When Hurricane Sandy struck our area a few weeks ago people in Howell were directly affected but also felt the impact of the damage it inflicted in other places beyond the Jersey Shore.
Gerry Zappulla is the manager of the Monmouth Highlander 9-U team and a former Staten Island resident. He said when his team got the chance to take part in a tournament in the Great Kills neighborhood of his hometown they jumped on it.
Much like our area many parts of Staten Island were also ravaged by the storm and 100 percent of the proceeds went to help in the relief efforts for the borough. "As a manager of the boys, and also a dad, I felt it important to teach our kids to help in some kind of way to those in need," he said.
The Highlanders were into the semifinals of their own league when the coach said they decided to stop their season to take part in the Staten Island tournament.
Not only did the boys bring home first place in the tournament they also were able to see the damage done by the storm firsthand. Zappulla said for all their hard work they were rewarded with a trip to one of his favorite pizza places on the island to celebrate the victory.
In the end the real winner was the people of Staten Island as the tournament raised more than $25 thousand for the recovery efforts. "It was a great four days of baseball and the kids learned a great lesson because we toured Great Kills Harbor along with Midland and South Beach that were hit very hard in the storm."
Winning was an added bonus to the day but either way the coach said he was, "So proud of these boys."