Above: Pictures from ICHA Award Dinner and Apuzzi's induction into the USHA Hall Of Fame.
Albert Apuzzi was inducted into the USHA Hall of Fame on October 20, 2011 among his friends, family members and handball players who wanted to pay tribute to perhaps the best 1-wall player ever to grace the courts.
Why is he the best one-wall player? There are several reasons for Apuzzi to be considered the best of the best in the 1-wall world. First of all, he is a pure 1-wall player, who in spite of his great 1-wall skills played 3-and 4-wall championships outside his domain. He even won the Canadian 3-wall championships back in the 90s.
His focus on 1-wall was such that when he played at the 1-wall nationals, he always went the two-way route, unlike many players who just played and concentrate in one event only, either singles or doubles. This is the main reason why he has reached and played in most finals, more than any other one-wall player.
Apuzzi’s successful handball career also covers indoor and outdoor championships at the national level. He is very well known in the handball community as a USHA record holder, and now as a USHA Hall of Famer.
Congratulations to the best of the best, Albert Apuzzi.
USHA Hall of Fame players with the most 1-wall championships finals (including Joe Durso), the new player nominated for induction into the USHA Hall Of Fame in 2012.
Albert Apuzzi – 32 championships finals.
Joe Durso – 31 championships finals.
Oscar Obert – 30 championships finals.
Ruby Obert - 27 championships finals.
Steve Sandler – 27 championships finals.
Howie Eisenberg – 24 championships finals.
Al Torres – 24 championships finals.
Artie Reyer – 18 championships finals.
Joel Wisotsky – 17 championships finals.
Wally Ulbrich – 16 championships finals.
Carl Obert – 13 championships finals.
Victor Hershkowitz – 12 championships finals.
David Davidoff – 11 championships finals.
Joe Danilczyk – 7 championships finals.
Marty Decatur – 6 championships finals.
Lou Russo – 5 championships finals.
Above: Dori Ten.
Above: Tyree Bastidas
"The Annual BBQ for handball players took place as original planned at the Coney Island handball courts", said Albert Apuzzi, the event organizer. It didn’t attract the usual big crowd because of the unexpected weather. Mother Nature intruded on the handball games that usually took place during the festivity.
Tens of thousands of homes remained in the dark during this historic snowstorm that paralyzed the Northeast, but the storm didn’t damp the Halloween spirit of some handball players, who celebrated and posed above.
From left: Kaplan, Sala and Castro pose at the 1-wall nationals in Coney Island.
The last 1-wall (men’s singles event) of the year is full of big, brash personalities. Kaplan, Castro, Sala, and Bastidas look to be crowned champions, again.
It’s plenty easy to get interested in the last tournament of the year which takes place on Sunday 13. But there is one hard part: Deciding who to root for.
Out of the Bronx, there is C. Sala, the player with all the skills to be a champion.
Out of Queens, there is Y. Castro, the current national champion who surprised the crowd this year by defeating Bastidas.
Out of Brooklyn, there is J. Kaplan a previous winner of the nationals.
Also out of Brooklyn, there is T. Bastidas who is out to roll to the finals to prove to his fans he is still on top of his game after coming off a foot injury in the summer.
Don’t expect to be able to pick your player based on on-court performance. All of them have rolled through the championship matches and will have an opportunity to play outdoors just like the nationals.
From left: Bastidas and Ajisafe traveled together to California to play in their last USHA juniors 3-wall championships in 2010.
Above: Babalola Ajisafe enjoys the outdoors at Venice Beach, Calif
Above from left: Byron Ortiz and Albert Apuzzi pose during Apuzzi's USHA Hall Of Fame induction.
ICHA handball players, Babalola Ajisafe and Byron Ortiz crossed the finish line to raise funds for ICHA.
B. Ajisafe, a late bloomer in the juniors ranks, debuted in Chicago at the USHA National Juniors Four-Wall Championships in 2009 at the age of 19, where he met Bastidas for the first time. He currently attends College in NYS and is schedule to play at the Albany Open this year. He has also played 1- and 3-wall championships in his last year of eligibility.
B. Ortiz is an avid four-wall player who travels around the Northeast to play in most tournaments. He is a pure 4-wall player who never fails to play at the Long Island Open, the Albany Open and the NYS Championships. He is also a Coach for the handball team of Bryant High School, located in Long Island City, Queens, New York.
Congratulations to both players for running in this historic Marathon.
Handball News from your Handball Experts
November 11, 2011
Dear Handball Fan,
Happy 11/11/11! We hope today is your lucky day! Here is your weekend edition of Court Shorts.
Giving Thanks! CLICK HERE to tell us what you are thankful for!
H.E.S. 1-Wall Event this Weekend
On Sunday Nov. 13, the H.E.S. will be hosting the Men's 1-Wall Pro Singles.
National One-Wall Champion Pee Wee Castro will try to topple defending H.E.S. Champ Tyree Bastidas in the 26-player draw.
CLICK HERE to see the Tentative Draw for the event.
Please note the draw is tentative and may change since entrants may be added up until 10 a.m. Sunday.
CLICK HERE to visit the official Facebook page!
H.E.S. One-Wall Pro Stop – Castro must prove he’s a champ, not a chump.
Above from left: Bastidas and Castro smile for the cameras before their semifinal games.
Current national champion Y. Castro (Pewee) and previous national champion T. Bastidas are expected to meet each other in the finals of the prestigious H.E.S. One-Wall Pro stop to be held on November 13.
Castro, who toppled Bastidas outdoors for the national title will have an opportunity to validate his winning in this tournament, which will also be played outdoors.
For Bastidas this will be his opportunity to prove to his fans that he is still on top of the world and that his loss to Castro was just a temporary "changing of the guards" at the "Pantheon Of Champions".
“Let’s be honest, the H.E.S. 1-wall pro stop is going to tell us if Pewee can really hold on to his title or not”. said Bastidas.
Bastidas believes Castro must win the tournament to claim the No. 1 seeded position.
Above: Kaplan serves the ball to Castro in the back during the semis.
Above: Bastidas gets in position to swing his right arm as Sala can't help but watch Bastidas score another point during the other semifinal game.
Above from left: Bastidas and Kaplan pose as the only two players who would play for the championship match. Most pictures above by Scott Schilder
For the first time in a very long time, the HES 1-wall Pro stop was played at the Coney Island handball courts. The tournament moved outdoors to take advantage of the terrific weather that Mother Nature had provided.
Two dozen players showed up to vie for the title that has been won by Tyree Bastidas for the past several years.
Tournament Director Albert Apuzzi made sure the hospitality was top shelf by having a BBQ throughout the day.
Competition was as tough as the previous tournaments and only national champions were able to reach the first four places.
It wasn’t easy for Bastidas to win his semifinal game as he had to roar back against Sala. The score was very close and was reminisce of their battle during the USHA 1-wall nationals during the summer, where Bastidas edged Sala 21-20 after coming back from a 19-15 deficit. This weekend the final score was 21-19.
The other semifinal game was played by Castro (Pewee) and J. Kaplan. The score doesn’t lie but it doesn’t reflect the intense battle that took place among them. In the end, it was Kaplan who prevailed because he played the best handball he ever played in the past couple of years.
Defending national champion Castro also played his best, but couldn’t stop Kaplan. Bastidas and Kaplan advanced to the championship game to be played possibly at the Elks or at the H.E.S. on the weekend of December 4, 2011.