CLARK — On Wednesday, May 16, members of the Arthur L. Johnson Softball team, led by Head Coach Michael Mancino, organized and held the inaugural “Home Runs for Nicole” fundraiser, which aids the Nicole Marzano Scholarship Fund that will be presented to students at Arthur L. Johnson High School each year.
Mancino organized and ran the entire event, and said, “The Johnson softball team was proud and honored to host ‘Home Runs for Nicole’ to benefit the Nicole Marzano Scholarship Fund. All involved were treated to a fun night and the event was a real tribute to one of ALJ’s finest alumni — Nicole Marzano.”
The fundraiser took the form of a traditional home run contest, in which various teams tried to hit home runs, with the top two teams advancing to the finals. The four teams that were involved in the challenge were the Arthur L. Johnson Faculty and Administration, the Johnson Softball Alumni team, and this year’s Crusader Baseball and Softball teams.
The finals came down to the Arthur L. Johnson Faculty and Administration facing the Crusader Softball team, and the Lady Crusaders defeated the faculty in an exciting exhibition of home run power. Although the Crusader Softball team was victorious, the highlight of the night may have been ALJ Principal Rick Delmonaco, and his towering home run blasts. Delmonaco hit at least five lengthy homeruns, easily the farthest hit balls of the night, as he and the faculty put up a valiant fight.
More significant than the winners was the tremendous showing of unity as a community gathered to remember and pay tribute to Nicole Marzano and her family, in addition to honoring her memory with the Nicole Marzano Scholarship Fund, which will be given out each year to a deserving student.
Marzano, who graduated from Arthur L. Johnson High School in 2011 as the salutatorian, was killed in a car accident while returning from a University of Delaware club soccer game last fall
“My hat is off to both Coach Mancino and the Lady Crusaders Softball team,” said Gus Kalikas, Supervisor of Athletics, Health, and Physical Education at Arthur L. Johnson High School. “Although they continue to have a great season on the field, making the UCIAC Semifinals, qualifying for the NJSIAA State Tournament, and vying for their second straight Divisional Championship, by far their greatest accomplishment this year was putting together this wonderful event in honor of Nicole Marzano. Once again, I am extremely proud of Crusader Athletics and what they do for the community, and am grateful that the Crusader Softball team can contribute to a wonderful cause by donating to the Nicole Marzano Scholarship Fund.”
(Photos courtesy of Clark Public Schools)