goleader.com - Union County, NJ Newspapers

THREE SHINING STARS…The Westfield White 9-year-old traveling team had three players selected to appear in the North Jersey All-Star game which was played in Chatham on July 15. The boys were on the winning National League team. From left; Tommy Layton, Tommy Ricciuti and David Weinstein.


Checchio’s Calls Gamblers’ Bluff With a 16-7 Trumping


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

It was all in the cards, and the luck of the draw shifted drastically as Checchio Chiropractic took what seemed to be the losing hand and shuffled themselves the winning Full House against the Gamblers in the third game of a best-of-five series of the Westfield Men’s Softball League at Tamaques Park in Westfield on July 30.

Having lost the first two games, 10-2 on July 27 and 3-2 on July 28, Checchio’s backs were about to crack, and after the top of the third inning, it appeared that the Gamblers had stacked the deck, holding three aces and leading 7-0.

The Gamblers drew the ace of spades in the top of the first as they had several Checchio fielders diving onto the turf in attempts to dig up the Gamblers’ hits. Joe Dasti poked a short fly which forced Checchio left fielder Dave Buckwald to make an unsuccessful sliding attempt to catch the ball. Rich Chaparro hopped a single past third which had Joe Walsh diving after it as Dasti sped around to score.

Frank Malta stepped to the plate an lined a single to right past the outstretched arms of first baseman Joe Fischetti while Chaparro scored, then Terry Hanratty dribbled an infield single to short which sent Brian Chapman to the turf as he smothered the ball.

The ace of clubs was scooped up by the Gamblers in the second inning as Chaparro thumped a crashing blow to deep, deep left to clear the bases, allowing Danny Mondelli, Dasti and himself to score.

With the score 5-0, the Gamblers snatched the ace of diamonds as it appeared that they could pick and choose anyplace on the field and find a hole in the Checchio defense. Hanratty drilled a single in the hole between short and second base, then Brian Countryman bounced a controversial fair-ball double over the bag at third. Billy Perez smashed a sacrifice fly to deep right-center to bring home Hanratty, but a misdirected throw to home allowed Countryman to score.

It seemed as if the Gamblers were going to sweep the pot in three games; however, the Checchio players were not about to lose heart and had no intentions of folding their hand. In the bottom of the third, Fischetti wiggled a single to left, Nancy Jogis drew a walk and Dondi Chambliss lashed a double to center, driving in Fischetti.

Jeff Kole stepped to the plate and looped a single to right, sending Jogis and Chambliss around to score. Kole also darted to third as the ball got by the right fielder. Chapman brought home Kole with a bouncing single to left, narrowing the score to 7-4.

Checchio’s squeezed a little harder in the fourth, adding another run. Buckwald tapped a single to left, Walsh walked, then Pat Brady sliced a grounder through the legs of the second baseman. Buckwald scored and Walsh was waived around third as the ball was thrown perfectly to the plate in time to get the face-sliding Walsh.

Checchio’s finally cracked into the lead, 8-7, by scoring three runs in the fifth. Chambliss slammed his second double of the evening with a lined shot down the third base line, Dave Yatcilla grounded a single up-the-middle and Kole punched a single to right, bringing home Chambliss.

Chapman skid a single through short to drive in Yatcilla, then Jack Failla hooked a single to left, loading the bases for Buckwald who ricocheted a single soundly off the pitcher’s leg to drive in Kole.

Stunned by the Checchio Chiropractic comeback, the Gamblers were unable to keep their poker face and, in the bottom of the sixth inning, their house of cards came crumbling down. The Checchio players revealed their full-house as they consistently kept the bases full, sending a complete suit of 13 batters to the plate and amassing eight runs.

Fiscetti walked, Jogis neatly placed a single between short and third and Chambliss arced a single over second to load the bases for Yatcilla who grounded into a force play at home. Kole and Chapman both walked to give Jogis and Chambliss wildcards to safely trot home, then Failla hit a grounder to the second baseman who tried unsuccessfully to force out Yatcilla at home.

Buckwald drew a walk to give Kole a free ticket home, Walsh hit into a fielder’s choice which forced Chapman out at home for the second out, Brady walked to bring home Failla, then Fischetti ripped a single off the glove of the shortstop to drive in Buckwald. With the bases still loaded, Jogis spinned a grounder which hit third base and the third baseman’s glove at the same time and popped out of reach as Walsh and Brady scored making the score 16-7.

Although Checchio’s came through with a big hand this time, the Gamblers held the winning hand in the final game contested on July 31, winning 6-5 to take the series, 3-1, and advanced to the finals to play for the championship against either the Mattress Factory or Greco Steam Cleaning who evened the series, 2-2, on July 31 with a 6-2 victory.

Gamblers 232 000 0 07

Checchio’s 004 138 x 16


(Regular Season Final)


Checchio Chiropractic 15 6

Greco Steam Cleaning 15 6

Mattress Factory 14 7

Gamblers 14 7

Jolly Trolley 10 11

Nuclear Chickens 9 12

Black Crackers 5 16

Crossroads 5 16

Hunter Shoots Down Shady Lane to Playoff


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times


One playoff berth position was yet to be decided in the Fanwood Old Men’s Softball Association and it came down to a head-to-head confrontation between Hunter Avenue and Shady Lane on July 31 at La Grande Park in Fanwood.

Both teams were ready to play and John Chalankeril led off for Shady Lane with a curling infield single between the pitcher and the third base line. Pete Salovitch drew a walk, Al Betau ripped a shot to left which was caught on the run by Mike Ewing, then Hal Breuninger slashed a single to left which convinced Chalankeril to attempt to score; however, a strong, accurate throw fromMike Ewing nailed him at the plate. Matt Brown lined a single to center to bring home Salovitch and Breuninger.

Down 2-0 Hunter fired back in the bottom of the first. Mike Ewing slapped a single, Paul Ewing outfoxed the defense with a slyly confusing infield dribbler, then Todd Kylish thumped a single to right-center which brought home Mike Ewing, but was thrown out as he slid into second.

Phil Wein singled home Paul Ewing and Lou Danielle cracked a single to left. Dave Roth hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out and John Walsh grounded to short to end the inning.

Hunter Avenue scored four runs to take a 6-2 lead in a zany third inning. Mike Ewing drilled a low liner to center, Paul Ewing chopped an infield single just out of step of a foot-stomp behind second base, Kylish grounded to third to force out Mike Ewing, then Wein glided a single by first to score Paul Ewing.

Danielle set the stage for the zaniness as he rapped a single over second to drive in Kylish but was caught in a rundown between the second baseman and nobody. Danielle headed back to first as the second baseman threw the ball to nobody, allowing Wein to score. The circus was not over yet, Roth hit a grounder to the second baseman who flicked the ball to second and the ball bounced off Danielle’s back and deflected into the glove of the shortstop for the second out. When things settled down, John Walsh slammed a double off the screen in left to bring home the fourth run of the inning.

Shady Lane got back on the path in the fourth when Brown looped a single down the right field line and stole second, Joe Viviano poked a single to drive in Brown and moved to second on the throw to home, then Kevin Maloney bounced a double off the bottom edge of the screen, scoring Viviano and narrowing the score to 6-4.

Shady Lane tied the score in the fifth. Chalankeril laid down a perfect bunt and advanced to third after the throw sailed over the first baseman’s head. Salovitch placed a single by second to send home Chalankeril, then was later thrown out attempting to steal second. Breuninger stepped up and hammered a home run over the left field screen. After Brown slapped his third single of the evening, Dave Landis flew out to center.

The Hunter team got on target in the sixth as they shelled out three runs. Danielle banged his third single of the evening, Walsh drew a base-on-balls. Frank Cuccaro hooked a double which rolled out of play down the first base line to bring in Danielle. Kevin Ewing punched a single to center to drive in Walsh who was followed by Cuccaro who scored on a misdirected throw. The inning ended when Shady Lane pulled off an alert second-to-first-to-home double play.

Hunter Avenue held Shady Lane in the seventh to win 9-6 and occupied the sixth playoff spot. On August 7, Hunter Avenue played the sixth-seeded team in the first round of the playoffs.

Shady Lane 200 220 0 06

Hunter Avenue 204 003 x 09


(As of July 31)

* Qualified for playoffs


*Montrose Avenue 11 4

*Russell Road 10 5

*Willoughby Road 10 5

*Sun Valley 8 7

*Poplar Place 7 8

*Hunter Avenue 6 10

Shady Lane 5 11

Marian Avenue 4 10

St. Michael Protects A 9-4 Lead Over St. Pat


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

St. Michael jumped out to an 9-4 lead after four innings and used its strong defense to preserve the victory over St. Patricks in a St. Bartholomew’s Oldtimers Softball League game at Forest Road Park in Fanwood on July 29.

St. Patrick, sponsored by Family Investors in Fanwood, was the first to score when Mike Camfield walked, then was thrown out at second as John Chupko reached on a fielder’s choice. Brian Williams slashed a double to right-center, putting runners in scoring position, Bob Reick bopped a sacrifice fly to left to drive in Chupko.

Down 1-0, with two out in the bottom of the first, Gerry Reipe of St. Michael, sponsored by Pace Scrap Metal, bounced a single to center, Chris Reimer dribbled a single past short, then Stan Lesniewski lined a single to left to bring home Reipe and tie the score.

A streak of luck came for St. Patrick in the second inning. Bob Mallon reached base safely on a sharp grounder to third, Pat Luongo drew a walk, then Pete Chemidlin drilled a triple through the gap in right-center allowing Mallon and Luongo to score. Brian Cheney bounced the ball to the right side of the infield as Chemidlin scored to give St. Patrick a 4-1 lead.

St. Michael got some luck of its own with two runs in the second. Bill Lawrence walked and Tony Blasi whacked a single past the center fielder allowing the runners to advance. Nick Troiano hopped the ball to the second baseman who mishandled it while both runners alertly came home, narrowing the score to 4-3.

From the third inning on, the luck of St. Patrick had run out as Blasi, the St. Michael pitcher, tightened up and silenced the St. Patrick guns. Only Chupko was able to hook a single to right in the third, Frank Del Re was able to scribble a single past third in the fifth and Ron Del Prete thudded a 10-foot infield single in the sixth

St. Michael seized any remaining wisp of luck from St. Patrick in the fourth inning by grabbing a windfall, six runs. Stan Grausso launched a triple over the head of the center fielder and scored when Lawrence reached on a fielder’s choice. Mike Michalsin looped a single out of the reach of the first baseman and Jeff Friedlander drew a walk to load the bases.

Troiano stepped to the plate and bashed a two-run single to center and advanced to second on the throw, then Tom Swales slapped a single to short-center to bring home Friedlander. Reipe brought Troiano and Swales home with a double, bringing the score to 9-4.

Both teams displayed some fine fielding plays. Williams of St. Patrick made several, including a fine catch of a pop-up from Joe Romash in the second inning. First baseman Bob Mallon of St. Patrick made a great snag of a grounder hit in the hole between first and second and alertly flicked the ball to second for the force out. Troiano of St. Michael successfully pulled down several fly balls including a running grab he made to rob Reick of a hit in the seventh inning.


St. Patrick 130 000 0 04

St. Michael 120 600 0 09


(As of July 29)



St. Joseph 12 4

St. Paul 7 6

St. Patrick 7 9

St. Peter 6 8

St. Anne 4 10



St. Thomas 12 2

St. Michael 8 7

St. Jude 7 7

St. Louis 7 8

St. Lawrence 3 12

Sour Grapes Squeeze Orange to a Pulp, 19-5


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

Eric Berger, Lowell Weiner and John Yannuzzi stomped out three RBI apiece as the JCC Sour Grapes pounced the JCC Orange, 19-5, in the Jewish Community Center (JCC) League softball action on August 3 at Farley Field in Scotch Plains.

Things started sweetly for the Orange team as it held a 1-0 lead after two innings of play. Brian Shlissel led off the first by lining a double down the third base line, Scott Mack flied to center as Shlissel tagged up and moved to third and Ira Riesenberg brought Shlissel home with a sacrifice fly to left.

The wrath of the Grapes emerged with a 10-run outburst in the third. Dan Shinderman started the flow of grapeness by bashing a triple down the left field line, then scored on a throwing error. Jim Kerstein and Todd Schechter each bumped singles to center and Jason Berger loaded the bases on a grounder to second.

Weiner stepped to the plate and creamed a two-run double to center, Jim Airey followed with an RBI single to center, Erik Berger drilled an RBI double down the left field line, Yannuzzi lashed an RBI double to center, Jim Baumgartner bopped a fly to right which eventually allowed Erik Berger and Yannuzzi to score, then Chic Kaplan put the topping on the 10-run crush by launching a two-run homer to deep center.

The Orange managed to put enough juice together to squeeze two runs in the fourth. Mack deflected the ball off the first baseman’s glove, Riesenberg punched a single to center, then Schechter of the Grapes soured the hopes of the Orange by making one of his several amazing catches by snagging a long foul ball hit to left by David Kadish. Dave Sanders looped a single to center while Mack and Riesenberg scored.

Kerstein ripped a single to left in the fourth, Rick Wolf slashed a double to left-center to bring home Kerstein, then Schechter sailed a long sacrifice to center to drive in Wolf as the Sour Graped upped its lead to 12-3.

The Sour Grapes spewed four more runs upon the Orange in the fifth. Weiner reached on an error, Airey poked a single to center, then Erik Berger hammered a two-RBI triple to left. Yannuzzi hit an RBI single up-the-middle and scored on Darren Drapkin’s fielder’s choice. The inning ended when Jon Applebaum and Shinderman both flied out to left field.

In the sixth, Jeff Marx looped a single to right, Mack dribbled an infield single which sent the second baseman diveing to the dirt, Riesenberg reached on a force play, and Kadish tapped a single to right, loading the bases. Sanders whacked a two-RBI double up the middle to bring the score to 16-5.

The Grapes added two runs in the sixth when Wolf arced a single to center, Jason Berger reached safely as Wolf scored on an off-course throw to home, then Weiner rapped an RBI single past third.

The Orange threatened in the seventh. Ed Bartosik tomahawked a single to center and Andy Novick placed a single past short. After Norm Gruenberg reached on a force play, Marx blasted a shot to deep right; however, the speedy Schechter, now playing right for the Grapes, ran under the ball with his back turned and made a circus catch to retire the side.

The final Sour Grape run of the occurred when Erik Berger slammed a double to center and scored on a sacrifice fly by Yannuzzi. The 19-5 victory improved the Sour Grapes record to 8-5 while the loss slipped the Orange to 4-7-1.

JCC Orange 100 202 00 12

JCC Sour Grapes 00(10) 242 1x 05


(As of July 28)


Congregation Beth Israel. 9 1 1

Marauders 10 2 0

Old Stars 9 3 0

Sour Grapes 8 5 0

Orange 4 7 1

White 4 7 0

Temple Emanu-El 1 10 0

Club 40 0 12 0


In the article of the JCC Softball League game between the Old Stars and the Marauders on July 27, Old Stars player Ron Brachman’s name was inadvertently misspelled as Branchman. Also in an article about the JCC Sour Grapes and the JCC Club 40, Jon Applebaum’s name was misspelled as John. (Sorry about that Ron!).


Under-23 Womens’ Soccer/Hertell

Central Jersey Stars Win Women’s State Soccer Title



Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times


The Central Jersey Stars under-23 women’s soccer team defeated Hillsborough United, 3-2, to clinch its second straight New Jersey State Championship. The Stars avenged an earlier season setback to Hillsborough.

The Central Jersey Stars wrapped up its regular season against Somerset Hills at Houlihan Field in Westfield on August 5. The Stars are coached by Keith Hertell of Westfield.

An All Star team comprised of four representatives from the Central Jersey Stars and three representatives from each of the remaining teams in the league will challenge the New Jersey Wildcats women’s professional soccer team at Mercer County Park at 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 10.

Hertell will coach the All Star team and recent Westfield High School Hall of Fame inductee Chrissy Jeremiah will be the player-coach of the New Jersey Wildcats. The four representatives for the Central Jersey Stars are: former Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School standouts Ann Keegan and Natasha Vasavada, former Union Catholic Regional High School standout Yvette Broderick and former West Morris High School standout Meghan Millar.

Jackie DeLaFuente Qualifies for Eastern Zones Swimming Championships


Copyright 1997
TheWestfield Leader.
All rights reserved
Send your comments or articles to:
Westfield Leader Email


[ Return to the Front Page ]