From left: M. Schneider, T. Bastidas, C. Sala and S. Gonzalez.
Photo by Albert Apuzzi.
The 1-wall outdoor handball season took off under clear skies at the Coney Island handball courts on April 14.
Tyree Bastidas was declared the winner of the first 1-wall open singles when he defeated national champion Cesar Sala in a thrilling final.
Tournament Director, Albert Apuzzi used the USHA One-wall handball rankings to seed the players as close to half a dozen national champions wanted a piece of the prize money.
National champions Tyree Bastidas and Cesar Sala were seeded No 1 and No 2 respectively, but Bastidas’s side of the bracket seemed loaded with more national champions.
On the court, both players reached the championship game and battled to the end with no excuses or arguments, but off the court people rushed to suggest that Cesar has only lost because he hasn’t really practiced 1-wall with the small ball.
If indeed, handball fans were right, then the final game was a fair game as Tyree hasn’t been practicing 1-wall small ball neither as it has been reported in his website. 1-wall big ball is the game that Tyree has been practicing throughout the winter as he is clearly shown in pictures during the last couple of months.
From left. Billy O' Donnell (champion) and Andy Schad.
Andy Schad, a 4-wall handball player from the pro-tour of the 90s has come back to the game after serving in the army for almost a decade. He has been stationed with his unit in Manta, Ecuador for the past four years.
A. Schad admitted that he has been able to keep in shape while serving in the army and it has always been his dream to come back and play the game that he always loved and enjoyed.
Mr. Schad, a resident of Virginia, traveled to the tournament accompanied by his daughter with the hopes of winning the tournament for the first time. “I have never won this tournament before. I hope to win it this time” said Andy.
He was ranked No. 11 when he was playing in the pro-tour and is still a threat to anyone on the court. He just came off from playing in the USHA National Masters Doubles in Atlanta, Georgia where he won his division.
Congratulations and welcome back to the game.
Recent winners of the men's open (singles):
2004 – Kendell Lewis
2005 - Kendell Lewis
2006 – Fred Torres
2007 – Raul Retian
2008 – Andy Rousseau
2009 – Tyree Bastidas
2010 – Tyree Bastidas
2011 – William O’Donnell
2012 – William O’Donnell
Above: Donald Cote, the financial architect of team Bastidas' handball road tour poses with Tyree Bastidas during a 4-wall tourney in New England in 2008.
Donald Cote, a Canadian handball Hall of Fame contributor in the Canadian National Association “C.N.A.” has been watching Team Bastidas in action for a few years and always wanted to invite them to Canada. One day, during a handball tournament in New England. Mr. Cote posed for our cameras and had promised Team Bastidas to sponsor it to bring it to Quebec “In a few years I’m going to make sure you come to Quebec to play and promote 1- and 4-wall” said Cote.
This year, the Canadian national is being held in Montreal and Donal Cote had taken advantage of the opportunity to make early arrangements in Quebec City for team Bastidas’ stay while they perform the handball exhibitions in his hometown. Mr. Cote has also made arrangements for New York team Bastidas' stay in Montreal while they compete. Thanks a ton.
In order for Tyree and Jurell Bastidas to perform at these handball exhibition games, they had to re-arrange their road schedule to fit the extra stop at Quebec City to arrive the weekend before the Canadian national takes place in Montreal from May 30 to June 02.
Team Bastidas is excited about this trip and has already accepted the invitation and the opportunity to keep promoting 1-wall handball, the fastest growing handball game in America and Europe.
Above from left: Tyree Bastidas and Cesar Sala at inaugural 1-wall pro stop
We all know that Cesar Sala has been a great player of the game and has spent most of his youth playing and practicing at Coney Island, his home courts. Everybody there has enjoyed seeing him rise to the top by claiming several singles and doubles national titles. But lately, Tyree Bastidas, the new force in town has come to dominate Cesar in the last several times they have met, indoors and outdoors.
The last time C. Sala defeated T. Bastidas was in 2008, when Tyree became the first teenager to reach the finals of the HES 1-wall pro-stop. Every since then Bastidas has won every single match against Sala.
We understand fans at Coney Island want to see their local player win, but recently it has been hard for them to digest the fact that Tyree, not a local player at their courts, just shows up to steal the show and walk away with the prize money.
T. Bastidas usually plays with his friends at his local Midwood H.S. Park, close to where he lives. He has tried to practice at the Coney Island courts before, but with so many people playing in there, he rather spends time playing at his local Park rather than wait on line to play next at Coney Island.
Lately, Cesar’s fans at Coney Island have been troubled by the final results of these two players and have resorted to all kind of excuses as to why Cesar has not been able to beat Tyree. The facts remain that both players are still good enough to keep winning titles.
Above from left: Billy O'Donnell and Andy Schad during final game.
Above from l: C division players - Jeremy Prabish lost to Steve Ingeni (14), 18, 6.
Above from left: Junior players: Jeremy Prabish lost to Cris Passoud 16,16.
Above from left - B division: Andy Baush lost to Rafael Mata 21, (9), 1.
Above: Players enjoy the facility at the Club while waiting to play. Above: Andy Schad retrieving a ball off the back wall during semis against Bastidas.
Above: Players enjoying the facility during the tournament.
The USHA regional 4-wall tournament came to an end after handball players from various states enjoyed a weekend full of handball games that kept the crowd happy and cheering.
The tournament has been run mostly by Bill Kennedy, recently by Tom Doughten and currently by Raul Retian.
Once the tournament took place in Connecticut with more than 200 players participating in it.
The tournament has been won by Americans, Canadians and Irishmen.
The only teenager to have been crowned an open champion is Tyree Bastidas.
The tournament has been taken place mainly in New Jersey.
Kendell Lewis seems to be the player to have won more titles.
Shirley Chen won this year 's girl's division.
Recent winners of the men's open (doubles):
2004 - K. Lewis/F. Torres
2005 - K. Lewis/F. Torres
2006 - F. Torres/A. Rousseau
2007 - R. Retian/J. Ragoo
2008 - R. Retian/J. Ragoo
2009 - Jurell and Tyree Bastidas
2010 - Jurell and Tyree Bastidas
2011 - M. Schneider/W. O’Donnell
2012 - Jurell and Tyree Bastidas
Above: Mike Rusinak, Tournament Director of the Boston Open 2012.