TASTY TIDBITSControversy over softball postponement

Lincoln coach Hampton sees charges dropped

If you were looking for the St. Dominic Academy-Hoboken softball game that was supposed to be played last week and can’t find it anywhere, there’s a good reason.
Although the two teams were there and ready to play at Jersey City’s Lincoln Park last week and umpires were in place and the weather was okay to play – meaning no rain – the game was never played.
Here’s the situation: Hoboken coach Carmine Ronga was concerned with the conditions at the Lincoln Park Little League field where St. Dominic has played most of its home games for the last two years.
Ronga believed that the field was not suitable because there was a pitchers’ mound in place, not the flat surface that softball is usually played on.
“I asked the home plate umpire if this was an illegal field,” Ronga said. “I said that we were ready to play, but if he thought it was an illegal field, then, no, I didn’t want to put our kids in harm’s way. We were all warmed up and ready to play. All I did was ask if it was an illegal field. I didn’t make the decision. The umpires did. I can’t speak for St. Dominic, but our kids were disappointed that they didn’t play.”
Ronga said if his pitcher went back to try to field a pop up, she might get hindered by the pitching mound and could possibly get hurt.
St. Dominic head coach Jimmy Murduca suggested the dirt softball field at the top of Lincoln Park, but Ronga said that there were two teams already on the field, so the game was postponed.
“I didn’t make the decision not to play,” Ronga said. “All that was decided was that it was an illegal field.”
Hoboken athletic director Derek England said that he received word from Ronga that there were “unsafe playing conditions.”
St. Dominic athletic director John Nagel said whenever there is suspect weather, his softball team uses the West Side Little League facility, because it is equipped with the artificial FieldTurf surface, therefore there’s no chance for muddy conditions.
“We’ve played there the last two seasons,” Nagel said. “And it’s the same field that Hoboken beat us on last year. Playing there weatherproofs the entire situation.”
Nagel said that he spoke to one of the umpires who told him that he didn’t see a reason why the game wasn’t played.
Here’s this corner’s opinion on it: Unless there’s a monsoon and the rain prevents play, then that game should have been played.
With such a lack of fields in Hudson County to begin with and with the possibility of bad weather in the coming weeks, there was no reason that game should not have been played, especially if both teams were ready and there were two umpires in place.
Whoever made the decision to postpone the game was wrong, especially if the facility had been used for other games in the past. What makes the whole thing totally bizarre is that Hoboken played St. Dominic on the same field last year and won. Well, wasn’t it an illegal field then as well?
Ronga doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, but someone put it in the umpire’s head that the field was so-called “illegal.”
And does that mean that Hudson Catholic’s softball team, which also uses the facility, has been playing on an “illegal field”? What happens when Hoboken has to play Hudson Catholic later this year?
As of press time, the Hoboken-St. Dominic game has yet to be rescheduled. The two administrators were set to meet Thursday morning to possibly discuss rescheduling. It certainly goes down as the weirdest postponement of a game in recent memory…
Lincoln football coach Robert Hampton received good news earlier last week. The dedicated coach, who was suspended from coaching for the final five games of last season because of criminal charges that he allegedly covered up a possible sexual assault in the school, learned that the charges had been dropped.
There wasn’t sufficient evidence for the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office to continue the case against Hampton, so the charges were dismissed and now Hampton can go back to the business of coaching his football team…
Speaking of football coaches, former St. Anthony head coach Sean Fallon is rumored to become the new head coach at Marist. Stay tuned…
Congrats to former County Prep baseball standout Wendell Rodriguez, who last week became the all-time leader in pitching victories at New Jersey City University. Rodriguez won the 13th game of his career, breaking a record that stood since 1986.
The Gothic Knights are enjoying a sensational season, having a winning record this late in the season for the first time in ages…
Some local softball performances of note: North Bergen ace Jessica Feria struck out 17 batters in a win against Hoboken Wednesday in a no-hit performance. Feria broke the school’s single-game strikeout record, a mark she had shared with former Bruin ace Tara Solan.
And Secaucus’ standout Danielle Roesing has recorded three straight shutout victories, including a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts and a three-hitter…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Baseball Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (6-0). 2. Marist (5-1). 3. North Bergen (5-2). 4. Hudson Catholic (4-2). 5. Weehawken (3-2).
Hudson Reporter H.S. Softball Top Five: 1. North Bergen (4-1). 2. Secaucus (4-2). 3. Ferris (4-1). 4. McNair Academic (5-1). 5. Union City (2-4). – Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.

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