Union County Student Athletes To Be Honored At Hot Stove Dinner

MOUNTAINSIDE — Student athletes from schools in Union County will be honored at the 77th Annual Hot Stove League Baseball Dinner on Sunday, Feb. 10, beginning at 1 p.m. at the L’Affaire Banquet Center, 1099 Route 22 East, in Mountainside.

Among the students to be honored for their athletic achievements are:

  • Chris Folinusz, catcher for Cranford High School (Class of 2013); selected 1st Team, All-State; and Union County Player of the Year (2012).
  • Khaseem Greene, a graduate of Elizabeth High School; All-American linebacker at Rutgers; Big East defensive player of the year (2011 and 2012).
  • Jenna Kulback, catcher for Gov. Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights (Class of 2012); guided team to second straight Union County Tournament championship.
  • James O’Rourke, a 1st Team, All-State centerfielder for Westfield High School (Class of 2012); now attending Gettysburg College.
  • Shannon Syciarz of Garwood, graduate of A.L. Johnson High School in Clark and The College of New Jersey; twice All-NJAC field hockey goaltender of the year.

The Union County Baseball Association also will induct three new members into the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame during the award ceremonies:

  • Bill Dolan, an All-State catcher at Rahway High School, an All-American at Monmouth University, and Rahway varsity baseball coach (1972 to 2000).
  • Jim Riccitelli, a shortstop, catcher and pitcher at Roselle Park High School and the first Kean player to sign a professional baseball contract (Baltimore Orioles, 1976).
  • George Virgilio, a second baseman at Elizabeth High School (1987-89); played in the Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos and Baltimore Orioles organizations.

“We’re delighted to honor so many deserving athletes from throughout Union County at this year’s Hot Stove Awards Dinner,” said Freeholder Chairman Linda Carter. “I hope that family members and friends of all the honorees will enjoy the Sunday afternoon ceremonies and support youth baseball in Union County.”

Marty Appel, the long-time Yankees historian and former director of public relations, will be the special guest speaker. Appel began his tenure with the Yankees handling fan mail for Mickey Mantle. He is the author of 18 books, including the New York Times bestseller, “Munson,” and “Pinstripe Empire” – the definitive history of the New York Yankees.

Tickets for the dinner are $40 each and can be purchased online by visiting www.ucba-nj.org or by downloading and mailing the table registration form to the Union County Baseball Association, Box 176, Fanwood, New Jersey 07023. Proceeds will help fund the Union County Summer Youth Baseball League for youngsters 8 to 15 years, and the Fall Teen League.

The dinner is sponsored by the Union County Baseball Association, in cooperation with the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal.

Since 1937, the Hot Stove League Dinner has been the primary fund-raising effort for the Union County Baseball Association’s summer and fall programs. Over the years, the awards dinner has honored many local and national baseball luminaries – including Phil Rizzuto of Hillside, Don Newcombe of Elizabeth, Joe Collins of Union, Jeff Torborg of Mountainside, Willie Wilson of Summit, Jake Wood of Elizabeth, and Elliott Maddox of Union.

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