Castro(Pee-wee) tries his best to win national title. A pair of tangled up feet made the difference. Photos by Keith Thode.
Bastidas played the championship match against an unusual player on August 7, Castro (Pee Wee). Castro became a gymnast and acrobat on the court that day. Bastidas tried in vain to derail Castro’s acrobatic show at the Coney Island handball courts. A pair of tangled up feet made the difference.
“It’s been a good year for Pee Wee,” defending national champion Tyree said.
“I have never seen Pee Wee try so hard. He really went all the way out of his way in this match.”
Castro spent most of his time on the court doing acrobatic moves, digging deep, stumbling, running, jumping and diving every time to retrieve every ball he thought he could possible return.
The final result was the captured of the most coveted USHA national title, where Castro became the new national champion for trying the hardest, and of course, for scoring 21 first. Congrats.
Kids, don’t try these dives and flips at your local Park unless you are playing for a national title.
From left: C. Sala, J. Bastidas, M. Schneider and J. Kaplan, playing in the semi-finals of the men's doubles during the Mayor's Cup. Team J. Bastidas/M. Schneider's victory put the team into a collision course against his brother's team, team T. Bastidas/V. Lopierre.
Two of the game’s best go at it during a scorching NYC summer day. If you want to get better at aceball, which is the smaller, denser, and faster version of the classic big blue, I highly recommend you watch videos of these guys from this and other tournaments. A few things you notice right off the bat is that these guys play smart. It’s not always about the killer from 20 feet back or the corner spike from center court. Deep serves, lobs, driving balls down the line, passing shots, and knowing when to take the killshot will separate you from the rest of the would-be kings of the court. Check the play at 10:40 for example. The volley starts off with a safe return from Tyree. Kaplan moves Tyree to his left to force an awkward return and then goes back to the right line. You want to keep your opponent moving, keep him guessing, make him take awkward shots. Tyree, however, reads Kaplan’s play and drills the ball right to his chest, making him take a somewhat haphazard half step to the left and giving a weak return. Tyree then makes a move for the corner kill, which Kaplan read. BUT, Tyree switched to a passing shot around his body at the moment he felt Kaplan go towards the corner. Which brings me to a closing point - court awareness. Keep tabs on your opponent’s movements, take a second to look back after a shot and try to predict where they’re going to go. It’s like any other sport, you learn with time to read situations and play accordingly.
Apuzzi Inducted into Hall of Fame
Above: Albert Apuzzi is shows off his new Hall of Fame jacket presented to him at the ICHA awards dinner on Oct. 2012.
Above: Albert Apuzzi with his wife Dori. “She was terrific and I am very thankful for everything she did,” said Apuzzi after the awards dinner.
Albert Apuzzi received his USHA HOF plaque and jacket at the 17th Annual ICHA Awards dinner at the Citrus Bar & Grill in New York. Oct. 20.
“The day was different, in a good way. My wife was terrific and I am very thankful for everything she did, said Apuzzi.
To top off the night the ICHA raffle drawing which sold 190 tickets at $I00.00 each had 3 winners Sid & Lenny Aconsky $5,000, Annie Huang $1,000 and John Duggan $500.
Joe Durso, Players of the Year and Grand Masters to be honored in NY.
Above: The Joe Durso Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, originally scheduled for Dec. 3, has been rescheduled for February 18. The induction will be held with the 2nd Annual USHA Player of the Year Awards Dinner in Elmhurst, NY.
Legendary one-waIler Joe Durso will be honored along with the 2011 Players of the Year at a dinner to commemorate his induction to the Handball Hall of Fame.
Durso and John Bike Jr. were elected as part of the 2012 class. Durso’s induction ceremony will be held at the Queensborough Elks Lodge on Sat. Feb.18, in conjunction with the annual Players of the Year awards. This year, the USHA Grand Masters who have earned their sweaters through one-wall play will also be recognized. For more information, contact Alethia Mendez: email@example.com
Bike will be inducted at Los Caballeros during the 2012 USHA 4-Wall Nationals Banquet on Thursday evening..
Durso’s been featured in Handball Magazine on numerous occasions, most recently Dan Flickstein’s profile in February, 2010. Mighty” Joe has also been recognized in numerous NY publications as well as Sports Illustrated, April 22, 1991.
The Players of the Year were chosen for their outstanding play over the entire 2011 season. Both big ball and small ball are players are named, including juniors. Pee Wee Castro earned the Men’s small ball and Rookie Wright was named as the big ball winner. Sandy Ng’s year earned her the women’s small ball and Karen McConney earned big ball honors. Juniors to be honored include Amy Fung, Sweeney Lee, Eric Lee and Ralph Romano.
Best of 2011: Robbie McCarthy Simple Green US Open Performance
Above: The online poll gave top honors Robbie McCarthy's run to win the Simple Green US Open Singles as the top performance in 2011. Pee-Wee Castro (pictured above against Satish), outlasting Tyree Bastidas for his second 1-Wall Open Singles title was second; while Sean Lenning winning his fourth National 3-Wall title in Toledo finished third. Photos by USHA
Court Shorts Trivia
Last week's Trivia: Who has the most USHA junior championships of all time (1-wall, 3-wall and 4-wall)?
Answer: Tyree Bastidas won the most USHA junior championships.
Once again, 1-wall was among the top honors in “the best handball moments of 2011” Castro’s winning at the 1-wall nationals in New York was voted second place after Robert McCarthy from Ireland took first place when he captured the U.S. Open of Handball in California.
Previously, one-wall had taken tops honors, when Bastidas ‘achievements were voted the best moment in 2009 and 2010.
The online poll conducted by the United States Handball Association by the end of the year, included 1-, 3-, and 4-wall events as well as big and small ball events.
With the rising popularity of 1-wall in the U.S. and Europe, 1-wall has been making big headlines ahead of the World Handball Championships in Ireland in October of 2012.
During the year, the WPH handball organization had promoted the biggest 1-wall handball tournament in the West, while the USHA, the governing body of the sport, had promoted the biggest 1-wall tournaments (small and big ball) in the East.
Photo by Canarsie Courier
The top handball players from both coasts and overseas recently competed for the prestigious USHA Pro 1-Wall Doubles presented by WPH and the SkyBounce International at the Hebrew Educational Society (HES).
The tournament consisted of the small ball and the big ball championships. The men’s small ball event featured top seeded and four-time HES champions “Lefty Willie” Polanco and Yuber “Pee Wee” Castro, in addition to many other returning national champions and international legends of handball.
Once again, Polanco and Castro cruised through the tournament to defend their title.
Jessica Lopez and Theresa McCourt defeated Barbara Jackson and Dori Ten to claim the women’s championship.
In the men’s and women’s big ball matches, the players competed not only for their teams, but their countries. Team U.S.A., Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Ecuador played each other on the men’s side. Team Puerto Rico defeated Team Dominican Republic in the finals.
Women’s teams from the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy and China faced each other, with the championship title going to Team Puerto Rico.
Combining both parts of the tournament, the men and women players from the U.S. and across the globe created an incredible energy and electricity during the March 20th contests. Players and fans were lucky enough to watch the top handball players in the world compete for themselves, their teams, and their countries.
HES Athletic Director Vlad Frenkel and Albert Apuzzi, the tournament director, organized the competition.
For more information, contact Vlad Frenkel at 1- 718-241-3000 or Vlad@thehes.org.
From left: Brothers Tyree and Jurell Bastidas play in the final of the NYSHOF Championships. Charlie Shanks is expected to challenge both brothers at Fishkill.
Handball: Armagh star sets International goals
05 October 2011
Armagh's Charlie Shanks will play in his first US Pro Stop this weekend in the USA since the 28 year old Lurgan born player moved to New York City last month.
Shanks has steadily climbed to the number 2 position in the Irish rankings in recent years, having advanced to his second successive GAA Handball All-Ireland senior final last May. The Armagh man faltered at the hands of World and Irish number 1, Cavan's Paul Brady at the final hurdle on both occasions.
With an intense training regime, including with the Sports Institute Elite Athletes Programme, combined with regular competitive action on the US circuit against some of the world's best athletes this term, Shanks will once again be a serious challenger for all the major titles in 2012.
The Ulster man has enjoyed considerable success in his career to date, having scooped All-Ireland wins at minor and intermediate grades in the 40x20 and he has been the most dominant Irish performer in the one wall code. He has also enjoyed his fair share of success on the international stage, which includes the US Collegiate title when representing Queen's University in Minneapolis in 2005.
He will now play his handball out of the New York Athletic club in Midtown Manhattan, which is also home to some of the top US players, including Mike Schneider, Billy O'Donnell and Tyree Bastidas.
Shanks will join fellow Irish players, Westmeath's Robbie McCarthy and Cavan duo, Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan at the Los Caballeros Sports Village in Fountain Valley, California later this month for the Simple Green US Open of Handball.
Firstly, the talented Orchard County star will hope to come out on top of a gifted field at the 'Jake Plummer Family Handball Bash' and the 'WPH Race 4 Eight Stop Number 1' this weekend in Idaho.
Some Irish fans may not be aware that Jake Plummer is a former American football quarterback who played with the Arizona Cardinals (1997-2002) and the Denver Broncos (2003-2006) who is now a dedicated handball player and fan.
Household names within the handball fraternity, including Dave Chapman, Naty Alvarado, Sean Lenning, Allan Garner and Luis Moreno alongside Mayo's Dessie Keegan and Shanks will compete in the event. Local fans can watch all the action live in high definition on the webcast at www.race4eight.com. "I'm now about a 10 minute commute to lower Manhattan and about 35 minutes to the NYAC, where I can play and get many great games with the likes of Mike Schneider, Billy O'Donnell and Tyree Bastidas who all play at the club," said a buoyant Shanks.
"I'm going to the 'WPH Plummer Event' on Thursday in Idaho and then two weeks later I'm travelling to the 'US Open' in LA. After that, there's the 'WPH Yes-2-Kids Pro Stop' in Tucson, Arizona so I will have plenty of competition until the middle of November."
A busy schedule may see Shanks, who won the opening 40x20 event in the Irish calendar twelve months ago, return to defend his title at the Golden Gloves in Belfast at the end of the month.
"I'm looking forward to playing in all the tournaments out here and I will get to see a lot of different cities in the States. I might even make it back for the Golden Gloves at the end of October to defend my title."
Shanks, along with every key player in world handball will have his key focus on the World Championships, to be held at the Citywest International Convention Arena in October, 2012. With the countdown now just twelve months away, Shanks is already looking forward to the action. "I've been reading about the worlds being held at the Citywest in Dublin. It looks like it is going to be a unique setup and I'm really looking forward to it. Fair play to GAA Handball for setting this fantastic event in place. It will do wonders for the game in Ireland and worldwide."
Shanks is sure to advance his skills set and experience with more regular competitive action on the USA Handball circuit over the next year and ultimately rise into the higher echelons of the USHA Rankings from his current number 9 spot.