RRA Rows Merrily and Successfully Along

The latest summer recreation and sports in the area

The summer Patch season will showcase the Recreation Notebook each Friday. The College Sports Notebook will resume in September. Please continue to forward items of interest to Marc Maturo at marcmaturo@aol.com.


The Nyack-based River Rowing Association (RRA) came away with two victories at the prestigious and highly competitive USRowing Masters National Championships on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, MA.

“That’s why we work hard!” exclaimed club officer Peter Klose in an email.

The RRA—already pointing to its fall season opening on August 27, and then the brutal 25k Hudson River Challenge on September 8—battled a field of more than 2,000 athletes competing in 199 events.

Thomas Chyla was in charge as the Nyack rowers won the Men’s Club C 4X final, clocking 03:35.48 to outdistance runner-up Virginia Boat Club, which came in well behind at 03:39.65.

Saratoga Springs High School/Saratoga Rowing Association placed third at 03:43.84 while Greater Lawrence Rowing took fourth in 04:04.67.

The race to the finish was much tighter in the Men’s Heavyweight C 8-plus final, with David Barclay and Co. edging Potomac Boat Club and Cambridge Boat Club. The RRA was timed in 03:08.35 while Potomac came in at 03:09.22 and Cambridge in 03:10.49.

The RRA’s youth program has also enjoyed a series of successful efforts, with several solid showings at the Club Nationals in Camden, NJ.

The club’s top girls quad finished fourth, narrowly missing the medal stand, but bounced back the following weekend with a silver medal in the J18 quad race at the Philly Youth Regatta, where a number of Nyack rowers medaled.

Among the highlights were first- and second-place finishes by the novice boys quad, and a victory by the novice girls quad.

Another key performance, noted Klose, was Tomi Petersen winning a third- place medal in the singles race, then jumping in and stroking one of the girls quads to a bronze medal in the J16 quad race.  

As for the fourth annual Hudson River Challenge, spectators are invited to the start at the Nyack Marina, just past the Tappan Zee Bridge, and to the finish at the Englewood Boat Basin, just before the George Washington Bridge.

Rowers can register at regattacentral.com.


Old southpaws never die, they just…

Ripping a page from the major-league book of extremely durable left-handed pitchers such as Jim Kaat, Tommy John, the late Warren Spahn, Jesse Orosco and most recently Jamie Moyer—all of whom pitching effectively into their 40’s—Suffern native C.J. Nitkowski, a mere lad at 39, is making his final push with the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Mets.

Nitkowski, who was turned down for a tryout by the Mets in the spring, has reinvented himself with a sidearm delivery following a stem cell treatment on an ailing elbow.

The former St. John’s University pitcher (three years), who is an alum of Don Bosco HS in Ramsey, NJ, Nitkowski had already put in 13 years with eight big-league clubs before joining manager and former World Champion Mets second baseman Wally Backman in Buffalo.

Wheeling and dealing in a style similar to that of Orosco’s, Nitkowski is attempting to revive a major-league career that ended in 2005 with the Washington Nationals. In six games for the Bisons, Nitkowski has allowed six hits, struck out five and walked two while pitching to a very-fine 1.62 ERA.

Most anyone in the game will tell you that a left-hander can stick around, and stick around and stick around, as long as he can somehow get the ball to the plate, in the strike zone or somewhere near it.

Nitkowski is hoping he can join the cast of southpaws who don’t die, but merely fade away.


Over and out

The Nyack Indians were game but unable to hold off top-seeded Wyckoff’s third-straight march to the New Jersey Amateur Baseball League title.

The Indians, who had advanced with a 9-5 win over East Rutherford, gave away too many unearned runs in a 9-6 loss to the Raiders in Game 1 of the championship set, then bowed 7-4 in Game 2, falling short despite a two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Mark Duncan had an RBI single in the first for Nyack in Game 2, and also had a clutch two-run single in the seventh.

Wyckoff broke a 1-1 deadlock in the sixth as a leadoff homer by Nick Benevuto sparked a four-run surge, and lifted the victor into the NABF Hackensack Regional.

In the opener, Benevuto and Mike Mordeci had RBI for Wyckoff before Nyack struck back on a solo homer by Joe Antenucci and a two-run shot by Mike St. John. Nyack’s Rich Baerga and Andrew Himmelfarb also drove in runs in the seventh. 

In the win over Rutherford, the Indians—managed by Nyack High alum Barry Simon of Valley Cottage—scored eight runs in the first two innings, and Mike Pasch turned in a strong seven-inning effort to pick up the win.

Baerga had a leadoff triple in the first, and then scored on a double by Himmelfarb, who went 3 for 4. Steve Maio added a three-run double in the second inning to help build the lead, and Sean Siegriest also added an RBI triple in the inning.  

Antenucci, of Emerson, NJ, Baerga, a resident of Pomona, and Maio, who hails from across the river in Thornwood, are three members of the St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team in Sparkill.


This and that

  • Registration for Dutchmen Flag Football, a non-contact endeavor for students entering third through eighth grades, is ongoing and open to students of all school districts. Play is scheduled on Saturdays from Sept. 8 through Nov. 3 at Cottage Lane Elementary in Blauvelt. To register call 845-323-9080. Practices are held one per week.
  • Gymnasts are now enrolling for fall and winter programs at Galaxy Gymnastics in Orangeburg (845-398-1000 or http://www.galaxy-gymnastics.com), and Tumble-bee Gymnastics in Nanuet (845-623-2553 or www.tumble-beegymnastics.com). Pre-school classes are offered at both facilities, among other programs.
  • CJ DiBenedetto and Aidan Gallagher, both of Nanuet, and Sam Bello of Blauvelt were key members on the N.J. Diamondbacks baseball team that captured the AABC 11 LL World Series in Arizona. AABC is considered an elite travel league that adheres to the rules of Major League Baseball, including stealing and leading. The Diamondbacks compiled an astounding record of 62-7 for the season, capped by a 30-3 mark in tournament competition. In the national tournament, DiBenedetto batted .777 with 10 RBI, Gallagher drove in five runs while batting .667, and Bello belted four homers with 15 RBI.
  • Tyler Bellia of New City, who didn’t see any action as a backup quarterback on the Rutgers University football team last season, switched to tight end during spring drills in preparation for his senior year with the Scarlet Knights. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder, a graduate of Paramus Catholic after spending three years at Clarkstown North HS, hopes to debut on Sept. 1 when Rutgers travels to New Orleans, LA, for a night game against Tulane (8 p.m., CBS SN). Rutgers hosts Howard University in its home opener on Sept. 8 at 3:30 p.m. at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, NJ. That game can be seen on SNY/ESPN3.
  • The Ivy Sports Symposium will be held at Columbia University in New York in November; they are looking for nominations from around the world of young professionals who are excelling in the business of sport who are under 30…nomination info and other details can be found here.
  • The NFL has partnered with Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz to host NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps this summer as part of the league’s year-round Hispanic outreach initiative, focused on offering youth opportunities to play and experience the game of football. The two-day, non-contact football camps will be hosted in six NFL markets: Houston, Miami, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Tampa Bay – with support from the local NFL team. Each site will welcome approximately 300 predominantly-Hispanic boys and girls ages 9-13 with little or no football experience from local youth organizations. Click here.
  • The Rockland Boulders, immersed in a battle for a berth in the Can-Am League postseason playoffs, are on a nine-game road trip that will cover more than 2,000 miles before returning home on August 24 to open a weekend series against the nearby New Jersey Jackals. The Boulders, however, hit the road again, traveling to Worcester (MA) for a four-game set against the Tornadoes on August 27-30, and then finish the regular season at Provident Bank Park in Pomona against the Class AA’s Lincoln (NE) SaltDogs from September 1-3. For information and tickets call 845-364-0009, visit the box office, or connect to www.rocklandboulders.com. Before leaving town, Boulders outfielder Ryan Scoma of San Carlos, CA, led his team to a 4-3 week against the top two teams in the standings and was named the Can-Am League’s hitter of the week. Scoma batted .370, going 10 for 27 over a seven-game span, adding a double, four home runs and 10 RBI.
  • Chris Chapman of the New York Athletic Club was selected for the U.S. national 7s team, after winning after winning the national 15s rugby title with Neil McMillian, also of the NYAC. The choice makes two out of three coaches from Pelham youth rugby on the national squad, as Toby L’Strange was named to the Eagles 15s team in the spring. “All we need now is a miracle and a time machine for me to get on the U.S. team,” kidded Matt Persanis, director of Pelham Youth Rugby.


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