WOODBRIDGE—The 12th Annual Habitat for Humanity Softball game lived up to the hype. Both high-octane offenses were in full swing, but ultimately Team Vitale prevailed 31 to 21 over the NJ 101.5 Jersey Guys’ team.
The game was played on Thursday, Aug. 20, under the lights of Warren Park before a sellout crowd to benefit the Middlesex County Habitat for Humanity local chapter.
Prior to the first pitch, funnyman Ray Rossi promised that this year things would be very different. Rossi’s comments come after years of Team Vitale domination. According to Rossi, this year’s NJ 101.5 FM line up was much more talented and up to the task. Rossi’s challenge proved prophetic with both teams belting a total of 62 hits, nine of which were homeruns, to score a total of 52 runs. However Team Vitale once again stood strong throughout.
Team Vitale, playing as the home team, jumped off to terrific 6-0 start and never looked back. In the top of the second, the 101.5 Jersey Guys cut the lead in half with three runs of their own. The bottom half of the second featured more of the same with Team Vitale exploding for a demoralizing 10 additional runs to take a commanding 16-3 lead.
Both teams provided robust offense in the third—scoring 3 and 5 runs respectively. Team Vitale displayed superb defense in the top of the fourth and followed in the bottom frame with another eight runs. Both Scott Durkin and Farland aka “The Unit” capped the inning with towering homeruns to put the game out of reach.
Despite the 23 run deficit, NJ 101.5 rallied in the 5th and 6th innings—scoring 10 and 5 runs in consecutive innings. Jesse “The Pirate” led the charge with a three-run blast to straight-away center. Could the NJ 101.5 Jersey Guys mustard one last rally? No! In the end, Team Vitale’s ten run cushion was too much to overcome. Erasing any hope of a comeback, Team Vitale closed out the seventh and final inning with stellar defense.
While names like Ray Rossi and Casey Bartholomew aka “The Jersey Guys” headlined the NJ 101.5 FM team, it was Jesse “The Pirate’s” performance that stole the show. Jesse instantly garnered fanfare by donning pirate-esque pants only worn on Halloween. Pants aside, Jesse quickly proved he had major talent. Jesse takes home co-Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors after batting 3 for 3 with two thunderous homeruns and a single.
Additionally, Jesse played outstanding defense at shortstop.
Team Vitale had no shortage of MVP contenders; however, it was Farland aka “The Unit” that ultimately prevailed. Farland finished the night 4 for 5 with two homeruns, a double, and a single. Honorable Mention goes to Team Vitale second baseman Steve “Lopey” Lopez who hit for an impressive 5 for 5 with four singles and a double.
Like any charity event, it the charity—Habitat for Humanity—that was the real winner. This year Team Vitale collected over $5,000 in charitable donations. Vitale thanked all those who participated in the fundraising efforts.
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