Sports columnist Marc Maturo’s official column
Haverstraw all-stars enjoy ride to the finish
It was a great season, and a great season to celebrate despite two losses on Long Island in a bid for the state championship.
“They didn’t win the state (title), but they had a fantastic run. We were there (Long Island), we followed them there and it was fantastic,” enthused Debbie Siuta of New City, whose son Michael Siuta of Pomona is a member of the coaching staff for the Haverstraw Little League Junior All-Star team.
The all-stars were managed by J.J. Griffin, and Sean Wilson joined Siuta, a graduate of Albertus Magnus HS, on the staff.
The all-stars, comprised of students at Fieldstone Middle School and North Rockland High School, won the district and Section 4 championships before being tripped up at the state tournament.
Dottie said she did not miss a game, along with a group of 30-plus family and friends who supported the all-stars as they won a stretch of seven games in their continuing advance.
Dottie, of course, had more than a passing interest in the team, not only because of her son but because of her grandson, Ryan, a sophomore at North Rockland HS.
Young Siuta pitched six-plus innings and went 2 for 4 with three RBI to lead Haverstraw to the Section 4 championship, defeating White Plains 11-4. In support of their ace pitcher, Brandon Wilson went 4 for 5 with two RBI, and Felix Urena went 2 for 5 with two RBI.
“It was quite a feat,” continued Dottie, whose interest in the game dates back to when her husband, Gerry, managed the several-time champion Dodgers for 20-odd years in the New City Little League. (Not surprisingly, young Michael played for his dad.)
In the opener, Alex Henriquez allowed only one hit and struck out eight over six shutout innings to defeat Pine Bush 8-1 while Diego Espinal and Urena each had two hits and two RBI.
In a second-round win, Kenny Hoppe threw a no-hitter and struck out nine to stymie White Plains, 11-1. Henry Rodriguez added two hits and two RBI, and Ryan Eschbach and Joel Duran each had key RBI.
The semifinal victory went down to the wire with Haverstraw outlasting Red Hook 14-7 in eight innings after tying the score in the seventh with two outs and the bases empty. Urena sparked the victory with two hits and two RBI, Christian Duran had three RBI, and Trent Kirschkel scored two runs and added an RBI single.
Haverstraw had won the District 18 championship in majestic come-from-behind fashion against host Stony Point, 8-7, on Henriquez’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.
Trailing 6-0, Haverstraw battled back behind Wilson’s three doubles and three RBI, Henriquez’s three hits and three RBI, and Siuta’s two doubles and an RBI. Wilson and Gabe Canjura combined for three-plus innings in relief, allowing only one run.
“It was tense,” Dottie recalls. “Every game … my stomach just about held up. It was a great season.”
Haverstraw opened the district tournament by beating Congers 5-2.
Canjura earned the save for Hoppe, entering the game with the bases loaded and nobody out in the fifth and retiring nine straight batters. Christian Duran had two hits and two RBI, and Canjura added a two-run single.
A TOAST TO MODERN AUTO BODY
Last week, we requested readers to provide an opinion on the best softball team ever in Rockland County.
A quick, heartfelt response was offered by Christine O’Brien, the youngest and proud daughter of former Modern Auto Body player and Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame member Tom O’Brien.
Writing from the heart, Christine, aka “Pearl River,” said, and we quote: “I must tell you without wavering that Modern Auto Body was the best team in the league not only for the way they played and won but for the way they supported and continue to support each other and their families. My father (popularly known as ‘The Ambassador) was a pitcher and so many of my childhood memories revolve around the camaraderie of that team, and I still personally have close associations with many offspring of other players. How does one not feel pride in this team and the community which was so
proudly represented by men such as the Dawson brothers , Tom O’Brien Sr., Frank Mc Garvey, Lenny Schweizer and so many more men of integrity and true brotherhood.”
Christine added that Frank Dawson recently passed away, but his brother Albie is living in Florida. She also notes that the forerunner of Modern Auto Body was Reese beverage distributors, formerly housed on Route 304.
“Thanks for bringing back such wonderful memories of my childhood!” Christine concluded.
The thanks, Christine, go to you.
If anyone else interested in softball has any other nomination for the best team ever in the county, or other memories of MAB, please alert this writer.
DIANA DESIR and MEGHAN KING are preparing for their junior season on the College of New Rochelle women’s volleyball team.
Desir, of Spring Valley, and Clarkstown North HS alumna King, of New City, usually can be seen playing the outside hitter position for the Blue Angels, who went 11-14 last season.
The Blue Angels open competition on Aug. 30-31 at the Moravian College Tournament in Bethlehem, Pa., and then travel to Longmeadow, Mass., on Sept. 7 for a Quad hosted by the Bay Path College Wildcats.
Last season, King easily led the team in kills and digs with 175 and 192, respectively, while Desir had 94 digs and 24 kills.
LAURA CASTALDO, an outstanding basketball player at Clarkstown South HS, has verbally committed to The University of Maryland, Baltimore County on a full athletic scholarship.
KRISTEN McLAUGHLIN, a standout at Tappan Zee HS, has received a full scholarship to play basketball at Fairfield University.
DUFFMAN PANNELL has taken over the football team at Ramapo HS after helping to maintain enthusiasm for the entire sports program as the school’s athletic director, a role he has relinguished.
DAN BRECHBIEL homered and tripled and Billy Monahan homered, powering the Pearl River Saloon past Red Rock Café, 12-4, in the Rockland Senior (35-and-over) Softball League. Brechbiel was the winning pitcher, while Lynn Pinkson and Paul Kowalski each knocked in three runs. The Saloon also defeated the Gamecocks, 8-4, with Bruce Gebhardt tossing seven shutout innings. Brechbiel and Dennis Verboys each had three hits, while Ed Herdemian doubled and knocked in three runs.
THIS & THAT
THE ROCKLAND COUNTY Umpires Association Scholarship Fund is hosting its annual golf tournament on August 5 at Minisceongo Country Club in Pomona. A Shotgun start is set at 8:30 a.m., with a breakfast and BBQ included. The fee is $150 per golfer. For further information contact Eric Black at 845-721-9505.
THE 10th JERRY McGUIRE Memorial Golf Tournament is scheduled August 14 at Rotella Golf Course in Haverstraw, with a Shotgun start slated at 9:30 a.m. A breakfast is available at 8:30 a.m., with a BBQ planned at 2:30 p.m. Contact Sam McGuire at 201-529-8331.
SPECIAL THANKS TO TOM DOHERTY, a member of the Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame, who alerts us that legendary North Rockland HS football coach Ralph Cordisco is rehabilitating at the Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw. The nonagenarian is recovering from a fall that produced a concussion and broken collar bone. Anyone wishing to speak with Cordisco should call 845-786-6254. If all goes well, he should soon be heading “back home” to the Sunrise Assisted Living Facility in New City.
REGISTRATION CLOSES on August 11 for the 24th annual West Point Triathlon, which will be held on August 18 at Camp Buckner, West Point Military Reservation. The race consists of an 800- swim at Lake Popolopen, a 25km bike along route 293, and a challenging 5km run through Camp Buckner and Camp Natural Bridge. Access: http://beta.active.com/west-point-ny/triathlon/24th-annual-west-point-triathlon-2013-1147
THE BLOOMBERG Sports Business Summit will be held Sept. 10 at The Paley Center For Media in Manhattan. The program will cover stadium finance, broadcast rights, league strategy, and the politics behind bidding for a team. Confirmed speakers include: the UFC’s Lorenzo Fertitta, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Big East commissioner Val Ackerman, Monumental Sports head Ted Leonsis, MLS commissioner Don Garber, and incoming NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Details at http://www.bloomberglink.com/event/sports-2013/