2013 JCK Legends Softball Tournament Recap – The Wildest Tournament Yet
The 3rd annual JCK Legends tournament was delivering the most hype yet. 120 people signed up, DOUBLING the amount of people from the original tournament 2 years before which is a testament to the positive affect that JCK had on people. With more people came more hype and more recognition. In between the 2nd and 3rd annual tournament it became official, the JCK Foundation would be started in honor of John and this years tournament came fresh off of a speaking engagement at the International OCD Conference in Atlanta. During 2013, Tessitore, Fleming and Doctor Kelly had spoken at Colgate University and Fairfield University. With growing popularity came more fans and more fun!
The town was starting to get sick of John Tessitore’s teams who had already won the first two tournaments and people were ready for a new champion. The morning of the tournament many gathered early once again to make the field look truly special and now thanks to the Raffa brothers and the DPW, there was a JCK logo embedded on the pitcher’s mound. Coupled with the Banners made by the legend Matt Beer it was truly a field of dreams. With 8 teams, meant more waiting time, but it also meant a Mini-Carnival for kids as well as a Dunk Tank! The dunk tank was a hit as the losing captains would all get dunked after the game. Doctor Kelly was a big hit in the dunk tank as well drawing kids from the park to take some time out of their day in an attempt to dunk the doctor! Thanks to the Dobbs Ferry Girl Scouts the mini-carnival was a great success and it informed the younger generations of Dobbs Ferry Residents about John Kelly’s inspirational story.
It was another scorcher but it didn’t stop News12 Westchester and the Journal News from coming out and giving the JCK Foundation support. The park was truly decked out and once again with the help of the Dobbs Ferry Moms and the Centrillo family, the grill was up and smoking and no player was left hungry or thirsty. It was time to play some ball and Bman’s Embassy Club squad got off to a hot start dominating John Tessitore’s Kelly’s Hero’s squad in the first matchup. CJ Fleming made the trek from California and coached his team to an opening round upset win over Paul Tessitore’s Louisiana Cajun Café team (Paul was still winless!). Kevin Farrington’s Kelly’s Sharpshooters squad got off to a hot start with a big time win over brother (and new father) Franky Farrington’s ER squad. The Beer Bro’s Amazing Tales squad duked it out and got a win over Brian Farrington’s Sip’N Snacks team in the final opening round game. The seeding was set and it was time for the elimination round! The first game up was the 2-seeded Sharphooter’s Squad led by Kevin Farrington, and the 7th seeded Kelly’s Heroes’ squad led by John Tessitore. Tessitore’s squad new that a loss would end the 2 year streak of being champions but Farrington’s team didn’t want to lose to Tessitore’s squad for the third straight year in an elimination game! The game went back and forth but Kelly’s Hero’s, thanks to some great fielding and the bat of Chris Roemer survived the Sharpshooters and pulled off another win yet again! The next game, Paul Tessitore finally got off the slide and his Louisiana Cajun Café team woke up the bats and shattered the championship dreams of Amazing tales. CJ Fleming’s Heat earned the one seed and took an 8th seeded ER led by Frank Farrington. In one of the lower scoring game in legend tournament history, ER squeaked out a late inning upset victory shocking CJ and the rest of the Heat in what was one of the best played game of the tournament! The final Game was a big victory by Bman’s Embassy Club squad who woke up the Bats and belted a few home runs in a win over Brian Farrington’s Sip’N Snacks squad.
It was time for the semifinals and the first matchup was between the TESSITORE BROTHERS! AS you can imagine, the two captains have a heated history of whiffle ball rivalries and younger brother John would usually fall short to the dominance of big brother Paul. Paul and Cajun Café started off real hot and jumped out to an early lead. Kelly’s Hero’s bats couldn’t catch up and Cajun Café headed into the last inning with a 5 run lead. Kelly’s Heroes first two batters flied out and Kelly’s Heroes were down to their final out. Things were looking brim and it looked as if John Tessitore’s magical legends tournament was over at the hands of brother Paul. Then a rally cry immersed from the bench of Kelly’s Hero’s and they all screamed in unison “ALL WITH TWO”. Just like JCK, Kelly’s Heroes never gave up and their next 9 batters reached base! A clutch hit took the lead, and somehow someway Kelly’s Hero’s rallied to score 6 runs with two outs! There was pandemonium and people couldn’t believe it! Louisiana Cajun had last licks but were retired 1,2,3, and one of the greatest games in tournament history was complete! Kelly’s heroes had won 10-9! The second semi final the last seeded ER team scratch clawed, and used their tremendous heart and timely hitting to upset Embassy Club and earn and unprecedented birth in the 3rd annual legends tournament Championship game! After losing their first game by double digits, they had a chance to now win a championship, encompassing the spirit of JCK with them! The finals were set, and two underdogs, 7th seeded Heroes, and 8th seeded ER were playing in the final game. After a valiant game, Kelly’s heroes pulled out the win, giving captain Tessitore a 3rd straight legends tournament crown! However, it was the heart of both teams and sportsmanship that stood out in this one! After everyone headed down to Doubleday’s for the after party and 15,000 dollars were raised for the JCK foundation! A new high, and it just shows the tremendous growth of the Tournament and the Foundation.
With more and more support, there is no reason to think that the 4th annual legends tournament won’t be the most successful and most memorable yet. Most importantly, the day is the perfect tribute to a man that loved seeing his friends succeed and have fun. There is no doubt that John has been watching out over the tournament, as all three have had PERFECT weather. HE still lives on in the hearts and minds of the players and NO ONE forgets that the true meaning of the tournament. John’s legacy lives on through his friends and family, and WE CAN’T WAIT for the fourth annual legends tournament!