WOODBRIDGE – Featuring the sort of offensive firepower that game spectators have come to expect, Team Vitale – organized by State Senator Joseph Vitale and the Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce – decimated their opponents, NJ 101.5, in an entertaining charity softball game to benefit Habitat for Humanity. The 14th Annual Habitat for Humanity Softball Game ended after four and a half innings, after the “mercy rule” was invoked, resulting in a Team Vitale win against 101.5, 42-4.
From the onset, Team Vitale came out swinging, scoring 11 runs in the first inning, and holding Team NJ 101.5 scoreless until the top of the third, when a barrage of singles led to the radio team’s only scoring runs. As if in reply, Team Vitale answered in the bottom of the third with an unprecedented 16 runs to put the game out of reach. After three innings, Team Vitale led by 28 runs.
Capitalizing on a tight defense and two double plays, the local team was able to extend its lead to 42-4 before the umpire put the 101.5 team out of their misery and called the game. In total, Team Vitale batters reached base successfully via 48 hits, including six doubles and two towering home runs.
Team Vitale veteran and second baseman Steve “Lopey” Lopez earned MVP honors with two singles, a double, and a three run-homerun. Team 101.5 FM chose Mike Harris as their “best of the worst” MVP of the evening.
The real winner of course was the Middlesex County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which received over $7,000 raised at the game.
Nina Rohrer the President of Middlesex County Habitat for Humanity, Inc. said “On behalf of the Middlesex County Habitat for Humanity, Inc., I would like to thank our founding member, Senator Vitale for his ongoing support. It is because of support like Senator Vitale’s that an organization like ours is able to successfully help economically disadvantaged families in Middlesex County that need safe housing.”
The crowd enjoyed a visit from Sparkee, the mascot for the Somerset Patriots. NJ 101.5 FM raffled off several sets of tickets to Broadway shows. Cliff Lacy, the Former Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services made a guest appearance as a pinch hitter for Team Vitale.
Vitale thanked the crowd and said, “I especially want to thank Ray Rossi and NJ 101.5 for partnering with me each year to pull this event off. If they didn’t look so bad, there’s no way we could have looked so good. All kidding aside, the Habitat for Humanity softball game has grown into a local institution, in which we can put politics aside for the evening and have some fun for a very good cause.”
Vitale added that his office is still accepting contributions for Habitat for Humanity. Donations to the “Middlesex County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity” can be mailed c/o the Office of Senator Joe Vitale, 569 Rahway Avenue, Woodbridge, NJ 07095.
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