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Anthony LaRezza, a graduate of Bloomfield Tech, brings much experience to his new role as president of Akadema Elite Fast Pitch organization. (Photos by Angela Keller)

Anthony LaRezza's IHA teams have been among some of the best in Jersey softball

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“Coach Bromberg is the reason I became interested in coaching,” said LaRezza, who grew up on 11th Street and First Avenue in Newark. “To this day he continues to have a tremendous impact on the way I go about coaching the game of softball, from studying the history of the game to teaching the fundamentals.

“I always enjoyed the history classes he taught at Bloomfield Tech, and he made it both fun and educational. I believe you have to make sure that your players truly enjoy the game they strive to be the best they can be in, and that’s an approach I’ve taken from coach Bromberg in baseball and translated to softball.”

LaRezza also played in one of New Jersey’s most highly-respected independent adult baseball leagues that played on Saturdays and Sundays at Branch Brook Park in Newark. He was friends in that loop with former Barringer pitching star Albert Maldonado, who eventually advanced to the Triple A level in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization, and also Alex Figueroa, who had a stint in the Phillies’ system. LaRezza himself once had a tryout with the Cincinnati Reds.

But, it was in softball where his passion and yearning to coach continued to grow and he has developed into one of New Jersey’s premier coaches. At IHA LaRezza has been the head coach since 2005 during his second tour of duty at the Washington Township school, directing the Blue Eagles to 10 state sectional titles in Non-Public, North A, one of the toughest sections in the state, along with the five overall ‘A’ crowns and the seven county titles.

He has also coached nine All-Americans, was an NFCA coach of the year in 2009 and the MSG Varsity TV coach of the year in 2013.

LaRezza was originally hired as Jeff Horohonich’s assistant at IHA in 1998 and soon was named associate head coach. He left the Bergen County powerhouse for one season in 2004 when he coached Montclair Kimberley Academy to a Non-Public B state crown and a berth in the finals of the Essex County Tournament opposite Caldwell, which won a memorable come-from-behind 3-2 contest against the Cougars at Pulaski Park that season.

“I still think back at how tough that loss to Caldwell was because we had the lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, but you bounce back, and we did that year to beat Sacred Heart and finish No. 2 in the state behind a 33-0 St. John Vianney team.”

LaRezza returned to IHA in 2005 and coached nine All-American players. Juliette D’Ambrosio, one of those All-Americans with the Blue Eagles, and then a standout with St. Joseph University, is a coach with Akadema along with Meghan Asselta, another former IHA All-American, who has prior experience with Pride and also is an experienced college coach with stints at both Manhattan and Lafayette. Also helping with Akadema is Diego Ibarra, who also coaches the jayvee team at IHA.

“The coaches they have with Akadema are all superb softball people who I know well and have the utmost respect for,” said LaRezza, who resides with his wife Michele in Warren, N.J.. “I’ll have a number of different roles and if they need me to coach I’ll be there, but I also know we’re in great shape in that department with the people we already have on hand.

“This is going to be very exciting and we want to make Akadema Elite Fast Pitch the very best organization it can be!”

IHA’s 9 All Americans Under LaRezza:
1999 Meaghan Asselta Rutgers
2000 Brielle Cosentino Rutgers
2002 Christine Doyle Coastal Carolina
2007 Paige Kemezis Ohio
2008 Alyssa Sceppaguercio Siena
2012 Carly Piccinich Notre Dame
2013 Ally Vergona UNC-Greensboro
2014 Steph Thomas Lafayette
2014 Daniella Ibarra Iowa.

Anthony LaRezza and wife Michele are enjoying a nice summer of softball and relaxation

The well-traveled LaRezza is seen with Tennessee head women's coach Ralph Weekly

There have been a number of celebrations for LaRezza and IHA through his tenure there

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