Above from l: B. O'Donnell and Tyree Bastidas pose after their match.
Above: T. Bastidas shoots from the back in tough game against C. Sala.
Photos above: The L.I.O. had an audience of young and adult players, including fans, families and friends.
T. Bastidas became the youngest player to ever win all Major local open handball tournaments when he won the LIO, the only handball tournament title he needed it to complete his trophy collection.
Once again, he closes another circle, this time at the open level. The last time Bastidas had closed a circle was when he won the USHA national 1-, 3- and 4-wall championships at the junior level.
Bastidas closed the circle at the open level with the following tournaments:
Mayor’s Cup – 1-wall – Manhattan, NY.
Three-Wall Open Tournament – 3-wall – Jersey City, NJ.
Long Island Open – 4-wall – Long Island, NY.
From left: Tom Vitale and Tyree Bastidas pose for a memorable photo.
If you ever meet T. Vitale on the streets, you might think he is a boss of a Mafia family, but he is not, in fact, he has more Greek blood than Italian’s.
Currently, he plays in the 70+ division, where he discovered the game late for a man his age, but that didn’t stop him from playing and dominating his opponents at the 1-wall nationals.
Mr. Vitale is a fierce player on the court and is not afraid of the streets of New York, which got him in trouble with the law many years ago. Nowadays, Mr. Vitale is a role model citizen off the court with a take no prisoners attitude on the court.
He is a USHA Grand Master of the game with 14 titles and counting.
He has also contributed to Tyreebastidas.com with dozens of handball magazines to be used as reference in Tyree’s website. Thanks a ton.
The 40+singles match was a nail-breaking match that nobody expected.
Chris Hlavatovic vs Andy Rousseau.
In the men’s open we also had Cesar Sala vs Raul Retian.
In the women’s open singles (big ball) finals, we had Dori Ten, playing against Danielle Daskalakis.
The 17-and under boys saw rising star Sheikh Hossain vs Richard Hsu
Photos above: Players enjoy the hospitality while Sandy Ng and Chen play.
The LIO lived up to the hype and excitement that every year characterizes this tournament, while many people had wondered how Paul Williams had managed to run such a tournament for such a long period of time. He hasn’t.
According to P. Williams, two avid players of the game had run the tournament for twenty years and had grown old and tired to keep running it. Williams accepted the challenge and took control of the tournament and ever since then, the LIO had turned into an icon tourney in the Northeast, where the best players in North America have participated in it.
This year was not different as familiar faces of the game were present in the finals of the 4-wall LIO handball tournament.
It was a pack action weekend that brought young and adult spectators out to Long Island to watch the games.
Watch other video-clips of the LIO.
In the men’s open singles finals, we had T. Bastidas facing B. O'Donnell.
In the men’s open we had J. Bastidas vs Matthew Chu.
The B singles pitted two young college players, Jon Sese and Babalola Ajisafe.
The 40+ doubles match brought back team Tony Roberts/Dan Vera vs team Andy Rousseau/ Lee.
The 60+ doubles final was also full of action between team Schneider/Gottlieb vs team Doghten/Smeltz
The 50+ singles match between Dan Vera and Mike Angley was another exciting match that kept the audience roaring.
Above: Durso shows his canvas portrait surrounded by his handball cronies
Above. Exhibition match of Team Tyree Bastidas/Allan Sanchez vs Team Cesar Sala/Saul Gonzalez.
Above from left: Allan Sanchez poses next to Player of the year recipient "Pee-Wee" Castro.
Above: The audience listens as the ceremony goes on at the Elks Lodge.
What is the cost of an invitation to the Handball Dinner Awards at the Brooklyn – Queens Elks Lodge near Broadway? Priceless.
Just ask the lucky ones who got a ticket to the USHA’s exclusive event.
There they got to watch the best players of the game during exhibitions matches while chowing down the specially prepared food for this special occasion.
The stars were out early to play in the exhibition games as the “unofficial table of honor,” sat famous handball players such as: Charlie Danilczyk, Mark Levine, Dan Maroney Tom Vitale, Dan Flickstein and Graham Palmore.
The celebration nigh started with the following one-wall players of the year Awards:
Small Ball Male: Yuber "PeeWee" Castro
Small Ball Female: Sandy Ng
Small Ball Junior Male: Eric Lee
Small Ball Junior Female: Sweenly Liu
Big Ball Male: John "Rookie" Wright
Big Ball Female: Karen McConney
Big Ball Junior Male: Ralph Romano
Big Ball Junior Female: Amy Fung
Achievement Award: Dwight Worley
The show continued with the induction of Joe Durso into the Hall of Fame by Dan Flickstein. Flickstein’s induction speech and Dursos’ acceptance speech were video-recorded and posted in the internet by USHA Hall of Fame Albert Apuzzi for future generations to watch and learn from the best.
Joe Durso’s record makes him the best 1-wall (singles) player ever with nine open singles titles. Durso is also a USHA record-holder and considered by most people as one of the greatest 1-wall players to ever play the game.
Watch video (Part 1).......
Above: Tyree Bastidas went down momentarily during a match at Coney Island but kept the No 1 seed as he remained undefeated during the last 1-wall pro stop of the year, which was played indoors and outdoors. Photo by Scott Schilder.
Bastidas won the last pro-stop at the end of 2011 by mounting a late-game surge to surpass rival Joe Kaplan to remain atop the USHA One-Wall Pro Handball Rankings.
He is the youngest player to keep the No. 1 seed two consecutive years.
“There are very few players as good as him at his age out there winning tournaments,” Pat Lee said. “He doesn’t look like a guy who is going to burn out. He looks like he’s going to be here for a while.”
Bastidas got off to a slow start early in the game but managed to pick up steam even as Kaplan picked up his game at the end of the game.
In a twist of events, Bastidas ended up being the beneficiary of the collapse of Y. Castro against J. Kaplan. National champion Y. Castro had a clear opportunity to take down J. Kaplan in the semis and Bastidas in the final.
In the end, Tyree Bastidas won the HES pro stop with a performance worthy of the No. 1 player in handball.