Photos by A. Apuzzi & B. Fand
By Ben Brighton
The 4th annual King of the Ring 1-wall Singles Championship was held at the Seaside Handball Courts. While some key attractions were absent due to injury or prior commitments enough stars performed to the delight of handball fans in attendance.
In the quarterfinals Tyree Bastidas defeated Juned Khan 25-6, Cesar Sala came back from a 12-0 deficit to earn a heart stopping 25-24 victory over his perennial partner Joe Kaplan. Jurell Bastidas beat William Polanco 25-20 & Billy O’Donnell had his way with Eddie Perez 25-8.
In the semis Cesar faced Tyree, whose athleticism is off the charts. Gifted with tremendous speed, power and arguably the best off-hand in 1-wall, abetter serve would push him to even greater heights. Cesar held the lead at 18-17. Two court hinders and a few minutes later he had fallen 25-20. Many of the spectators felt that this match was effectively the final. Sala can take many positives and a few questions from his performance. On the other side of the draw, Jurell (who was the crowd favorite) lead 20-15 before Billy stormed back to close out the game 25-20.
The final was played in windy conditions and was rather one-sided with Bastidas winning 25-5. Tyree picked up a second ring making him the first player to own two.
An extra bonus for the fans was a 40-plus singles. It marked Kaplan’s first competition as a masters player. In the top semi Joe blanked Coney Island regular Juan Martinez 25-0 while Andy defeated Eddie 25-8. Rousseau held a large lead before Kaplan managed to earn the championship point when Andy was called out on an avoidable hinder.
On a social note Brenda Pares and Bernice Torres stopped by on their way to a woman’s event in Queens. Their classy presence is always welcome.
Photo by Bill Fand
The 1-wall national competition will take place during one of the most scorching temperatures in recent memory.
Everyone knows most 1-wall players are used to play in extreme temperatures, but the temperatures expected for the nationals are more than extremes as high humidity and temperatures in the uppers 90s will continue throughout the rest of the weekend.
A heat advisory that started on July 27 is set to continue indefinitely, with high humidity and temperatures expected to hover in the 90s.
Temperatures are likely to peak in the mid 90s but is going to feel more like the high 90s.
We have had several incidents in the past where players had ended up in the hospital. The last reported victim of extreme temperatures was John Wright as he collapsed after finishing his match a few years back.
Players and fans is time to get hydrated. Those heading to the courts should replenish themselves with plenty of water.
Good luck to all.
Photos by ICHA
During the first two decades of the 21st century, the PSAL has produced a lot of 1-wall players just like the '70 did, and many players have managed to stay in the game for as long as possible. But the caliber of their game is not as high as the junior players of the '70.
Mark Levine from the '70 and Tyree Bastidas from the current generation are the only players who, as teenagers, stayed in the game and developed sharp handball skills that helped them beat open players.
The '70 may have not produced more PSAL junior players as the current generation has, but so far it has been more successful. Whether the open field in the '70 was weak or it was a period of decadence in the handball sport, has nothing to do with the success of these young players.
In the '70s, those young players competed against whoever was in the draw and beat the best players and future hall of famers in those years.
We never saw them play, therefore we can only go by stats and facts that we have brought to light over the internet for our readers to better understand their success which for the most part had been overlooked.
In a rematch of last year’s championship Midwood vs Bayside, the Lady Hornets came on top this time around. Having been eliminated by Bayside in the last four playoff appearances, including the last two finals, this time Midwood had other ideas. They shocked everyone by calling first singles to start things up. The dream match was played between Shkysi Cummings and Melanie Garate. Shkysi displaying her arsenal of serves and aces took a commanding 13-4 lead. Melanie wasn't going to go down without a fight and made a run on her own but Shkysi was too much to overcome cruising to a 21-9 victory, giving Bayside a 1-0 lead
Bayside called second doubles Melanie Huynh & Sally Xu to face Tingting Fang & Annie Chen, they quickly took a 12-5 lead and looked to be in control until Midwood orchestrated a run and took the lead 14-12. Bayside got up to serve and tied the match at 14. After a point by Midwood, Bayside got up to serve but came out empty. Midwood tried to close the match but they couldn't do much damage either. Bayside took an 18-16 lead, Midwood tied it at 18 in the next two possessions. Bayside back at the serve took a 20-18 lead but couldn't close the match, allowing Midwood one last chance closing the match 21-20 and tying things up one match a piece.
Midwood called 2nd singles Jessenia Garate to take on Bayside Nicole Mleczkowski. Jessenia took a 7-1 lead before Bayside called timeout. It didn't help much as Jessenia was on a mission and took 13-3, cruising to an easy 21-4 victory giving Midwood a 2-1 lead.
Bayside looking for the equalizer called the always dangerous first doubles team of Emily Wang and Ying Yuan. They took an 8-1 lead quickly but Midwood came right back with a run of their own closing the gap to 8-6. Bayside regained the serve and extended their lead to 16-6, eventually cruising to 21-7 victory, tying the match at two.
With the championship on the line……
We all win and lose to other players during handball competition, but to lose to a referee is something unheard of. That was the case of Team Chapman/Bastidas against Team Sostre/Roberts in the men's open doubles in 2010 when Tyree was aspiring to slam that year. But due to poor reffing and the referee's inability to make a fair call, the game was not allowed to continue. Even Dave Chapman wondered “Is this how this match is going to end?
The match was being recorded from many angles and every recording clearly shows the root of the problem when Robert Sostre hit the floor after hitting the ball and starts getting up in front of Tyree as the ball bounces off the wall. Once Sostre was on his two feet, he again moves further to the left to avoid being hit either by the approaching ball or by Tyree's return, in another violation of the rules.
Maybe the referee didn't see Sostre's multiple rule violations, but Tyree, Chapman and the rest of the world did.
In order to avoid further questioning and protest by players and fans, the referee let team Sostre/Roberts advance to the next round.
Sure some fans may want to argue about it all night, but no matter from which angle the fault was seen, it was too obvious to ignore. The cameras don't lie.
Watch video or pause at 2:57