participant or to order tickets, visit the WFMAF website.


Queens kids compete in citywide track and field sports games

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy of City Parks Foundation

Children from Queens joined scores of kids from across New York City at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island for City Parks Foundation’s (CPF) 14th Annual CityParks Track & Field Citywide Championships on Aug. 12 for a day of healthy competition in a wide range of track and field events.

Over 2,000 kids, ages 5 to 16, broke off into teams to compete in several events over the course of the day including javelin, discus, shot put, triple jump, long jump, 400- and 800-meter runs, hurdles, a 4×100-meter relay, and the 100-meter dash.

Children with special needs participated in events including a 100-meter dash that included children in wheelchairs, as well as several other events. In addition, there was a “giant” relay race for runners ages 5 to 7. Championship medals were awarded at peewee, beginner and intermediate levels.

CityParks Track & Field, presented by EmblemHealth, offers free track and field instruction for children ages 5 to 16, with lessons held two times a week from July through August in parks across the city.

Through its partnership with EmblemHealth, CPF’s free annual youth track and field instruction also provides the children and their families with health tips including sun safety tips, hydration information, and other wellness information and special giveaways.

CPF is the only independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to offer programs in parks throughout the five boroughs. It works in more than 350 parks citywide, presenting a broad range of programs in an effort to promote healthy and vibrant communities, reaching 425,000 people each year.


Red Storm men’s soccer draws with Manhattan Jaspers in exhibition match

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy St. John's Athletics

The St. John’s Red Storm began its exhibition schedule with a 1-1 draw against the Manhattan Jaspers at Belson Stadium on Aug. 15. A total of 20 Red Storm players saw action in the contest, including eight newcomers.

The game, which was played in three 30-minute periods, saw the Red Storm goalkeepers Andrew Withers, Michael Bernardi and Jordan Stagmiller each play one 30-minute period with Stagmiller recording the lone Red Storm save.

“It was good for us to open our exhibition season with a tough and physical match against a quality Manhattan squad,” said Dr. Dave Masur, head coach for the Red Storm soccer team. “We used a lot of players tonight because we have a number of newcomers and it was important for them to get their feet wet.”

Manhattan had only one shot in the first period, but made it count and grabbed an early 1-0 lead. A 40-yard strike from just inside the right sideline caught goaltender Withers off his line and came down just below the crossbar to put the Jaspers on the board.

St. John’s, meanwhile, tallied three corner kicks in the first period and registered a pair of shots, but none found the back of the net.

The Red Storm added three more shots in the second period as well as two corner kicks, but could not level the score as the Jaspers maintained their 1-0 advantage.

The Jaspers held their lead until Prosuk found the back of the net nearly midway through the third period. Marcus Lindqvist started the play with a cross into the box from the left sideline. Prosuk received the ball at the near post and buried a close-range goal to tie the game at 1-1.

“I thought our guys did a good job moving the ball and creating some opportunities,” Masur said.

Neither team could muster a tie-breaking goal before the final whistle.

St. John’s returns to action and concludes exhibition play on Aug. 22 with a 1 p.m. road game at Penn State.


New York Riveters, city’s first female pro hockey team, set to take ice

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy Aviator Sports and Events Center

The New York Islanders won’t be the only professional hockey team to call Brooklyn home this coming season.

The New York Riveters of the newly formed National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) will play their home games at the Aviator Sports and Events Center located at Floyd Bennett Field.

Nicknamed for the iconic World War II-era “Rosie the Riveter” poster that became a symbol for women’s rights, the Riveters are one of the four inaugural teams that begin the NWHL season this October along with the Connecticut Whale, Boston Pride and Buffalo Beauts. The Riveters will play their first home game at the 2,000-seat sports center on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. against the Boston Pride.

“Aviator is a great fit for the Riveters in so many ways,” said Dani Rylan, commissioner of the NWHL and general manager of the New York Riveters. “With a team playing in New York City we’re poised to kick off our inaugural season with a prime market for our players to shine. Also, historically Floyd Bennett Field was home to a naval air station, which dovetails very well with our logo and name. As the commissioner of the league and [general manager] of the team, I am happy to build a home in Brooklyn.”


After the season opener in Connecticut, the Riveters begin a three-game home stand, which includes the home opener against Boston, Oct. 25 against Connecticut and Nov. 15 against Boston. The Riveters will begin the new year by facing off against the Whale in a home-and-home series on Jan. 1 and 2.

“It’s exciting to play in Brooklyn,” said Meghan Fardelmann, a forward out of Boston College. “We’ll be in the heart of it all. Being in New York City helps us with the very important mission to grow the sport of hockey to families in New York City.”

The Riveters’ final home game of the regular season will be on Feb. 14 against Buffalo. The playoffs will follow the regular season, which ends in March. In the coming weeks, the Riveters will announce on-sale dates for season and single game tickets.

The Riveters will host theme nights at Aviator Sports and Events Center, linking the team to local and national charities throughout the season, with dates to be announced in the coming weeks. They include “Strides for the Cure” to support cancer patients and families and Military Appreciation Night benefitting Defending the Blue Line. There will also be a canned food and coat drive, youth hockey night and hockey parent appreciation night.

“For Aviator, this is a wonderful addition to the already strong hockey programming and community that we’ve built,” said Dean Rivera, chief operating officer at Aviator Sports and Events Center. “We’re proud of the reputation we have and are excited to once again be home to a professional team at Aviator.”


Gastropub and beer bar is newest concession stand at Citi Field

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Randolph Group and Entertainment Fusion Group


Mets fans wanted it, and now they’ve got it — after winning the second annual Citi Call-Ups Program, Randolph Beer, an American gastropub and beer bar, will be joining the culinary lineup at Citi Field starting July 23 during the Mets’ first home game after the All-Star break.

The new concession stand will be offering the jerk chicken po’boy, a new take on a traditional southern sandwich crafted just for Citi Field by Randolph Executive Chef Masterful Davis. The stand will also serve Randolph’s collaboration beer, brewed by LIC Beer Project and specially created to go with the sandwich.

The stand will be located on the outfield concourse, near the Shake Shack and Two Boots Pizza stands, and will be open during home games for the rest of the 2015 Mets season.

“We envision a fan at the ballpark holding the jerk chicken po’boy in one hand and a cold beer in the other. It just fit,” said Dave Plate, co-founder and Partner of Randolph Group.

For the second year in a row and in an effort to bring New York’s favorite flavors to Citi Field, Citi nominated four New York City eateries for the Citi Call-Ups Program that fans could vote for in online and in-stadium polls. This year, Randolph Beer beat out Crepes & Delices, Bagel Stuffins by Bantam Bagels, and Zengo.

Since 2007, Randolph Group has aimed to satisfy a wide variety of palates with three distinct locations throughout New York City: Randolph at Broome, a cocktail dive and café; Randolph Beer, an American gastropub and craft beer bar; and Randolph Brooklyn, an eclectic garage bar and restaurant.

“We see Randolph as a New York City institution that has been serving quality cocktails, craft beer, southern soul food and providing an authentic Manhattan vibe for over eight years,” said Hari Kalyan, co-founder and partner of Randolph Group. “We are very excited that the New York fans chose Randolph Beer to become part of Citi Field, another authentic New York institution.”


Team Duce of Bayside Little League completes undefeated season with championship win

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Team Duce

After finishing the regular season undefeated, Bayside Little League’s Team Duce made it to the championship game and were victorious over Texas West Division rival, W7, by a score of 4-3, completing their season with a perfect 16-0 record.

At the start of the game things did not look promising for undefeated Team Duce. W7 was able to open up an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Team Duce’s starting pitcher, Charlie Blair, quickly settled down after W7’s three-run first by pitching shutout ball for the next three innings.

Aris Catehis and Tino Famiglietti both got on base once, while John Archbold hit the ball hard. David Castracane helped keep Team Duce in the game by making stellar defensive plays in the outfield to prevent W7 from scoring more runs.

With Team Duce down 3-0, W7 decided to intentionally walk the top three hitters in the lineup: Costa Bournias, Charlie Blair and Tanner Fried. With the bases now loaded and two outs, the cleanup hitter and first baseman, George Diamantopoulos, came to the plate with a chance to tie the game or even put Team Duce ahead.

Diamantopoulos did his job and blasted a triple into right field, scoring all three runners, tying the game at 3-3.

As Diamantopoulos represented the go-ahead run on third, Derek McCreesh and Bobby Fretwell both worked two-out walks to load the bases. This brought up Rafael Rufrano. After fouling off eight pitches, Rufrano earned a walk forcing in the go-ahead run and giving Team Duce a 4-3 lead.

Team Duce’s closer Tanner Fried, known to teammates as “The Sandman,” came in to try and preserve the win.

After pitching a perfect fifth inning, Fried faced the top of the lineup for W7, which included their power hitters. By utilizing his two- and four-seam fastballs, Fried was able to get ahead on each of the hitters with two strikes. He then used his off-speed pitches, the change-up and knuckle drop ball to surprise the hitters and strike them out, securing the championship for Team Duce.


Kids learn basketball fundamentals at Maspeth High School summer camp

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

Maspeth High School wrapped up its second summer basketball camp, where local middle school students came together to learn the fundamentals of basketball, play some games and, most importantly, have fun.

The one-week camp session, which ended on Friday, was led by Maspeth High School’s boys varsity basketball team head coach Anastasia Bitis, who helped lead the Argonauts to an undefeated record last year and a city championship.

Thirty area middle school students attended this year’s camp at Maspeth High School. Boys and girls of all levels got the chance to hone their skills, learn new ones and play plenty of basketball games.

“The kids love it,” Bitis said. “We had an extensive waiting list this year. We teach the kids the fundamentals and how to work together with team work.”

“The main thing we want the kids to learn is to work hard and to work with each other,” she continued. “It’s important for the more skilled players to help make the others better. The goal is for the kids to have fun overall, to grow their love of the game and to stay fit.”

Bitis explained that during the one-week camp the students are trained in several drills and exercises including conditioning skills, half-court and full-court drills, jump shooting, layups and dribbling skills.

“The kids get to learn a little bit of everything,” Bitis said. “And then they get to incorporate what they’ve learned into the game situations.”

After skills training, the kids are broken up into teams where they play games against each other in one-on-one, three-on-three and five-on-five style games. Bitis invited players from the Argonauts to join as counselors, where they help teach the kids and act as coaches for the teams.

“When coach Bitis asked me to come back and be a counselor this year, I said I would love to do it,” said Damian Piszczatowki, former player on the Argonauts who graduated this year and will be attending John Jay College next year. “I really enjoy it. I came back this year because I love working with the kids, teaching them and helping them grow. It’s fun to interact with them and you get the opportunity to play like a kid again.”

“It’s been a great experience,” said Christian Ramirez, who is entering his senior year at Maspeth High School. “As someone who started playing basketball at an older age, it’s nice to see them playing the game at a young age. One of my favorite things about the camp is the coaching. Seeing it from the coach’s perspective is different.”

The kids were excited to get the chance to learn new skills and play some basketball.

“I think the camp is really good,” said Jesse Morales, 13, who is entering eighth grade at St. Adalbert School in September. “It’s really fun and we are learning a lot. We get to learn exercises, run around, practice dribbling, the basics and how to perfect them.”

“I like the councilors. They’re fun,” said Ashley Petrasovic, 12, who is going into the eighth grade at P.S. 128. “The people here make you learn a lot of new stuff. I like the three-on-three and five-on-five games we play.”

As the camp came to a close, certificates and special awards were handed out to the players.

“We have the MVP award, the most improved player award, the best defensive player award and the coach’s award,” Bitis said. “We also have a skills competition and the winner gets a free T-shirt.”


New York Racing Association’s fall schedule to include two ‘Super’ Saturdays

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Adam Coglianese

As the New York Racing Association (NYRA) spring season wraps up on July 19, the 38-day fall championship meet at Belmont Park is set to deliver two “Super” Saturdays, with 11 graded stakes worth $4.2 million on Sept. 26 and Oct. 3.

In all, 40 stakes worth $10.6 million will be offered during the meet, which runs from Sept. 11 through Nov. 1.

On Sept. 26, two “win and you’re in” races will be held: a Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in the Turf division, and the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh in the Sprint division. The winners of those races gain entrance into the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships to be held at Keeneland Race Course on Oct. 30-31.

Also on the card for the Sept. 26 races are the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame for fillies and mares, the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap for filly and mare sprinters and the Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim for juveniles on the turf.

The lead up to the Breeders’ Cup will continue on Oct. 3, with the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup which offers automatic entry and a fees-paid trip to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races conclude with the Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (Filly & Mare Turf), the Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods Champagne (Juvenile), and the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette (Juvenile Fillies). The Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap and the Grade 3, $500,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-olds on the turf complete the graded stakes on the card.

“With the Breeders’ Cup scheduled at the end of October, it afforded us the opportunity to present two blockbuster days of racing instead of one,” said Martin Panza, senior vice president of racing operations for the NYRA. “We anticipate both to be ‘must-see’ days at Belmont Park this fall.”

Racing fans can watch all the Breeders’ Cup action at Belmont Park and the simulcast center at Aqueduct Racetrack on Oct. 30 and 31, with live racing action at Belmont to include the Grade 3, $200,000 Turnback the Alarm for fillies and mares on the turf on Friday and the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler at seven furlongs on Saturday.

The meet will then conclude with the $100,000 Pumpkin Pie for filly and mare sprinters on Nov. 1.


The St. Margaret’s/Resurrection Flyers celebrate record-breaking season

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy St. Margaret's/Resurrection Flyers

During their end-of-season celebration, the St. Margaret’s/Resurrection Flyers presented special plaques to runners, including those who broke records this season.

Senior girl Karolina Niepokoj received a special plaque to commemorate her record-breaking performance in the 800-meter run this year. Also receiving special plaques were novice boys Josiah Boulet, Kevin Isca, Unai Higgins and Andrew Kelly for setting a new record in the 600-meter medley relay earlier in the season.

For winning the Diocesan Championship in the indoor 600-meter medley relay, novice boys Josiah Boulet, Kevin Isca, Unai Higgins and Andrew Kelly won a special plaque and sweatshirt. Also winning were senior boy Luc Cathersal and junior girl Ainara Higgins for the indoor long jump.

The Diocesan champs for the indoor 800-meter race were senior girl Karolina Niepokoj and her bantam brother Kacper Niepokoj and junior girl Zara McPartland. For the indoor 400-meter run, junior boy Michael Hubert won the Diocesan and was awarded with the plague and sweatshirt as well.

For the outdoor season, bantam boy Ricky Hubert, junior girl Zara Mcpartland and senior girl Karolina Niepokoj earned their plaques and sweatshirts for their performance in the 800-meter run. Winning the Diocesan for the outdoor long jump were senior boy Luc Cathersal and senior girl Ainara Higgins.

Other winners during the outdoor season were novice boy Andrew Kelly in the 400-meter run and novice girl Olaia Higgins for the 100-meter dash.

Two of the Flyers’ relay teams won the Diocesan Championship this year. First was junior/senior girls 400-meter medley relay team consisting of Nina Allen and sisters Shauna and Rebecca Hurson. The second outdoor Diocesan champion relay team runners were junior/senior boys Johnny Ostling, John Boger and Owen Kelly for the 400-meter medley race.

In addition to the plaques and sweatshirts being awarded, special coaches’ awards were presented to outstanding runners during the season.

The Super Spirit trophies were given to novice girl Aileen Mitrarotonda and bantam boy Victor Ostling. The Terrific Teammate awards went to novice girl Olaia Higgins and junior boy Owen Kelly. The Excellent Effort trophies went to junior girl Lili Cathersal and novice boy Unai Higgins. The Fantastic Flyer awards went to senior girl Ainara Higgins and senior boy Johnny Ostling.

The award for most valuable runner went to senior girl Karolina Niepokoj.

The Flyers will be back for a new season on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the track at Juniper Valley Park.


Cyclists compete at Red Bull Mini Drome race in Maspeth

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy M&C Saatchi Sports and Entertainment

The fastest athletes on two wheels faced intense competition on a rare figure-eight mini velodrome racetrack in front of hundreds of spectators at the Red Bull Mini Drome Race held at 56-70 58th St. in Maspeth, on June 19.

Competitors raced around the track at the venue — a former dance hall that has been used as a creative art space for the past two decades — to test their speed, skills and tolerance for risk, as riders hit curves at a 45 degree angle on the rarely seen figure-eight track to see which athlete and team could post the fastest time.

The competition was divided into two sections: teams and Red Bull Mini Drome All-Stars, which mostly consisted of previous years’ competitors. The eight fastest teams competed in their own bracket and the All-Star race pitted 32 fixie (fixed-gear bike) professionals head-to-head.

In the individual competition, Red Bull Athlete and Florida fixie competitor Addison Zawada sped his way to the top and eked out a narrow victory over Bronx native Ryan Locascio by only .65 of a second.

“I’m really proud to have had a significant hand in building the unique figure-eight track this year,” Zawada said. “It really means the world for me to have also have won the competition.”

Local Bedford-Stuyvesant bike shop Deluxe Cycles, featuring riders Willis Johnson and Cooper Ray, won the team challenge in a tight race against New York City shop, Chari &Co.

“I was too young for the first and only figure-eight that I know of,” Johnson said. “To win this is perfect because I can pay homage to the original.”


Several BWG soccer teams bring home championships over Father’s Day weekend

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Blau Weiss Gottschee Soccer Club

It was a successful weekend for all of the Blau Weiss Gottschee (BWG) teams that took the pitch, with some teams capturing championships, while others fell just short.

The BWG U11 Girls took first place at the North Rockland Soccer Association Father’s Day Cup. To capture first place, the girls beat the North Rockland Rebels 2-1, Greenburgh United 7-0, Larchmont White Eagles 4-0 and tied against WSSL Red Bulls 0-0.

The BWG U15 Pre-Academy team won the Northeast Pre-Academy Championship with a 2-0 victory over PDA. The boys will now travel to the national tournament in July. The U12 team won the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) City Cup while playing in an older division. The U13 team lost their semifinal game against the Cedar Stars.

The BWG U13 Girls went undefeated in the Long Island Junior Soccer League to win the D3 championship and took second place in the CJSL City Cup.

The BWG 2000 Blue team won the Eastern New York Championship by beating GJOA in the finals 1-0.

On the academy side, the U14, U16 and U18 teams traveled to Indiana to play in the National United States Soccer Federation Academy playoffs against other MLS teams and academies from all over the country.

In the Super Y league, the BWG U12 team traveled to Pottersville, New Jersey, and won their first game of the season against FC New Jersey, 4-0.

The U13 Girls team failed to win their championship, as they lost in the city final. The Girls U9 Blue ended their season with a 6-2 win over Merrick. They finished in second place in their New York Club Soccer League division, with only one loss on the season.


Holy Cross player named to All-New York City hockey first team

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy the Hart family

A star member of the Holy Cross Knights hockey squad topped the list of honorees of MSG Varsity’s 2014-15 All-New York City hockey first team.

Sean Hart, a senior defenseman from the Catholic high school in Flushing, received the honors from the online network devoted to high school sports and activities in the tri-state area. He also earned the New York City Player of the Year Award from the high school sports coverage team.

This is the third consecutive year that Hart has been named to the All-New York City hockey first team, after accomplishing the feat in his sophomore and junior years at Holy Cross.

Hart led all defensemen in the Catholic High School Hockey League (CHSHL) ‘A’ Division with 10 goals and 13 assists, for 23 points this year — one reason he was awarded this honor. His shutdown defensive play also aided him in winning the Player of the Year Award.

“It’s great to win it,” Hart said. “It is a very prestigious award for me to win, but it wasn’t just because of me, it was because of my teammates, too.”

Hart was also named to the CHSHL ‘A’ Division All-Star Second Team this year. He has previously been named to the CHSHL All-Star First Team for the 2013-2014 campaign.

Hart was named the captain of the Holy Cross hockey team this year, being one of only a few seniors on the team. Being a captain for his team has “helped me be more mature,” Hart said.

“I can help them with my four years of experience and I can help them out and get them ready for their next four years,” he added.

Hart has been playing hockey since the age of 4 and has excelled at the sport ever since. He quickly joined youth hockey leagues in Long Island and his travel team, Long Island Edge, recently returned from nationals where they finished 1-1-1.

“It was a great experience,” Hart said of making it to the nationals. “It wasn’t as good of an outcome as we wanted, but it was a good trip with that team.”

As Hart leaves his high school hockey career behind, he has started looking toward the future.

“It was a good run for high school and travel. It was a great experience,” Hart said. “To be around those groups of kids, especially being the captain and being looked at as a leader was really fun.”

“I’m trying to keep my options open at this point,” Hart said of his future. “I might be interested in playing hockey at college. I would like to keep playing as long as I can.”


Red Bull Mini Drome race comes to Maspeth

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy M & C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

Competitive cyclists from all over the country will race to Maspeth on June 19 for this year’s Red Bull Mini Drome race.

The Red Bull Mini Drome race is an all-day racing competition for single-speed fixed gear cyclists where they can race against the clock and then against each other to see who can boast the fastest time at Project Studio, located at 56-70 58th St. in Maspeth, which is a former dance hall that has been used as a creative art space for the past 20 years.

This year’s race is set to be a special event because competitors will race around a rarely seen figure eight track. The figure eight track concept, which is known to only have existed a few times, one being the 1995 Toronto Cycle Messenger World Championships, involves more speed, extra precision and a bit of danger as cyclists take turn after turn without rest.

For this year’s race, Red Bull Mini Drome has taken the normal circular “velodrome” concept, which is usually located in arenas or outside, and shrunk it down to bring it inside.

Red Bull Mini Drome features the top cyclists from all five boroughs and across the country, including professional bike messengers, accomplished fixed gear competitors and Red Bull Athletes Austin Horse and Addison Zawada.

The racing event will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight and tickets are free for fans 21 and older and are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Cycling fans can RSVP here.


Team Duce finishes Bayside Little League regular season with a perfect record

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Team Duce

Team Duce capped off a perfect 12-0 Bayside Little League regular season with a 16-5 victory over its interleague rival, E4.

The player of the game, starting pitcher Charlie Blair, earned the win and raised his record to 11-0. Blair also delivered at the plate, as he went 4-4 with three singles, a double, five RBIs and four runs scored.

Tino Famiglietti came in to relieve Blair and pitched solid in the third inning. Famiglietti added a hit in the bottom of the frame to drive in a run.

Costa Bournias later relieved Famiglietti and struck out five of the six batters he faced. He also had two line drive singles.

Tanner Jacob Fried, who leads the league in batting average, on base percentage, home runs, RBIs and saves, went 3-3 with a home run, triple and single, driving in five runs and scoring four times. Fried came in to close out the game in the fifth inning and pitched two innings of perfect baseball, earning his 11th save of the year.

Derek McCreesh had two liners to right field for singles. He also scored two runs. Team Duce’s catcher, Bobby Fretwell, not only had a big put-out at the plate, he also lined a double and a single driving in a run. John Archbold got three huge hits and drove in two runs, both of which came with two outs. George Diamantopoulos went 3-3 with a pair of doubles.

Rafael Rufrano went 3-3 at the plate. Aris Catehis got on base all three times was he went to bat, driving in a run in the fourth inning. David Castracane got on base both times he was at bat, one of which was a shot up the middle in the second inning and scored two runs in the game.

Team Duce is now preparing for the playoffs, which begin on June 13 at Valle West in Crocheron Park in Bayside.


Whitestone’s defunct little league program gets new life

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Mets Sandlot Baseball League

The Mets Sandlot Baseball League, founded in the 1960s, was once an outlet for kids and young adults to continue playing past the summer months — but for almost two decades, it’s been inactive. Now, two coaches are helping to resurrect the league with a new generation of players.

In 2012, John Guarneri and Arthur Lagrega wanted to extend the Bayside Little League summer season into the fall. At that time there were no fall programs in Bayside and the fall programs from other local leagues were canceled. In response, they introduced the Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing (WBF) Baseball Program “where the players will not only play games, but also learn about the game and the proper way to play it,” Guarneri said.

By 2014, the WBF league had reached 133 registered players, enough for nine teams. The speedy growth of the program led the coaches to bring back the Mets Sandlot Baseball League.

After a successful 2014 campaign, the board members decided to start a new travel league, called New York City Elite (NYCE). Now, both the WBF Baseball Program and NYCE are incorporated under the Mets Sandlot Baseball League.

As the program keeps developing, its leaders look back to the league’s history. At its height, elite little league teams such as the Bayside Yankees, Flushing Tigers, Youth Service Bonnies, Whitestone Knights, Astoria Youth, Elmjack and Long Island Mets used to participate, and divisions ranged from 10 and up to 21 and up.

“Our vision is to improve the overall baseball talent in the Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing and surrounding areas,” Guarneri said. “We also look to give the players a positive experience that they will remember the rest of their lives and also learn many different life lessons that they will use throughout their life.”