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***The Caldwell Chiefs Football Camp proved to be quite popular with its impressive turnout as the program's family image continues to be personified in positive way!

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***16 of the SEC's softball teams are switching divisions for next two seasons, including Belleville and Bloomfield. Read more about the changes in "Feature Articles"

***The NJ Pride, a longstanding powerhouse in fast pitch softball, captured a bracket championship at Triple Crown National event in Georgia. See more in "The Buzz"

Immaculate Heart softball coach Anthony LaRezza, a Newark native who also coached one season at MKA, was recently named president of Akadema Elite Fast Pitch organization. (Photo by Angela Keller)

Longtime IHA Coach Named As President
Of Akadema Elite Fast Pitch Organization
By Steve Tober

Way back when Anthony LaRezza joined longtime Brick City friend Phil Alagia in coaching the Ridge Street School sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade team to a pair of championships in the Newark Public School League, he knew right away that softball was going to remain something very special in his sporting life.

Now, some 28 years after his auspicious start at a true feeder system level, the 48-year-old LaRezza has grown into one of the state’s top high school and club level softball coaches, having guided Immaculate Heart Academy to five state titles and seven Bergen County Tournament championships, along with jet-starting the Pride softball organization along with Alagia, who is the chief of staff for Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.

Add a new title to LaRezza’s growing resume in the sport of his life as Akadema Elite Fast Pitch founder Greg Allen recently named the IHA head mentor as president of the fast-growing sports organization.

“This is a brand new chapter in my softball life, and I’m very excited about the new challenges with Akadema,” said LaRezza, who is a veteran fireman by profession with Newark’s Engine 28 firehouse on 6 th Street. “We will continue to upscale the travel schedules for the best tournaments out there, always with the idea of improving the college exposure and possibilities at the next level for our players.

“Pride is a great organization and it was a tremendous experience to be at the ground floor with Phil when we were Project Pride for the Newark kids back in 1988, and then to see the program expand to be a statewide organization with tremendous travel teams doing so well year after year has been just terrific to watch.”

LaRezza will have a number of different roles in his new position, including representing Akadema Elite at college showcase tournaments and continuing to build on solid working relationships with college coaches.

“I am excited to have Coach LaRezza come on board as the first president of Akadema Elite,” said Allen, a self-made businessman and entrepreneur who started the organization in 2013. “I am confident that his 25 years of experience in the softball world will have a profound impact on our players and families.”

Like many of the top softball coaches, LaRezza began as a baseball player, emerging as a solid shortstop and first baseman for Bloomfield Tech where he forged a solid working relationship with former Spartans coach Bill Bromberg.

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