Press Release

For Immediate Release: February 8, 2018

Local Athletes from Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Elizabeth, Linden, Plainfield and Union Will Be Honored at Hot Stove Awards Dinner in Clark, Feb. 11

New Members of U.C. Baseball Hall of Fame Will Be Inducted  by Union County Baseball Association

CLARK, NJ – The Union County Baseball Association is proud to announce that it will induct four new members into the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame and honor young local athletes at the organization’s 82nd annual Hot Stove League awards dinner on Sunday, February 11, beginning at 1:00 p.m., at The Gran Centurions in Clark, New Jersey.

The special guest speaker for this year’s Hot Stove League awards event will be Major League umpire and New Jersey native, Phil Cuzzi of Nutley, who worked behind the plate in Game One of the 2017 World Series.

Sponsored by the Union County Baseball Association, in cooperation with the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Hot Stove League awards dinner is the primary annual fund-raising effort for the Union County Youth Baseball Leagues. The summer and fall leagues have given more than 40,000 boys and girls an opportunity to participate in an organized baseball program for the past 70 years.

The four new Hall of Famers are Bill Feehan, a longtime firefighter for the City of Elizabeth, who played for Roselle Catholic High School and helped Kean College win two ECAC championships; Jack Goldberg, a First Team All-State slugger for the Union High School Farmers, who later played in the minors for the Atlanta Braves; Ernie Hoffer of Linden, a three-sport athlete who earned All-County and All-State honors in 1960 and 1961 as a third baseman; and Curt Wallace, who distinguished himself as a hitter at Edison Tech in Elizabeth and in inter-county leagues before going on to play, manage, instruct and scout in six countries.

Also being honored will be several young athletes from throughout Union County for their accomplishments in high school, college and other leagues. Among the honorees will be:

  • Teammates Shannon Brogan and Gianna Randazza of Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark, plus Alanna Namit of Gov. Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights, will share the Banyasz Brothers Award for most valuable scholastic softball players;
  • Brian Oblachinski of Cranford will receive the Edward R. Cooper Award for outstanding high school baseball player;
  • Katarina Polyviou of Cranford will receive the Joseph R. Lombardi Award for outstanding female athlete;
  • Nate Roe of Plainfield will receive the Chris Zusi Award for outstanding male athlete.

Shannon Brogan finished her high school softball career at ALJ with a .425 batting average and 152 hits. The versatile infielder/outfielder helped lead the Crusaders to the Union County championship in 2016 and a return to the tournament in 2017. She plays for Moravian College.

Alanna Namit was named to the Group 3 All-State Team for leading Gov. Livingston in hitting and pitching. She batted .407 with three home runs and 23 RBI’s while compiling a 13-4 record and striking out 162 batters in 116 innings. Alanna now attends The College of New Jersey.

Brian Oblachinski was a stellar shortstop and leadoff hitter for the Cranford High School Cougars last year. He posted a .396 batting average with 33 runs scored and only eight strike outs. Brian stole 15 bases in 15 attempts. He now plays for Montclair State University.

Katarina Polyviou of Cranford is a standout two-sport player at DeSales University. In May, she was named to the Women’s Lacrosse All-MAC Freedom Second Team. The team’s top defender, Kat also added four goals on the offensive end. In the fall, she had a standout season between the pipes posting a 1.31 GAA with 107 saves and six shutouts. She was named to the All-MAC Freedom First Team in field hockey and was a three-time defensive player of the week. Kat was one of six athletes from around the country selected for the Sports Illustrated “Faces in the Crowd” section in the Oct. 16 issue of the magazine.

Gianna Randazza, three-time Union County Player of the Year, graduated as ALJ’s all-time leader in hits (192), runs batted in (179), runs scored (140), triples (17) and home runs (26); and as a pitcher, wins (59), strikeouts (532), and no hitters (5). Gianna now plays for Boston College.   

Nate Roe enjoyed his best season on the mound as a 2017 Atlantic League All-Star with the New Britain Bees. A Rutgers grad, Nate finished the year with a 7-6 record, a save and 60 strikeouts in 79 innings, primarily in relief, after spending the offseason in the Australian Baseball League.

Tickets for the 82nd annual Hot Stove League awards dinner may be purchased online at www.UCBA-NJ.org or by writing to the Union County Baseball Association, PO Box 176, Fanwood, New Jersey 07023.

Information about table reservations and journal ads may be found at: www.UCBA-NJ.org.  For more information call Jim Iozzi, UCBA president, at 908-917-2523.

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