A battle of champions in Lyndhurst, for a good cause

Photo by Jim Hague The 2013 Lyndhurst state champions (l.) took on the 2008 Lyndhurst state champs (r.) in a charity baseball game last week, with coach Butch Servideo (c.) serving as an umpire. The 2008 team won, 10-2.
Photo by Jim Hague
The 2013 Lyndhurst state champions (l.) took on the 2008 Lyndhurst state champs (r.) in a charity baseball game last week, with coach Butch Servideo (c.) serving as an umpire. The 2008 team won, 10-2.


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

It started out as a simple idea and blossomed into an impromptu reunion that people in Lyndhurst will remember for a very long time.

Lyndhurst athletic director and head baseball coach Frank “Butch” Servideo was trying to find a way to raise funds in order to buy his baseball team rings for winning the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group II state championship last spring.

So Servideo called upon his last team to capture a state title, namely the 2008 Golden Bears who won the overall Group I state crown.

“We decided to have a reunion game, pitting the 2008 team against the 2013 team,” Servideo said.

Each member of the 2008 team had to donate a certain amount of money to participate. All of the money raised would go directly to buying championship rings for the 2013 squad. It seemed like a perfect setting.

And it was. Other than for a brief rain shower, it was a great night of baseball for a great cause last Thursday night at the Lyndhurst Recreation facility. The older guys donned blue shirts, while the younger ones were wearing gold. All shirts proclaimed their state championships inside a bat on the shirt.

Servideo wanted to be as impartial as he could, considering he coached both teams. So he decided to serve as one of the umpires for the game. Former Lyndhurst head girls’ basketball coach Perrin Mosca, who has now moved on to coach at his alma mater of Hackensack, was the plate umpire.

“I can’t root for one or the other, so I decided to umpire,” Servideo said. “No one can say anything about me showing partiality. We had a great turnout. It was great seeing all the guys again. I think the younger guys want to come out and prove something. I know both teams held practices to get ready.”

Added Servideo, “When I reached out to the 2008 team to help with buying the rings, they were more than willing. They wanted to help and I was happy about that.”

Glenn Flora, who pitched that 2008 squad to the state crown, earning First Team All-State honors for a second straight year, didn’t hesitate at all and took his familiar place on the mound.

“It’s fun to bring it back to our high school days,” said Flora, who still pitches at William Paterson University. “It was a good idea to do something like this. It gives us all the opportunity to remember what we did, which was something pretty special. When I heard about this, I jumped at the opportunity. I think we all did.”

Bubba Jasinski, who just completed a fine collegiate career at Misiercordia University, agreed.

“This is awesome,” Jasinski said. “We’re getting a chance to go up against another state championship team from Lyndhurst. I hadn’t seen a lot of these guys in five years. It’s great to be together again.”

Jasinski believed that his team had the upper hand.

“I think we have an advantage because some of us are coming off solid college seasons,” Jasinski said. “We didn’t think we could just show up here and play. We’re going for the win.”

Anthony Dorio, who went on to have a fine career at William Paterson, was also excited to be a part of the reunion.

“When I first received the letter, I was a little surprised,” Dorio said. “I didn’t think anything like this could ever take place. It was a great idea to come back and see everyone. I hadn’t seen some of them since our last game together.”

Dorio still plays actively for the South Bergen Bullets of the Metropolitan League as he tries to become a police officer.

Frank Pica showed up wearing dark-rimmed glasses, looking like Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) in the movie, “Major League.” “

We’re like the family that never left Lyndhurst,” said Pica, who now works as a driver for the Jersey City Sanitation Authority. “I didn’t hesitate one bit to come back. This is amazing.”

Pica said that he has always loved the movie and loved Charlie Sheen, thus the reason for the get-up.

The 2013 state champions were also up for the challenge.

“I’m very excited about it,” said Max Hart, who was the starting pitcher for the 2013 team. “I said I always wanted to play against this team. It felt good to be here playing again. I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life. I loved the chance to face Flora. I wanted to see what he had left.”

Hart is headed to St. Thomas Aquinas University in Peekskill, N.Y., next month.

“I think we have an advantage because we have been playing all along,” Hart said. “They haven’t played together in a while.”

Catcher Austin Meeney was also thrilled to have the chance.

“I’ve been very excited about this game since it was organized,” Meeney said. “I always wondered what would happen if we got the chance to play them. It means a lot that they would come back and help us.”

Meeney is headed to Montclair State, but more than likely won’t play baseball there.

“This is the last organized game I’ll play with my close friends,” Meeney said. “I really want to win.”

Bobby DeMarco, who is headed to Drew University to join the swim team there, also jumped at the chance to participate.

“I never thought I’d get a chance to play those guys,” DeMarco said. “It was pretty nice that they came out to do this for us. I definitely feel a sense of Lyndhurst pride. They all showed they still care. It’s a lot of fun.”

That was true, until the game started for real. The 2008 team showed the younger guys just who were still boss, taking a 10-2 decision.

“It was a case of boys against men,” Servideo said.

It was also a case of baseball camaraderie between two champions from Lyndhurst.

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