Kearny trio headed to RBI Softball World Series

Just when you thought that the Kearny High School softball season ended in May.

Three members of the Kardinals continued their softball season by playing for the Hoboken Shockers All-Stars in Major League Baseball’s RBI (Rebuilding Baseball in the Inner-cities) program.

And that team just recently won the Northeast Regional title in Providence, R.I. to earn a berth in the RBI World Series in Cincinnati, beginning this weekend.

Sydney Pace, Emilee Marshall and Tatiana Fermaint will wear Hoboken on their shirts, but will be representing Kearny at the RBI World Series.

“It gives us a chance to prove ourselves,” said Pace, who plays second base and pitches for the Hoboken team. “People think that Kearny is not a good softball area, so we have a lot on our shoulders. We can prove that we’re really good.”

Pace came up big in the Hoboken 13-0 win over Roberto Clemente of Jersey City in the regional title on the campus of Brown University. She had three hits and three RBI.

“We have a lot of talented players in Hudson County,” Pace said. “It’s good to be on one team that represents Hudson County.”

It was Fermaint, the standout catcher for the Kardinals, who got the other two Kearny girls involved with the Hoboken squad. Fermaint is a native of Hoboken who moved to Kearny when she started high school, so she was friendly with some of the players and familiar with the program.

“Taty told me what it was like to be on the team, so I decided to join,” Pace said.

“We had a difficult end to the high school season,” said Fermaint, who is catching, playing right field and acting as a designated hitter for the Hoboken team. “This has been great to be a part of. We practice all the time, sometimes for several hours and we still have fun. Honestly, it’s so much fun to be with these girls.”
And of course, her Kearny teammates. Marshall joined the Hoboken team last year. Pace is playing her first season for the Shockers, sponsored by Hoboken Recreation and coached by Hoboken High School veteran coach Vinnie Johnson.

“I just told Emilee what we do and she wanted to join,” Fermaint said.

Marshall, who plays first base and left field for the Shockers, felt at home with the new team right away.

“It was just different,” Marshall said. “I love meeting new people and getting new people to bond with. It’s just a different experience.”
Marshall went with the Hoboken team to the World Series last year, also held in Cincinnati.

“I felt like a movie star,” Marshall said. “They treated us so well that I felt like a major league player. For sure, I wanted to get that chance again.”

Marshall said that she loves sharing the trip to Cincinnati with her two friends and long-time teammates.

“It’s good to have someone I’m close with and played so well together in high school to enjoy this,” Marshall said. “It’s so great to go back to Cincinnati. It’s only my second year and I’m going back to Cincinnati.”

Both Marshall and Fermaint have another year of high school. Pace will head to William Paterson University to play softball next month.

Pace has been preparing for college life.

“I’ve been practicing every day,” Pace said. “I’ve been going out with my father (Rocco) doing hitting and fielding.”

There’s another side benefit to Pace’s trip to Cincinnati. Her brother-in-law Patrick Kivelhan, the husband of new Kearny High School girls’ soccer coach Stefanee Pace Kivelhan, plays for the Cincinnati Reds and will be in Cincy during the tournament.

“He will be able to come to our game and meet my other teammates,” Pace said. “It’s going to be cool to see him. Maybe we can go to a game as a team and see him play.”

And maybe the girls from Kearny will make their mark playing softball this weekend in Cincinnati.


A trio of Kearny girls, namely from left, Sydney Pace, Emilee Marshall and Tatiana Fermaint, will play for the Hoboken Shockers in the Major League Baseball RBI Softball World Series this weekend in Cincinnati. Photo courtesy of Emiliee Marshall

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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”