Best Teammate 2009

Bryan Cole

Ameel Johnson

Ken Wlodarczyk

Matt Malloy

Matt Yankowitz

Colin Liberatore

Matt Forman

Bobby Della Polla

Courtney Charles

Best Teammate 2009
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  St. Joseph's Prep's Bobby Della Polla, a baseball player bound for Scranton, was the winner in a close, three-horse race. He collected 42 votes, edging North Catholic baseball player John Hunter (35) and Archbishop Wood baseball student assistant Tom Zulewski  (32). Bobby was the top choice of four of 15 voters. He was No. 2 on three other ballots and appeared on 11 total ballots.
  These guys, aside from Della Polla, Hunter and Zulewski, also received top votes: Ryan's Tom Sottnick, Furness' Sam Byrd, Franklin's Jamel "Redz" Haggins, Roman's Sean Weber, Central's David Kremer and Penn's Emmanuel Pittman. These guys placed as high as second: O'Hara's Matt Cordes, Neumann-Goretti's Joey Armata, West Catholic's Raymond "Syrup" Maples and Judge's Nick Petroski, along with others previously mentioned.
   Thanks to all of our voting participants. Also, like always, I hope everyone who was nominated feels extremely proud. Bobby received his plaque before the Prep's practice on June 3. Click here for some pics.
   -- Ted

Click here to see Best Teammate 2001, Bryan Cole
Click here to see Best Teammate 2002, Ameel Johnson (West Catholic)
Click here to see Best Teammate 2003, Ken Wlodarczyk (Northeast)
Click here to see Best Teammate 2004, Matt Malloy (La Salle)
Click here to see Best Teammate 2005, Matt Yankowitz (Washington)
Click here to see Best Teammate 2006, Colin Liberatore (Bonner)
Click here to see Best Teammate 2007, Matt Forman (Malvern)
Click here to see Best Teammate 2008, Courtney Charles (Gtn. Academy)

   Who is the best teammate in the Public, Catholic or Inter-Ac Leagues? And why?
    Is he always upbeat? Does he never stop hustling? Is he always dependable in the clutch? Does he always know just what to say in dark moments? Does he tell great jokes? Does he set a proper tone in practice?
    Nominations for stars, "mediums" or lesser lights are encouraged. Once again: Only seniors are eligible to win
but anyone (parents, coaches, referees, spectators, etc.) can make nominations. Athletes in any sport are eligible, though I'd imagine the winner will likely come from a sport we cover on a regular basis. 
    We'll take nominations through May 23, then have the squad reach a decision and announce a winner shortly thereafter. I will again spring for a handsome trophy or plaque (winner's choice).

    We ask baseball players to remind basketball and football guys that the contest is on, in case they haven't visited the site in a while.
    We want thoughtful nominations. We will go entirely on what is said in the nominations, not the number of nominations. (I might consult coaches to be sure that everything said about a kid is on the money.)

    Thanks for participating!!
    -- Ted Silary   


Emmanuel Pittman, Penn, football/basketball/baseball

  During my first year as Offensive Coordinator at William Penn I can honestly say that there has been no player more worthy of being named the best teammate for a Philadelphia area school than Emmanuel Pittman. Since I began coaching at Penn in April '08 I have never seen Pittman miss a workout, as he always steps up as a leader for this team. As a three sport athlete he puts those around him on his back everyday making sure his teammates are held accountable for their efforts and attendance. He is consistently the player who knew the offense the best, would line others up around him and keep my head from exploding with mental errors. He also ran the defense from the safety and outside linebacker position. He was a large part in our regular season overtime victory against Dobbins and always our go to guy. He is a coaches player and a player's player, he excelled at every challenge brought to him throughout the season. As a baseball and basketball player he also is a captain and leader. There is never a challenge he faces where he does not uplift all of those around him to become better. Expect more e-mails to come in from others for his nomination because he is the most valuable teammate and player at William Penn High School.
-- Rob Beckey

Jamel "Redz" Haggins, Franklin, football

  I think the 2009 best teammate award should go to Jamel Haggins, ben franklin, linebacker. Jamel is the leader of our team both on and of the field. He is the class of 09 valedictorian at franklin and is a first team all city and second team all state linebacker. He makes sure everyone else on the team is doing what they need to do on and off the field.  He always has a smile on his face and is the first person you can go to talk to when u have a problem. He never gives up on what he starts which sets an example for the rest of us. He is worthy of being the best teammate in this country. He has been me teammate for two years and is the best teammate i have ever had in any sport.
-- Daivon "Big Black" Jackson. #70, Ben Franklin Football

  Jamel "Redz" Haggins, is the perfect person for this award. I've known redz for about 3 1/2 year were apart of a program call kappa league. i attend Dobbins And every year at the homecoming game its been fun playin' against him. He always seems to keep his team focused and that's why he should win.
-- Chris Long #47 Dobbins


Raymond "Syrup" Maples, West Catholic, football

   I see this award every year and i always think of one kid Raymond Maples. As a former teammate i always seen Raymond doing the little thing that make a great teammate. Anyone who has heard of Raymond would probably say he's a super star "on the Field that he", but off the field he is a awesome kid if you take a walk thought the West Catholic lunch room you will see Raymond sitting with the freshman or the so called uncool kids Raymond is truly unlike any other athlete of his caliber he doesn't worry about the cool thing to do he just cares about being a good person. I've been playing football since i was six so I've had a lot of teammates and never have i seen one more worthy of this award. Everybody who has played a sport knows there are some practices you just cant seem to do anything rite I've Had plenty myself that's when a guy like Raymond is there to lift the spirit  quick to come over and give you a smack on the butt and tell you to just relax and hes with you. He's the type of kid who always is going full speed some times you just want to tell him to slow up and take it easy at practice a little, i always joked with him telling him like A.I. said its practice were talking about practice not the game just practice-smile- . I have shared many jokes with Raymond off the Field but Raymond always sets a tone at practice I've seen many of are starters take a play off at practice and they pay for it by Raymond running them over they are then very quick to take practice seriously. I still talk to many of my teammates but none like Raymond, like just the other night i was actually watching a copy of the championship on DVD at around 11 at night when i get a phone call from Maples saying hi buddy i was just thinking about you thought id check in on you, made me tear up. To wrap it up if Raymond Syrup Maples isn't the best teammate i don't know what is the best teammate sure couldn't be human.
-- Aaron Maggio

  I would also have to suggest Raymond Maples as the best Teammate. He is always behind his team 100%. he never looks down on anyone and he always looks to make the team better before even considering himself. Maples and I are very close friends and being around him fours year of my life have been a great honor. Maples will call me every other day just to see how I'm doing and to ask what I'm doing on the weekend. I have come to look at him as more of a brother than a friend. That is why I would have to say he is the best teammate because he is there for you and he will make you comfortable and a better athlete.
-- Eddie Colon
  I think Raymond Maples should get best teammate 2009 because he is a great teammate and even better kid. It was great to play with him he gave me alot of advice and i always wanted to play harder when i saw him because he always plays his heart out. Ray is my man i just hope some day my kids turn out like him. Maples never ask for anything and is always giving. Most people know what he can do on the field but he also does well in the classroom i not only look up to him on the field but also in the classroom. Raymond is your guy for Best Teammate 2009.
-- Chris Palmer
  Raymond Maples is the best teammate for 2009 this kid is the hardest working individual i know. Raymond is such a good teammate im gonna name my son after him this kid is the real deal, hes such a good person. This is the kinda kid u wanna see across from u in the huddle on 4th and inch. Reading what the other guys wrote every word is true. He really deserves to be the best teammate 2009 even though he probally wouldnt want to take the name he would say hes just doing what hes supposed to do. I could go on all night but the deadline is 12 so ill wrap it up. Raymond "Syrup" Maples is not only the best teammate 2009 but maybe of all time Philly sports i cant say enough about the kid.
-- Brandon Terrance

Bobby Della Polla, St. Joseph's Prep, baseball

  Receiving the title of "Best Teammate of the Year" is a very prestigious award to garner.  But when the discussion for this year's recipient begins-it ends with Bobby Della Polla of St. Joe's Prep.  Bobby is the epitome of what a teammate should be.  He brings his contagious upbeat personality and willingness to play the game that he loves to baseball practice and games each day.  Although Bobby has not received, in my opinion, the attention that he deserves on the diamond, he is the man on the bench that never sits on the bench.  He always has his face either pressed up against the fence or has his front foot on the edge of the dirt of our dugout before each and every pitch.  During our pre-game stretches Bobby isn't afraid to crack a joke or share a movie quote from his array of favorite movies (pretty much anything with Will Ferrell).  This is my official nomination for "Best Teammate of the Year"-Bobby Della Polla (a.k.a. Bob Dell, BDP, Teammate of the Year).
-- Perry Russom '09 Prep Baseball
  My name is Jeff Lynch I'm a senior 1B for St. Joe's Prep baseball, and this is my nomination for senior LHP/1B/OF Bobby Della Polla for the 2009 Best Teammate award.  For the last 3 years that I've known Bobby, he has always exemplified what it means to be a teammate.  Although he does not play as much as he would like to, I have never met a more determined or hard working individual than Bobby.  Even when he doesn't play, he never sits on the bench quietly, but rather he is always chatting it up in the dugout cheering on his teammates, and when one of them does well you would think it was him because of how happy he is.  For the past two falls and winters, Bobby and I spent our afternoons in the offseason on the track and in the weightroom, and he always pushed me to be the best player I could be, even though we were competing for a starting job at first base.  Bob also has a great sense of humor and never let the team or himself get down when we struggled this season.  You can always rely on Bob for an inappropriate joke or a hilarious movie quote, a characteristic that makes him truly unique.  Although he didn't mean to be a leader for our team, he was exactly that by leading by example without even knowing it.  Even if he did know about his unintentional leadership, he would shy away from the spotlight because he is humble and selfless.  And that is what a good teammate does.
-- Jeff Lynch #33 SJP Baseball '09
  My name is Danny Turner. I'm senior at the Prep and one of the senior captain's of the Baseball team. I would like to nominate my teammate Bobby Della Polla for the teammate of the year award. Bobby exemplifies all of what it means to be a team player. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever played with and I don't think that I have ever heard him talk poorly about any of our players or anyone else for that matter. In fact he always seems to be praising others for their work or encouraging them to make the next play. Bobby never asks for anything--he works for it. Bobby's quiet leadership has been a huge part in our season and I do not think it should go unnoticed.
-- Danny Turner SJP '09
  Hello there Mr. Silary (smile, haha). I am Ryan Eden SS. for St. Joe's Prep and I would like to nominate "The" Best Teammate of the Year, Bobby Della Polla. So, if you were to look up in the dictionary the word teammate, there should just be a picture of BDP. Bob comes everyday to practice and to our games ready to work hard and do whatever is asked of him. For example, Bob is a senior, and its usually it is the underclassmen that carry the equipment and chase fouls balls at Ashburn, well in Bob's case that doesn’t apply. He is the first one to grab the helmet bag or water, or he will be the first one to run out and get a foul ball, if he is not having a catch trying to stay loose and be ready for whenever he is needed. Bob is in a tough situation with our pitching staff having two All-Catholic starters in Kevin Gillen and Kyle Mullen, who usually throw a complete game, and an All-City first basemen in Jeff Lynch. A lot of people would give up and say, "if I'm not going to start then I'm not going to work hard and be miserable", Bob is the opposite. He is the hardest worker on our team, and by far the most upbeat. As Jeff said earlier, Bob pushed him during the off season to get ready for the season, well he did the same for me. Bob and I both are in Sea Isle during the summer, and he would call me everyday and make sure that I went to workout with him at the gym and then go long toss and run. He makes everyone around him better, and puts the team first always. I know this is turning into a story but anyone could go on forever about what a great kid, teammate, and friend Bobby Della Polla is. He is a true leader of our team whether he is aware of it or not, and his work behind the scenes should not go unnoticed. Thank You for the consideration.
-- Ryan Eden # 25 SS. SJP Baseball '09
  You could not put into words what Bobby does for the baseball team at St. Joe's Prep.  Although Bobby is an outstanding baseball player, he has the unfortunate luck of being slotted behind 2 of the top pitchers in the area, and another top 1st basemen in the area.  Does he ever complain?  Of course not-- we're talking about BDP, the hardest working, most happy-go-lucky kid I've ever had the honor of playing with. For instance, although Bobby does not get a chance to play the field much, in pregame he takes reps at both first base and right field, because he loves playing the game of baseball. When our team wasn't playing to it's potential in the beginning of the season, our team chemistry wasn't in the best state; but Bobby was always there to give the first pick-me-up, the first "shake it off, get em next time."  Bobby doesn't do it for himself, he doesn't do it for an award, he does it for the love of the game and the l ove for his team. Bobby Della Polla, The Perfect Teammate.
-- Sean Murphy, Prep Baseball '09
My name is Gio Morales, better known as the Puerto Rican Speedster. I'm a senior CF at the Prep and one of Bobby's good friends. I would like to nominate my teammate Bobby Della Polla for the teammate of the year award. I feel that he really deserves this honor because of the hard work and countless effort he puts into everything he does. Bobby truly shows us all what it means to be a part of a team. He constantly works hard at what he does and he never gives up. I don't think I've met anyone as determined to getting the job done as I have in Bobby. Being in the tough situation that he is with limited playing time, he always does what is asked of him and knows his part on the team. He has even gone to the extent and practices in the outfield. It just feels great knowing that we have such a great guy on our team. He is always cheering for us and picking us up when we make a bad play. Heck, I think he's the loudest guy on the field at times, and I love the fact that he's so upbeat. The best part about him is his personality. He's such an outgoing, social guy who's always willing to make new friends no matter who you are. He's an overall all-star! I nominate Bobby Della Polla for teammate of the year. Please, don't overlook this resiliant, quiet leader. Juice Box!
Thank You,
-- Gio Morales SJP #21
  I'm getting in touch with you to nominate Bobby Della Polla for teamate of the year. He really is a world-class guy, and I can't think of a more appropriate award for him to receive. He's faced many obstacles and still carries himself in all positive ways, maintaining the utmost respect for others. No one works harder than Bob in the off-season and no one supports his teammates like he does either, this would be the right way for him to end his high school baseball career.
-- Kev Gillen

  No one deserves the award for Best Teammate 2009 more than Bobby Della Polla from The Prep.  This kid has overcome more adversity than anyone his age deserves and has battled back with grace, dignity and compassion.  You will never see Bobby sitting in the dugout "waiting to pitch".  Bobby is the consummate teammate.  If you want to find Bobby at a game, watch for the kid warming up the fielders, retrieving foul balls, amusing his teammates, or hauling buckets of balls to the team bus.  On the off season, look for Bobby every afternoon running laps in the school gym.  His work ethic is unmatched.  You'll also know him because he always has a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone he meets.  He is humble, sincere, always positive, and mentally tough.  The Prep would not be in first place in the Red Division without Bobby's support and encouragement this year.  To paraphrase a quote I read recently, "A great player may or may not improve the group, but a great teammate always does."  There is no "I" in Team and there is certainly no "I" in Bobby.
-- Anonymous Prep Baseball Mom
  I am nominating Bobby Della Polla of Prep Baseball for Best Teammate 2009.  Bobby is always cheering for his teammates while they are in the field and up to bat, no matter what the score is, what inning it is, or what happened in the previous play.  He is the first guy to say “it’s all right, get ‘em next time” to a teammate after he makes a bad play in the field or has a bad at-bat.  He is the first one to chase down a foul ball that is hit out of play and is the first guy to go have a catch with the right or left fielder in between innings.  He frequently carries the equipment bag, ball bucket, or water jug to and from the field at practices and games as well.  Bobby does all of these things because he loves the game and he constantly strives to be the best that he can be at it.  These things may seem little, but it is a great advantage to have a kid like Bobby on your team.  He always seems to be in an optimistic mood no matter what happens and he does all of these things without ever complaining.  Bobby also has a great personality and sense of humor, cracking numerous jokes while stretching and throwing.  Being one of the youngest kids on the team and frequently in need of rides, Bobby offers me one every time without thinking twice about it.  He is one of the nicest, most hardworking kids I know and he is definitely the best teammate that I have ever had the pleasure to play with.  His contributions to our team are immeasurable and we would not be where we are right now if it weren’t for him.  Bobby undoubtedly deserves recognition for being the great teammate that he is.
-- Ray Toto Prep Baseball #20

  My name is Mike Leithead. I’m a senior at St. Joe Prep and I would like to nominate Bobby Della Polla for the 2009 Best Teammate Award. Although I admittedly don’t know much about Bobby the baseball player, I would like to comment on Bobby the basketball player and Bobby the friend. Going into our sophomore year at Prep, Bobby decided to try out for the basketball team and attended all the preseason workouts. Although Bobby might not have been the most athletic or most skilled basketball player, he always did his best, and never failed to keep the mood light with his perpetual humor. Even though Bobby eventually never made the basketball team, he still remained one of our biggest fans, even hiking out to O’Hara during midterm exam week this year for an 8:00 game to be part of a 5 person student section. Overall, Bobby is truly humble and selfless friend and never fails to make your day a little bit better when you run into him. If Bobby is half the teammate that he is a friend, he would be the Best Teammate in Philadelphia.
-- Mike Leithead Prep Basketball ‘09
  My name is Joe Blake and this is my nomination for senior Bobby Della Polla for Best Teammate of 2009. I have had the privilege of knowing Bobby for 3 years, one of them playing JV Baseball, our Sophomore year and I cannot say enough about Bobby's firm sense of character and integrity. While playing ball with him, he always puts the team first. During practice, a game, and as mentioned earlier during the off season, he never gives an effort under 100% in anything he is told to do. For Bobby though, there is no "off season". He is always doing something to improve his pitching and/or hitting, while pushing those beside him to do the same. I strongly believe Bobby is worthy of this very prestigious award, and I know all of his teammates agree with me. Bobby is a true-born leader, and the best of leaders do not neccessarily have to be the most skilled, they just have to care the most. And I am here to tell you that he does. Long live Tony D!!!
--Joe Blake SJP '09
  My name is Mike DeStefano. I’m a junior at the Prep.  I would like to state some reasons why I think Bobby Della Polla is the best teammate of 2009.  He has a great knowledge and instinct for the game.  He is always sharing those great qualities with everyone on the team, whether it is helping correct their flaws or just encouraging them to do their best.  Bobby is especially helpful to the younger players on the team.  His never say die attitude is contagious, and this has carried the Prep through many tough situations.  Bobby conducts himself on and off the field with dignity and pride. He is focused and motivated in everything he does.  Bobby is the first to offer rides to school or to baseball practice without hesitation.  He has a great disposition and a tremendous sense of humor, always giving as much as he gets.  Bobby has been a great inspiration to everyone involved with Prep Baseball.
--Mike DeStefano #16, P, SJP Baseball ‘09
  I would like to nominate Bobby D from St. Joe's Prep for "The Teammate of the Year." I am a junior on the Prep's varsity squad and this was my first year up at this level. Bobby was the guy that really went out of his way to make me feel like I was apart of the team. Bob spent time talking with me and answering the millions of questions I had about the team and how things were run on varsity. But the best thing Bobby did for me was lead by example. I learned from the way he carried himself on the team.
He knew when to joke around and build camaraderie, but he also knew when it was time to be serious. I know for a fact that Bobby made me a better teammate without
even knowing it. And to me that's the best thing a guy can do, make his teammates around him better, and that's what Bob did for us.
-- Tyler Veterano '10
  I'm writing you because I believe my teammate Bobby Della Polla should win the award for teammate of the year. As a fellow relief pitcher with Bobby we have both witnessed the impressive seasons that Kevin Gillen and Kyle Mullen have had. Because Bobby is a senior along with Kyle and Kev he really does not see the amount of time he deserves. However, I have never seen Bobby depressed, sad or ever give up. If you want to know what type of kid Bobby is come to one of our games where you will see him chase every single foul ball and cheer for every player. I think I even saw him retrieve a foul ball that landed on I-95 behind our field. Bobby has been a great role model for me as well as the other underclassmen because he never gives up. He not only is a great guy on the field but an exceptional one off as well. He is actively involved in many service trips the school has to offer as well as many other activities. Bobby devotes large amounts of time to working out, and practicing just because he wants the team to do well. I am sure there is no other teammate quite like Bobby.
-- Patrick Carbone '09 Prep Baseball

Tom Sottnick, Ryan, basketball

  I would like to nominate Archbishop Ryan Sr. Tom Sottnick for the 2009 Best Teammate award.  Tsott , as he's better known to our basketball team, was the BEST teammate in all of Philadelphia High School sports not only this past season but during my 3 years with him at Ryan.  Tsott was never the best, most athletic, or even the best looking (smile) by any stretch of the imagination, but there was always just something about him.  Tom was never the superstar of our JV or Varsity teams but he always came to work, knowing that he had to earn each and every minute of playing time.  Tommy was never slated to be a 20+ minute guy on the court but you could never tell that by watching him practice.  He always pushed guys that were ahead of him on both JV and Varsity.  Tom never let a lack of playing time change his approach in practice, he also never let his good games go to his head.  He was always right back out there the next day working harder and harder.  Tom's work on the court is not the reason he was the best teammate, it was his unbelievable sense of humor.  Tom found humor in the most stressful situations, and rarely was there a time when Tom didn't have a smile.  Tom was always cracking knock-knock and other kinds of jokes with the players and coaches before practice.  Along with this Tom was also more than welcoming to any incoming Freshmen or new players to the team.  Tsott was always one of the first guys to welcome people to the program.  I remember my freshmen year during a terrible thunderstorm Tom and I walking to Wendy's fighting the elements because Tom wasn't about to let me go on my own.  Tom was always looking out for other, always putting the team ahead of himself.  Tommy Sottnick was more than a teammate to all those he played with during his 4 years at Ryan, he was a friend.  I feel privileged to have been able to be not only a teammate of Tom's, but a good friend too.  This is why I think Tom Sottnick was the best teammate of 2009. 
-- Anthony "Mags" Magallanes AR Basketball #5

Tom Sottnick is hands down the best teammate I have ever played with.  I met him four years ago playing freshman basketball.  From then on, I realized exactly what it meant to come out everyday and work as hard as you can.  He was never the fastest or the most athletic kid on the court, but he had one thing many people lack, heart.  During practice he pushed everyone from start to finish, especially me.  Almost every practice, I would be covering Tom or he would be covering me and I can tell you that his effort truly developed me.  I owe a lot of my success to him.  He played as hard as he possibly could forcing me to play just as hard.  Had Tom not been around, I don’t think our basketball team would have been as good.  He was not only the hardest worker, but he was the heart and soul of our team.  He was always there with a joke to lighten the mood or the first one to tell you to pick your head up after a tough game.  Tom took advantage of every opportunity he was given and was always ready to contribute to the team in any way possible.  Tom Sottnick is my nomination for the best teammate award, and I feel he truly deserves this honor.
-- Jerry Smith  AR Basketball/Baseball '09
The obvious pick for teammate of the year is Tom Sottnick, a senior member of the Raiders basketball team.  Ask anyone involved with Ryan sports or the Ryan community about Tommy and before any words are spoken a smile comes to their face.  That is just the type of person he is.  Now I was not a member of the basketball team but always being in the gym I sat in on almost every practice this year and no one, I mean no one was able to match Tom's sense of humor or his work ethic.  Everyday he was in the weight room working hard to get stronger and at practice pushing everyone to get better. Just doing his part to help his team anyway he could.  Weather that was playing Jerry Smith very tough on the post or helping some underclassman who was having a bad practice by either teaching them something or making them life.  He is not the best player on the team but he knows his role, to be a great teammate and I can assure you no one does it better then Tom Sottnick.
-- Tim Ott
Ryan Senior

Nick Petroski, Judge, baseball

  Having my brother the Father Judge Baseball Team Captain is pretty cool. I can honestly say, that there is no other athlete that deserves the best teammate award for a Philadelphia area school more than my brother, Nick Petroski. Since my brother has been on the Varsity Baseball Team, I never seen him so determined to become great. He is a senior, great leader and teammate. He never has anything bad to say about anyone. He comes to his Judge games physically and mentally ready for game time. He is so upbeat and he is a total example of the word "teammate". He isn't looking for glory but to get the job done on the field. After every game my dad always asks my brother, "Nick, did you think that was an All-Catholic game?" He simply replies, "There is always room for improvement and I don't have a say in that, I go out there and try to get the job done." Our family has a house in Sea Isle and we go to the beach everyday, Nick always has a catch with me. Even if one of his teammates strikes out or makes an error, Nick is always there encouraging them to keep their heads up and make the next play. The whole off season and season, he is always coming home late from the weight room. He is always helping me also, when he goes up to Extra Innings he lets me tail along and tells me what I am doing wrong. He brings the love and passion to every game and puts it all on the field. He knows when there is time to joke and time to be serious, when there is time to joke around he is always the first one to crack a joke and make people laugh. Nick never misses a game or practice and is the most unselfish player on this Judge Baseball Team. Nick totally deserves this award and I know that for a fact, he cares more about the welfare of the team than himself. That is why Nick deserves this award more than anyone else!
-- Eric Petroski (Nick's brother)

John Hunter, North Catholic, baseball

  i would like to nominate John hunter for the best teamate award because he is hands down the craziest, funniest, weirdest, and best teammate i ever had.  In the beginning of the year him and 2 other seniors were told that they weren't going to get to much playing time and hardly any at all, and the other 2 people quit, John said "no i want to be on the team with my boys".  Last year he tried out and didn't make it but he was at every single game on the first base line messing with the other team.  He may not be the most athletic but he is one of my best friends and LOVED by most of north.  He got his first at bat this year against st. raymond's from the bronx in a scrimmage game at La Salle university and we were down 2 with first and second and hunter came up and doesn't he hit a go ahead triple, then later that inning he made an identical play that chase utley made in the world series last year.  He's not only a good guy on the field he's one of my best friends.  But on the field it's crazy what he can do to a person, you never hear a negative remark from him, its either good work or keep it up or you have more at bats, whatever it is he has your back for it and will always try to cheer you up.  That's why i think John Hunter should be Best Teammate.
-- Mike "Zoom" Zolk
  I nominate John Hunter as best teammate of the year.  He was told at the beginning of this season that he wasn't going to play.  Even after that news every game he is upbeat, making everyone laugh, and keeping the teammate up and ready to play.  He never has anything bad to say about a teammate, he is our team spirit, and is always the loudest person on our bench.  Every pitch he is yelling encouraging things to his teammates.  John Hunter is the definition of a great teammate.
-- North Catholic
  In all my years of playing the sport of baseball I have always looked to my teammates for help, inspiration, and encouragement.  During my first three years at North Catholic John Hunter has always been there to help me in any way possible.  Whether it was the error I made the inning before or the bad practice I had that afternoon John was always there to help me get through it.  John lifts the spirits of the entire team.  Whether we are down by ten or up by ten Johns voice is always heard on the field.  When thinking about North baseball John Hunter is one of the first people to pop into your head.  Just because he does so much to make his team and himself better.  In my opinion these are the top qualities of a best teammate, and John has all of the them.
-- Nick Cancelliere  (north catholic junior)
  I coached John Hunter during his first two years at North.  We could have cut him, but didn’t.  We saw a quality in him that you don’t often see in a young man of 14 or 15 year old.  John had that “let’s go get em” type of spirit about him.  When he was on the field, he always played with lots of heart and determination.  When he was on the bench, he was a non-stop cheering section for his teammates.  Whether up by 10 or down by 10, John always tries to lift the spirit of his teammate.  This season, as a spectator at games, I still see those qualities in John that I saw as a freshman and sophomore.  Nobody deserves this honor more than John Hunter.  He really understands what it means to be a teammate.
-- Tim Murphy
Former NC Baseball Coach

  In my nomination for teammate of the year you won't read about various accolades like all-catholic or all-city. You won't read about any eye popping stats or unbelievable talent. The reason you won't read any of those things is because what John Hunter does for North Catholic Baseball doesn't show up in the scorebook. John's love of the game is unmatched and his selflessness and determination to do whatever it takes to help his teammates succeed is incredible. In a lot of the nominations you see words like character and dedication, many people use these words as a punch line, but for john they are the words he lives by. In a year that has been pretty successful for the team as a whole, there is no doubt in my mind that without this kid on our team we would not be where we are right now. I have so much respect for someone who can know they are most likely not going to play but will still come to the field every day and bust it for his team. Our team has had some pretty memorable moments this year with games including walk off wins and back and forth dog fights but one game stands alone as what I will remember this season. Actually it is one at bat, in a non-league game John got an at bat and hit a shot of a go ahead triple late in the game to give us the win. John hitting that triple was better than anything I could personally do on the field, and the rest of the team agreed because that hit got him the loudest ovation of the year by far.  I am honored to call John hunter my teammate and also one of my best friends.
-- Bob Hopkins

  When it comes down to what the best teammate is made of, the words character, dedication, and determination spring to mind. John Hunter is the first person to pop into my head when I heard of this contest. Although John does not get much playing time, his dedication to his team is unexplainable. I have seen John filled with so much courage for the past four years. He is the teammate who does the behind the scenes work. John is the one offering the encouraging words like great job or you'll get em next time kid. He lifts everyone's spirit, on and off the field. John deserves this recognition because he is the spitting image of a great teammate. A man filled with courage, friendship, and love for his team and the sport of baseball.
-- Anonymous
I would like to nominate John Hunter for best teammate. I have a son who plays baseball with John and I also do the scorebook for North. I have observed John throughout the year and have been blown away by his dedication to his team and teammates. North baseball has had it's ups and down this year like any baseball team, but John's attitude and determination to see his team succeed is inspiring. Although his playing time has been limited he is always prepared to encourage his team. Having a team of underclassmen his leadership has been incredible. His encouragement to teammates and perfect timing on when to tell a goofy joke is outstanding. Even though he made fun of my baby blue coat I still think he would be a wonderful choice for your award.
-- Robert Hopkins, Sr.
  When my then eighth-grade son was considering North Catholic, we began to attend Falcon baseball games.  I didn't know John Hunter from any other player on the team, and yet I never forgot John Hunter.  During every game we sat through, there was John with a huge smile on his face and a word of encouragement or praise for his teammates.  I have come to know John Hunter better over this past season.  John is always the first one off the bench to greet his boys when they come in from the field and rev them up for their at-bat, and he's always at the cage to give a pep talk when someone comes back from an unsuccessful plate appearance.  John cheers the loudest and claps the longest when any good things is accomplished.  He is excitement personified! My son and John have been teammates for the last two years now, and John is the heart and soul of our team.  I'm so glad that John is a part of Falcon baseball and that my son, Brendan, had the chance to be a part of the same team.
-- Terry Bradley, Falcon mom
  I would like to nominate John Hunter. I have been a spectator at North baseball games for 2 years now. John Hunter was the first young man to approach me. He has always been extremely welcoming and considerate. It is always John's voice that I hear the loudest when his team is up to bat. John is always the first kid to say, "good game" or "we'll get them next time" to his teammates. He stays positive and encouraging at all times. He is dedicated, hardworking, and determined. John makes it a point to say hello to everyone at every game, extending his great great team spirit in every way imaginable. He's truly a great kid, and if his behavior is indicative of North Catholic then I am proud to say I am an avid supporter of the great team.
-- anonymous
  During my four years as a baseball player at North I have never come across a teammate nor should I say “great friend” as John Hunter. I know that receiving the award of “best teammate” would mean the world to him. John was never in the starting lineup but always had a fire in him that pumped everyone else up. Even though John did not play as much as his heart desired, he was always working as hard as he could with no complaints. Sometimes this season our team had our low points and everyone was feeling down, then we would just look upon Hunter to get our sprits back. After ruff team meeting, he would be the first text message I would always receive with words of wisdom. Right before our games John would pump up the team making us all want to go out and fight for a win. Not one time this year have I ever seen John sitting down on the bench, he was always screaming and losing his voice just for the good of the team. There are those people out that are only in it for themselves but this man John Hunter is not one of them, he is a man who wants the whole team to do good and succeed. John would do any thing for you on and off the field. There is no one like Hunter in the locker room, if it was his serious speech or one of his many funny one liners. John Hunter is the definition of a teammate and the North baseball team was so lucky to have him on the squad this year. Words can not really explain how much John changed my view on baseball and over all life.
-- Matt Reed

My name is Ted Smith.  As you know I have been playing and coaching baseball for more than 34 years.  I couldn't be more proud to nominate John Hunter from North Catholic for Teammate of the Year.  In all my years I have never seen a teammate who brings an energy, a commitment level, and a desire to the game.. A person that picks everyone up.  He is matched with no one I have ever been associated with in baseball.  He genuinely cares about each individual on our team and the game itself.  When given the opportunity to play, whether it be practice or a game, John always gives 100% and always with a smile.  Through all the ups and downs during our 2009 season, I could always look over my right shoulder at John and a smile would come over my face for what he brings to the team.
-- Ted Smith
  I would like to nominate John Hunter for best teammate for 2009 simply because he is just a stellar young man.  Young people today have a sense of “all about me” and “what can you go for me” but that is not John Hunter at all.  John is all about the team and not the individual.   While some kids opt to quit when they don’t get to play every game or play the positions they want, John knew going into the season what his role was going to be and he accepted it like a man and never complained, gave attitude or became a poison to a team that is full of young and impressionable underclassmen.  He is without a doubt a unique individual, but in such great and wonderful ways.  His spirit is electric and contagious.    Having the best stats looks good on paper, but what is the glue to a team is character and leadership and that is John Hunter.  He is a voice heard from the bench to the field to the stands – and it’s always positive and encouraging.  Oh yeah, and the fact that he actually knows the words to old school music is a big plus too!
-- Diane Zolk
  I nominate John Hunter for teammate of the year. John has been a positive and inspirational leader on our team all year. John somehow found it in himself as a Sr on a Soph loaded team , to stay around and fulfill his role as a team leader perfectly. He knew full well going into this season that his role as a player would be limited at best. John is a coaches dream,100% Effort, Cheering, Picking guys up every day. Never has a bad thing to say about anyone. Batting Practice while some guys are complaining about not getting enough swings or dogging it so not to have to help pick up baseballs, John's always there to help, 1st guy picking them up, last guy to hit. John always put the starters 1st even though most were younger, he totally knew his role and played it perfectly. I could go on forever about him,but i'll just give one more example of how John makes everyone, even adults happy to know him. I work 3rd shift and pick the kids up at school for home games, I get to school after sleeping 2 hours, the kids all pile in my car. John notices that i'm not my loud and usually exciting self. He starts to rub my BALD HEAD! And proceeds to be my therapist. TALK TO ME MR.ZOOM, WHAT'S A MATTER, YOU KNOW YOU'RE MY BOY! THEN HE PROCEEDS TO INVITE ME TO SPEND A SLEEPOVER WITH HIM AND HIS 18 YEAR OLD BOYS DOWN THE SHORE! This instantly changed my entire mood and outlook on the whole day! My only regret for John Hunter's Baseball days at North Catholic is that he was not a team captain! However, John, I know you will read these letters, and I want you to know that in Mr. Zoomz eyes, You are the best TEAMMATE AND CAPTAIN ANYONE COULD HAVE! You should be proud of yourself! Thanks for being my Teammate and for letting me be YOUR BOY!

Sam Byrd, Furness, baseball

  Hello, my name is Christopher Trainor, and I play baseball for Furness.  My vote for teammate of the year is Samuel Byrd.  There are hundreds of reasons anybody would pick him for this award, but the biggest is not his baseball ability, monster bat, or cannon for an arm, but for his dogged determination, leadership skills and relentlessness on the diamond.  Although he is a very skilled athlete and has great power, he is by far a leader to our team on and off the field.  He is the one that always cheers for his teammates and encourages them.  He is the one that takes the time to explain to you how a certain pitcher is pitching, or how a certain batter is hitting.  Sam always sticks up for his team and tries to rally us when we are down.  Sam always plays his hardest whether we are up 10 or down 10.  Sam is an inspiration to everyone on the team and we are sad that he will be gone soon, and this just seems like a fitting award to our best teammate and friend.
-- Chris Trainor
  My nomination for best teammate thi= Byrd from Furness High School.  When I was told I could only play baseball for Furness this year, I won't lie, I was nervous.  But who am I to judge anyone or anything, plus I was going to play for anyone who gave me an opportunity to.  I was nervous about playing with people who I didn't know, but they had the harder part by welcoming a stranger.  They took me right in, and accepted me, giving me a nickname and treating me like their brother.
  Among the players was senior Sam Byrd.  Myself being a freshman, he treated me no different than anyone else and soon became one of my best friends.  Sam was the face, the voice, the backbone, the heart and soul of our team.  Sam is always into every pitch of every game, whether he is on deck, or playing third, but when he pitches we let him know we are behind him.  Sam picks teammates up when they're down or lets them know what they might have done wrong the previous play.  But he will also be the first one to pat them on the back.  He always has a smile on his face, and never lets anyone bring him down.  He plays the game hard and respects every part of the game.  Even though tragedy has struck this team two years in a row with a family member death and a student death, Sam still had the courage and heart to come out and play for his school.  Sam is always trying to better himself in every aspect he can.  Sam was our Pete Rose sort of, he was a player coach.  One day our coach had to run an errand after he dropped the equipment off and told us he would be right back.  From the time he left to the time when he got back, which wasn't too long, but for that time Sam told us if we want some infield/outfield he would fungo to us.  He did a nice job.  I would have never thought by playing a couple months with any group of guys I could become so close to them and become best friends.  Sam isn't just my teammate, he is my great friend, who I hope to remain friends with for the rest of my life.  Sam Byrd is not just a good athlete, he is a good all around person.
When I think of Sam's leadership skills, three quotes come to mind to help describe his great skill.  A man named Harold R. McAlindon once said, " Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."  John Quincy Adams once said, " If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."  And Martin Luther King Jr. once said, " The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  A kid like Sam Byrd is someone everyone would want to be friends with and someday meet, because he would do anything for you.
  I think he is well deserving of this accolade, and so are many players in this city.  Treasures are often found in places you wouldn't expect it.  Even if Sam does not win, I just wanted to show the great person that Sam is.  I will forever be fortunate, thankful, and grateful to have played with a kid like Sam, who has taught me many things.  Thanks.
-- Joey Gorman (Furness Baseball 2009)
  I would like to tell you a little bit about the MAN known to his teammates as Byrd.  It has been both my honor and pleasure to have met such a wonderful young MAN.  Not just a great ball player, but a wonderful human being.  His statistics this year (4-0 with two no hitters, and a .600 avg) pale in comparison to his unbelievable character and determination as a MAN.
     Last season Sam was faced with news that no one should ever have to hear.  A phone call came to his house that his older brother Tony had been shot and murdered while coming home from work.  I felt devastated for both Sam and his family.  I truly didn't know if  I would see him again on the field, however I didn't how strong a MAN this was.  The day after his brothers passing, he showed up to field ready to play.  His heart was heavy, his body language was solemn.  He told me that he wasn't planning on playing, but after talking with his Mom, she convinced him that Tony would want him to play.  All he did was lead the team to a 9-1-1 record (0-11 prior season), and a spot in the playoffs. Sam had showed myself and his teammates that in the darkest of times the sun could shine its light from above.
     The Furness family was again struck by death this year when one of our students collapsed and died after running in a charity fundraising event in the middle of our season.  The next day I received a phone call from AD Dave Connolly that the players on the team wanted to honor their fallen classmate by wearing black wristbands for the remainder of the season, and dedicate every game to is passing. It was Sam's idea. He appeared at the next game wearing a button with the picture of his classmate over his heart as a reminder that baseball was just game, and that Alvin would always be remembered.  Sam pitched that day, he graciously placed the wristband in his back pocket as not to be a distraction to the hitters. He pitced a no hitter. It was for is classmate.
     Life teaches us many lessons in life.  There are some things that people experience in life that causes them to grow up faster than others.  I walk away this season knowing that a young MAN named Sam Byrd will be a great person.  His athletic achievements will be secondary to his life achievements.  He has become a great leader and teammate in the worst and best of times. This world would be such a better place if there were a MILLION Sam Byrds in it.
-- Coach Weinstein

Adam Nowak, Judge, football

  Although i have not had the joy of playing with Adam Novak of Father Judge Football team for year i have had the joy of practicing with him for about a month due to the all star game Adam is the type of person to help you with everything even when you dont think you can do it he will tell you that you can and he is a great person and football player
-- Terence Johns #11, Dougherty football

Eric Garced, Franklin Learning Center, baseball

  I want to nominate Eric Garced as the Best Teammate of 09, and if I could I would have for last year but you can only be a senior once. I been playing baseball since I was little and have played on many teams and a lot of other plays of different skill levels, ages, and most of all mentality of the game we call baseball. Now out of all the years of playing baseball iv been lucky to have "E" play by my side for 2 years now whether he is in the out field cheering on for us or in the anywhere in the infield clapping it up for out pitcher and getting the batter out of focus. His skill is used all over the field. He is that player we can depend on to get us outta the whole that we dig ourselves into sometimes on and off the field. On the field he is pitching that full count pitch, curve ball low outside to get the last out and put him in the book for the win, off the field he is there not as a teammate any more but as a friend to help us through our problems but more importantly as family member, like he told us "We all need to stick together because were like a big family." He pushes us to do our best and only our best because that's what Bobcats do. Eric is pretty good at hiding his emotions and not letting things get to him to much because after everything baseball is just a game that we play to have fun. He keeps us hype throughout the game and keeps us calm when we don't like the call from the Ump. As of today, Wednesday, May 13 the FLC Bobcats season is over and but if it wasn't for Eric we wouldn't be where we were today in the AA semi-Finals. Losing the game gave me a bad feeling but after the game watching Eric walk away was one of the worst things I every saw not because we lost but because it was his last game and he deserved more then this. It was the 1st time I saw so much emotion in his face, and it really brought me to tears a little bit. We cant go back and play again but I can tell you how good my year playing with E has been and ho w that I wish I could play by his side for just one more year to get more experience from him but I cant. But most importantly I can tell you that no one deserves this more that him. Thanks for the 2 years E.
-- Martin "Dingo" Quinn [#15] OF

Sean Weber, Roman, baseball

  My name is CJ Appenzeller and I'm a junior center fielder at Roman Catholic High School. I believe that best teammate of 2009 should go my teammate Sean Weber. Web at first glance is not necessarily "Best Teammate" material, but after you spend some time around our team you know immediately that he is the perfect candidate. Web is always upbeat and keeps everybody in the game. Along with emotionally leading us and keeping us in the game he is also a clutch performer. His record may not show it but, Web dominates while on the mound and always has confidence in his team to pick him up when he doesn't perform. On top of these in game accomplishments Web always keeps the team loose in practice and before gametime. Web's calls are top notch and always lighten the mood when someone's pressing. In conclusion, I believe Sean Weber not only deserves the best teammate of the year for 2009 but, that this award was made for him.
-- CJ Appenzeller
  For the best teammate of the year, I would like to nominate Sean Weber. The way he pushed our team the second half of the year was like nothing I have ever seen before. After a crushing loss to Judge 11-1 on our home field, we fell to 1-6. Most teams would have quit and bagged the rest of the season. However, because of Web and his leadership abilities, we were able to turn it around. He was serious when he needed to be, cracked a joke at the right times, and most importantly never let our team give up. After a few wins (thanks to Web's leadership and pitching abilities), we were back in the playoff hunt. Then we played Ohara. Because it was a must win, Webb talked to Coach T and told him to "shake things up". On the bus, Coach chewed us out and we won our best game all year,  16-15. Without Webb, this may never have happened. He was the consummate team leader and player. This final quote sums up Web and the confidence he had in our team: 
  “You don’t even need to have the best guys,” Weber concluded.  “As a team, we don’t stop.  We’re not gonna quit — ever.  That’s what I love about this team.  That’s why I feel like nobody’s gonna beat us.” -- Sean Weber
-- Cody Yoka

Matt Cordes, O'Hara, baseball

Matt Cordes of Cardinal O’Hara baseball without a doubt deserves the Best Teammate of 2009 award. Matt is the most energetic and upbeat player I have ever been honored to have on any of my teams. He is not only into the games and keeps everyone motivated but keeps the practices upbeat and smooth. I have never heard a bad word said about one of our players come out of his mouth. He h as the most confidence in everyone one on our teammates and expected everyone to have confidence in him. Our team has confidence in him. If we were down bad he would let you know why the game had 7 innings and that we were never out of it. He can always say a good joke to help you forget about your mistakes and keep playing your game. He is not only a good teammate on the field but also off the field. I was struggling with a couple classes in school and could have possibly lost the eligibility to play. Matt knew this and is in my homeroom. He quizzed me on my two classes every day during homeroom to make sure I could be a part of the team and help contribute.  He helped me get better grades in school and I could play on the team which was a selfless act that I will never forget. Matt deserves this award for being himself and never letting our team down.
-- Sean Coogan

  Matt Cordes is not only a friend, but a hard working athlete that puts his teammates first. Matt is the first person to practice and the last to leave. He claims he is the head of our grounds crew. Although matt didn’t get the playing time he wanted, he was always keeping the spirits high on the bench. He may be one of the goofiest kids you will ever meet, but that was never a problem for our team. Matt was a 3 year JV player before making the varsity squad. He loves the guys around him and would do anything for us. Although we had a tough year record-wise, we had great team chemistry and always had fun. Always quick with an amusing, most times random joke, Cordes was at the heart of our team unity. On a day Matt was scheduled to start, you would still see him riding the tractor, raking the field, filling the coolers, always having fun. Matt Cordes aka the batting practice Home Run King would be a deserving pick for Best Teammate in 2009. Jerky! My pal Matty C
-- Mark Banes
  I met Matt Cordes this year when I tried out for the O’Hara baseball team and we both made varsity. I did not play baseball last year, so I did not get the pleasure of meeting him last year like the rest of the guys. When I first met Matt I thought he was a little crazy and had no idea what to think of him. After getting to know him I still think he’s a little crazy but I also realized that he was the heart of our team. He would always keep our spirits up in games (some that were not even close) by cheering all the time. He even keeps our spirits up after tough losses on the bus rides home with his jokes, stories, or just by his good attitude. No matter how weird or random his cheers were, he never stopped cheering for every single one of us on the team this year. Matt is a very likable person and can make friends with anyone, even opposing players during games. Everyone on the team is in a good mood when they are around Cordes, whether it be during practice or during games. Matt was always the first one to the field this year for practice and games, and would always help where help was needed. He is also a good pitcher who loved pitching whenever he got the chance. Matt is a great kid, who loves the game of baseball, loves making people laugh, and most of all loves helping the team however he can; even if that means by cheering as loud as he can every game. As a junior I can speak for the rest of us juniors in saying that nobody will ever replace Matt on our team and next year won't be the same without him. That is why Matt Cordes should be the best teammate of the year; because he was there to speak up and help us, now it is our turn to speak up and help him.
-- Bob Boyle Cardinal O’Hara '10
  Matt Cordes.... what else can I say, Matt is always one of the first to practice and by far the last one to leave practice because well after practice he jumps on the tractor and drags the field because he claims he is the grounds crew and loves doing it. Before every home game even if he knows he is not playing ,Cordes gets all the bags out spray paints them lets them dry and puts them all in to make the field look perfect. Cordes played 3 years of JV ball at O'hara and never once complained about his playing time or not being on varsity, he just took it in stride and went about his business. Cordes made the varsity team this year and was very excited just to be on the team, he wasnt even concerned about playing time he just wanted the best for our team. Matt has a nickname for everyone on our team and some how i got stuck with about 4 that i can think of "babygirl" , "silly" , "silly pache" or "silladelphia" , and he would use them all not just one. He is the one I look for upon returning to the bench after a strikeout or an error in the field, because he is always there to say something completely wild and off topic ( especially on WILD WEDNESDAYS) to make me forget about what happened completely and worry about the next at bat. Ive never played with anyone in my entire life with more energy on the bench and in the field even if were down 20 he is there to have fun because thats what the game of baseball is about, and he knows how to be wild and loose, but yet he knows when its go time and he can get the whole team going in a matter of seconds. One of the things im going to miss next year moving on to college, is Cordes.... ridding  the tractor up our hill before dragging the field on gamedays , yelling the weirdest things that have nothing to do with the game but somehow get us motivated, his dancing on the bus, him always making friends on the other teams, and most of all NEVER complaining about any of it. In my mind, this is a guy every team wishes they had, and iam so glad that Matt was on my team in my last year at O'Hara because it was by far the best year i could have asked for even though our record didnt show for it, but our team had the most fun out on the diamond and it was all because of my friend and teamate Matt Cordes.
-- Bill Pace
  Matt Cordes is probably the best teammate that I have ever been able to share the field with. He is always keeping me in the game while I am riding the pine and always motivating me to keep working hard until I see the field. He always tries to help everybody on the field especially the underclassman. One game he might of got pulled out of a game to early and could have been upset about it but instead he had faith in another pitcher on the team to get the job done. Without Matt, it would of even been a tougher season to go through this year. He is always keeping practices fun and helping us with our game, especially bunting.
-- John DiGregorio
  Matt Cordes should be strongly considered for the best teammate for 2009.  As a coach who has had the opportunity to have Matt on my squad for the past three years, I can unequivocally say that he is the straw that stirs the drink. Whether it is at practice or during the games (regardless if he is  playing that day or not), his voice, inspiration, determination, spirit, and enthusiasm can be contagious.  The energy that he brings each and ever time that the team gets together, motivates us all to display the same energy and enthusiasm through our actions. Our practices become more upbeat, intense, productive, and dare I say, more enjoyable. His raw emotions, worn on his sleeve, are transparent in his demeanor with his fellow athletes. He does things for the team that extend far beyond the game of baseball.  If he is struggling in the field during a game, he assumes total responsibility for his performance.  When others are struggling, he, as a team member, shares the burden of responsibility and helps alleviate any frustration through his actions.  His constant "chatter" and positive attitude tend to prevent frustrations from becoming detrimental to the teams performance or moral. There has never been a practice or game where at one time I did not smile or laugh at something that Matt had said or done.  If he were ever absent from a practice, you did not have to ask who was missing, you could tell. It was quiet. Planet Cordes, as a graduating senior, you will be missed.
-- Coach Meehan
  The best teammate of 2009 should be Matt Cordes of the Cardinal O'Hara baseball team. Matt may not play every day but you would never know by his energy. He is always upbeat and can relive the tension in tight spots. He always gave it everythinghe had and when he played he left it all on the field. Matt was the best team player i have ever seen. He didn't care about playing time as long as we won. So that is why Matt should be the best teammate of 2009.
-- Jeff O'Reilly #18 Cardinal O'Hara baseball
  I have played football, basketball, and baseball almost all my life and have never had a better teammate than Matt Cordes.  Matt is someone who makes practice fun, but also motivates you to play as hard as you can at all times.  Matt at sometimes was the sole reason our field looked good on gamedays.  He took it upon himself to always run the tractor and took great pride in the way the field looked.  Matt is one of my best freinds at O'Hara and is someone I can count on for help on and off the field.  He is the kind of friend and teammate who would give you the shirt off his back.  I am going to miss Matt more than anything next year and I wish him the best of luck at Moravian.
-- Greg Monastra #25
O'Hara Baseball
Matt Cordes should definitly be the best teammate of 2009.  Every day he showed up with a positive attitude, even though Im sure he wanted to play more than he did (he never complained about his playing time). Matt rode the tractor around the infeild everyday, raked the mound and helped anyway he could in keeping the field in good shape.  He was always upbeat and yelling funny comments during practice, something that helped keep our team positive in a tough season.  Im a junior and I can't imagine next year being as fun without him on the team.  He danced on bussrides, even joked around with the freshman and JV teams, and made friends with other teams (especially the Ryan kids).  One inning he pitched he gave up more than a couple runs, but when we got back into the duggout he was the kid yelling the loudest and encouraging our hitters to get hits and runs.  Matt not only became a good friend of mine, but most likely the best teammate I will ever have.
--  Pat Greeley, Ohara Baseball
  Matt Cordes truly deserves the Best Teammate of 2009 Award. On and off the field, Matt praises his teammates and is always positive no matter what the situation. I will always remember him for his wild antics such as driving his car up behind the dugout and blasting music to pump us up before home games.  His random cheers, such as “Nacho Cheese,” “Gary Guy,” “The Dill,” and “Baby girl” always found a way to keep our team upbeat and relaxed during our games.  Matt also was an expert of field maintenance and showed it with his unbelievable tractor performances before practices and games. He called the tractor “His Baby” and even jumped it with his car a couple of times. Matt never complained about playing time and was always the first to pick up a teammate after a difficult game or play. When he played, he did all he could to help the team. (Even if we needed a diving back flip to reach first base on a bunt) Matt could change the spirit of the team with one word and helped us get back in the game. Our team would not have been the same without Matt Cordes and he definitely has earned the Best Teammate of 2009 Award.

- Andrew Onimus

Lorenzo Adams, Washington, football

  I would like to nominate Mr Lorenzo Adams from George Washington on the football team. I am the teammate of  "ZO". This is my first year here at George Washiington High School and I met Zo at summer workouts. He is a great friend to everyone on the team. He is a hard worker and a great player. He was my first friend when I joined the team back in July and he immediately began helping learn. He took his own time to help me understand the plays and the defensive scheme. He gave everyone support and was the type of player who made everyone around him better. Even in the school he was a mentor to both teammates and just classmates. When he had got caught up in a dangerous accident and was hospitalized, the entire school reached out to be a friend and aid with his return. Zo is a great leader by example and his actions both on and off the field and a even better person to be around.
-- Elijah Douglas Jr.

Phil Thomas, Chestnut Hill Academy, football/track

  I sat here and tried to think of someone to nominate for the Best Teammate 2009, and I couldn't think of anyone else except Phil Thomas. I had the pleasure of playing football and running (outdoor) track with Phil freshmen year and this year. He always makes the sport more fun for everyone and never fails to crack a joke to keep a smile on everyone's face. This football season he was injured with a dislocated elbow for our first 3 games, and we missed him very much in terms of his football ability as well as his team spirit. He was our pump-up guy in every single game whether he was sidelined with a sling or on the field playing his heart out (in a ridiculous robocop-elbow-wrap-cast-thing). Being 5'10'' 195 pounds at D-end, watching him hold his ground and most of the time being very successful against 280 pound offensive tackles not only made our defense very tough, but also fueled the rest of the defense's fire. On the track he was one of our captains this season and always led verbally and by example. His 6'8'' high jump ability gave him All-American Status for this year and inspires our team in every meet to watch him dominate his competition week after week. Phil's also a member of our national qualifying/school record 4x1 team and our school record 4x4 team. He deserves this award more than anyone I know and it's only right that he receives it.
-- Danny Gallagher, Chestnut Hill Academy '11

Tom Zulewski, Wood, baseball (student assistant)

  People can search and search, but they will not find a better team mate than Tom Zulewski. Although Tom is a team assistant, He is just as much a part of the Archbishop Wood baseball team as everyone else. Tom has a great, never-quit attitude, and spreads that feeling to the rest of the team. For example, we played a game last week for first place, and put ourselves into an early hole. In a game like that, it is easy to hang your head and get down, but Tom wouldn't let that happen. Tom showed great leadership in reminding us that there was plenty of time left to fight back, and not letting anyone get down on themselves. His positive energy was contagious, and we went from being down eight nothing to coming all the way back to win the game, and clinch first place. Tom Zulewski was just as big a part of that win as anyone else, and i can honestly say we may not have won that game without his positive attitude, and extraordinary leadership.
-- Brady McNab
  I would like to nominate Tom Zulewski as Teammate of the Year for 2009 from Archbishop Wood.  I've known Tom for the last couple years through the baseball program.  A couple years ago he took on the role of manager for the JV Team.  When my fellow seniors and I graduated last year, Tom moved up into the Manager spot of the Varsity Team. I always looked at Tom as someone who was able to put the team before himself, having stepped down from playing to take on this role, but the strength of Tom's character was more than evident a week ago when I returned from college to see my old team play.  The team was down 8-0 against Kennedy Kenrick and I watched Tom talking up the team, pulling everyone together, and trying to start a fire in everyone to fight back.  He might not have been playing on the field when Wood came back to win, but I watched him walk up and down the dugout picking each person up that he walked by.   As someone now having to watch from the stands and not being on the field, it was clear I was watching a selfless guy do everything he could to make sure his team believed they had a shot to win.  That team has had an incredible year and the comradery that Tom has helped to build is a major part of this.  He gave every part of himself to this team and to have that level of compassion for your team is admirable.  Please consider him for this award.  Thank you.
-- Joe Harrison (Wood '08)
  Tom Zulewski was so beloved by both players and coaches after playing baseball his first two years that he was asked to stay with the team as a student manager in his junior and senior years. The coaches felt that letting Tom go would be a huge loss for Wood's baseball program. As manager, Tom has been a big part of Wood baseball's success this year. Tom is always excited for the next game and energizes the rest of the team. In a couple games this year, our team wasn't playing up to our potential until Tom gave us a rally speech. The team always responds to Tom's talks out of respect and friendship. Before every big game Tom will send out a text to the whole team reminding us to stay focused and come out strong. He is always willing to help work on the field or carry out a bucket of balls. Our team is filled of crazy personalities and Tom helps us gel together as a team. I am thankful for the chance to be Tom's teammate. He has helped me grow as a baseball player and as a person. I can honestly say I have never met a better person. Tom does all of this out of love of the game. Tom Zulewski is the 2009 Best Teammate.
-- Justin Walsh '09 Wood Baseball
  When I think of someone to receive the honor of teammate of the year only one name comes to mind, Tom Zulewski. I met Tom, aka Tommy Z, four years ago at the start of both of our high school careers. He has been an awesome teammate since day one. I can’t recall meeting anyone who has as much heart, intensity and love for the game as he does. Every time we take the field we know that our starting lineup contains more then just nine players, we have a tenth. Tommy Z has been our tenth man this year and he inspires us to fight for our life on every pitch and every play. Tom has been a great teammate through the good and the bad. He realizes that every game could be our last in a Vikings uniform and he will do anything to make sure that we never give in. If you just look at his face during the game, especially lately, you can tell Tommy Z is not ready for this dream season to end. Tom is the first person to greet you when you score, the first to pick you up when you get out and definitely the last to give up. Although Tom and my paths to varsity are very different he has been there the whole time and I know that he has inspired every single player who has been lucky enough to meet him. So if you're looking for a person deserving this honor, look no further then the top step of the Vikings dugout. There you will see a player holding a scorebook, pacing back and forth anxiously, and that player is Tom Zulewski, Teammate of the Year.

-- Sean Duckworth Archbishop Wood ’09

  When people hear the Name Tom Zulewski we remember the 2009 Best Teammate of the year why? The Qualities’ that Tom Zulewski brings to every game is the reason why we won the Blue Division. First, leadership is a key ingredient for a successful team and Tom is one of our main leaders of our team. Tom will text us to make sure we are ready and focused for every game. Also, he will tell us to keep our heads up when we have a big lose. Next, Tom has the biggest heart and determination on our team. When we were down by 8 runs against Kennedy Kenrick he never let us put our heads down and never stopped cheering, he is the reason why we came back to beat them 10-9 and win the Blue Division. Also, character is important as when Tom Zulewski played baseball for Wood in his freshmen and sophomore years of High School he was asked by the coaches to be a part of the team as the team’s manager he was delighted to do so. When other players who would have probably quit the team it show that the Tom puts the Team first. Finally, I can say that Tom Zulewski is not only my nomination for the 2009 Best Teammate of the year Award, but one of my best friends.
-- Tim Meyer #19 (2009)

  Tom Zulewski is one of the best teammates one can find. He is the perfect candidate for the Best Teammate of 2009 and this year Tom was named the Varsity manager of our baseball team because of his leadership qualities.. Every game and every practice, Tom is ready to help doing anything he can to make us all a little better. He is an inspiration for all of us on the baseball team and we all can turn to Tom whenever we need help. Tom is loved by everyone in the program and it is sad to think that it is his final year with us. Tom is always telling us to play to the best to our ability and to never give up hope. I remember many times when our team was down late in games and we mounted comebacks due to Tom’s inspiring speeches.. Tom is the first person to see when you want something done and he is the last person to ever give up hope. Tom is always working on the field and helping our players with their techniques and skills. Tom also is an important part of our team chemistry. We work together as a team so well because of Tom and the positive energy that he always brings to the team. Over the past few years Tom has taught me so much not only in baseball but also on how to be a good person.  He is not only a rabid baseball fan but also the nicest person you will ever meet. I believe there is no better teammate than Tom Zulewski and he should be the 2009 Best Teammate of the Year.
-- Jim Fannon Wood Baseball ‘10

  I would like to nominate Tom Zulewski for 2009 Teammate of the Year. It is hard to put into words what “Tommy Z” means to the Wood Baseball Program. Tom is as responsible for this dream season as any player on our team. Tom is a natural born leader, you never see him lose his cool or stop cheering for our team no matter what the circumstances are. This was never more evident in our last game against Roman. We were first down 5-0 and then down 13- 8. It felt as if the season was about to come to an end, but Tom didn’t let that happen. He kept reminding us of how good we are and what we are capable of doing. This attitude rubbed off on our entire team. One hit after another we got in the game and eventually found a way to win. Tom, once again, got us to believe. Tom’s love and compassion for this team and game is unmatched by anyone, he is truly the best teammate you could ever ask for. That is why it is only fitting for Tom Zulewski to be 2009 Teammate of the Year.
-- Mike Kerns C #32

  I have been a coach at many different levels for over 20 years and I can truly say that I have never been around a more beloved, and respected, teammate than Tom Zulewski.  This is my first season with Archbishop Wood and, from the first day I arrived, I knew there was something unique and special about our student manager.  Many student managers are treated as just that – a manager.  But not Tommy Z.  He is treated as one of the guys – and, to my surprise, with probably the most respect of all our players.  Tommy will do anything for anyone on our team – players and coaches alike.  That ultimately has led to the unwavering trust we all have in Tommy.
  The spirit Tommy Z shows during our games is unmatched.  No matter what the score or the situation, Tom continues to show his unbridled support for all associated with Archbishop Wood baseball.  I truly believe that no one is as happy when we win, and no one is as disappointed when we lose, than Tommy Z.  Whenever the chips are down any one of us can expect an encouraging word or pat on the back from Tom.  Since the first time I met Tommy, he has made me feel like I have been an integral part of the program for years.  He truly is a quality person who I am proud to know.  There will be a huge void left with our team upon his upcoming graduation which I doubt will ever really be filled.  Tom represents everything a true student-athlete, friend, and teammate should be.  It is my true honor and pleasure to nominate Tom Zulewski as the 2009 Teammate of the Year.
-- Kevin Rosini, Assistant Varsity Coach, Archbishop Wood Baseball

  I nominate Tom Zulewski for 2009 Teammate of the Year.  Tom has been a part of our baseball program at Archbishop Wood for 4 years, the last 2 serving as student assistant.  In my 13 years coaching alongside my father at Wood, I can honestly say that Tom’s enthusiasm and selflessness are unmatched.  He is one of the most positive and upbeat young men I have been associated with in the athletic circle.  Tom is always smiling and clearly has a passion for the game, yet he is not afraid to speak his mind when something is bothering him.  It seems as if nothing gets him down and our players have a tremendous amount of respect for him and the tasks that he performs to make Wood baseball better.  From my standpoint, he’s the best asset any coach could ask for in the dugout.  Tom is without doubt considered a full-fledged member of our baseball team and treated as such.  As I am sure there are many young men deserving of the award, I truly believe that “Tommy Z” sets himself apart.  That is why I nominate Tom Zulewski for 2009 Teammate of the Year.
-- Jim DiGuiseppe, Jr. – Archbishop Wood Baseball

Edwin "Tito" Rohena, Frankford, baseball

  When I think of the word teammate I think of a person who is encouraging, motivating, and never gives up on their team wining or losing being said I think of Edwin "Tito" Rohena should be nominated and chosen for Teammate of the Year. Edwin always cheers on his team winning or losing. He always makes sure his teammates  hold their heads up high and have confidence in themselves. Tito is always their for his team and he goes above and beyond being Captain and he is not only a teammate but he is a friend and shares a special bond with each person on the team. He is a hard worker and is always looking for ways to better himself and his team. If any one is deserving of this award it is Edwin.
-- anonymous

David Kremer, Central, baseball

  You have found your 2009 best teammate and his name is David "D-Crack" Kremer.  David is the man, hands down all around, the best teammate anyone could ask for.  You'll never find anyone who won't like this kid.  He is always hustling, taking extra ground balls or hitting on the tee or doing random things to make him a better baseball player.  You'll never hear a negative thing come out of this kids mouth.  Whenever I'm stressed out because I'm not hitting, he's always the one to calm me down and keep me focused on helping the team win.  David is all about the team without a hint of selfishness .  He plays second base even though he sometimes gets DHed for he stays positive and does what ever it takes for the team to win.  He also was my basketball manager for the 08-09 season and I've never tasted colder water than what Dave served up!  He never missed a game though we weren't the greatest team in the world he would never say we sucked or anything like that, just kept telling us to keep on trying.  Before and after practice we would always play horse, even though I won like every time, it was always fun, he is just a great all around dude.  If Kremer wins Best Teammate me and Tommy Capewell the catcher on Central promise to run around the bases with just our sliding shorts on after we win the Public League Championship! Vote Kremer 09!!
-- Ian Lewis
  Davey Kremer does all of the little things that are necessary to keep a team together over a long season. He tells jokes, DJ's buss rides,
throws BP, busts a few dance moves, and even gets a clutch hit here and there. He also happens to play a gold glove second base. Davey keeps the entire team loose all of the time no matter whether it is the third inning of a patented Pub blowout or bottom of the 7th down by a run. He always has an encouraging word for a teammate and genuinely loves the game. Without Davey this season would have been monumentally harder on all of us and he truly deserves this award.
-- Gabe Buchanan
  Davey has been a dream of a teammate for us all for the past few years. His exemplary performance extends far beyond the field of play where he is no slouch himself. Davey always has a kind word (usually more than one) to say and gets everyone in a positive mindset on game day with his motivational speeches in the hallways, in the locker room, and on all of those long buss rides. He has never once complained about playing time, coaching decisions, drills, laps, assignments or anything for that matter. He is always the first one on the run and always with a smile on his face. I will never forget Davey's work ethic and love for the game. He truly makes the day-to-day grind that is Public League baseball a pleasure. It is for all of these reasons and many more that I nominate David Kremer for teammate of the year.
-- "The Central Lancer"

Joe Swallow, Judge, football

I'd like to nominate Joey Swallow from Father Judge as teammate of the year 2009. I played football and rugby with Joe for my last couple of years at Judge. Joe is somebody who would sacrifice himself as long as he could play in the game and help his team no matter what his injury. No matter how banged up he was Joe came ready to play. Joe is somebody who came ready for war every time he stepped on the field. He constantly was working in the weight room, even when it was not asked of him and I never once heard him complain about a single thing. Joe is somebody who I like to consider a friend off of the field as well. He is the same man off the field as he is on it, a stand up guy who would never let harm fall upon any of his friends. All in all Joey is probably the realest guy in the PCL and deserves to be recognized as the teammate of the year.
-- Dave Durkin, Judge 2008

Joey Armata, Neumann-Goretti, baseball

  I usually don't ge involved in awards like this because I feel they are for the kid's. I must let my feelings be known for JOEY ARMATA! Joe is a 4 year varsity starting catcher at N-G. Everyone knows he is one of the top catchers in the area. More than his talent on the diamond, he is the hardest working, loyal,  kindest, and respectful kids i've ever been around. There is no doubt he is NEUMANN-GORETTI BASEBALL!  When I took the job at N-G 3 years ago I had one kid who I knew could flat out play and he was the one I had to convince to buy into what I was selling. After going 3-18 in my first season and the program struggling the passed decade Joe was the one who picked me up that 1st year. He believed in everything we were trying to do and he IS THE REASON we turned the program around to something kids in south philly can be very proud of. Joey Armata is a kid I hope my son grows up to be like! In life know one is perfect but the only negative thing I can think of when I think about Joey Armata is that he graduates in june and I will no longer have the pleasure to spend time with such a wonderful young man anymore. I can honestly say Joey Armata made me a better person and has such a special place in my heart. Thank You Joe!!!
-- Lou Spadaccini
N-G baseball coach
  I vote Joey Armata the best teammate for 2009, because he gives Neumann-Goretti the energy we need to win and without him we would not be in the position we are in now. He will be a huge loss for our team next year!
-- anonymous
  Joey Armata is the only person I could possibly think of winning the best teammate award of the year. He has been a 4 year starting catcher at neumann-goretti high school and has been all catholic in 3 of them 4 years while being caption of our team 3 of them years. When you think about best teammate you think a person who always looks out or picks up for their teammates whether they make a mistake or their in a "slump" and also someone with great leadership. Well, Joey Armata is definaly that guy because when ever he steps on the field whether it be practice or a game he always comes with that leadership quality behind the plate in the games and anywhere else in practice. And when we look for someone to get the tempo going for our team in the late or early innings he's always the number 1 guy you can count on. So, when you think about best teammate of the year award there is no other player "EVER" that has been the best teammate than joey armata and I'd bet my life that the people that played with him will say the same. 
-- John Snyder
NG Baseball

Sean "Shooter" Morrison, Chestnut Hill, baseball

  I, Jon McAllister, CF at CHA, would like to nominate Sean Morrison for the teammate of the year. Sean has been on the varsity team for the past two years and has seen a very limited amount of time. Despite this fact, Sean has remained upbeat and make everyday of baseball an enjoyable one. Whether it's with his jokes or his work ethic he creates a great baseball atmosphere. Coaches love him, along with the players. I couldn't imagine a day of baseball without Sean, this is why I believe that Sean "Shooter" Morrison is the best teammate of the year!
-- Jon McAllister, #19
  My name is Steel Russell, and i want to cast my vote for Sean "Shooter Magooter" Morrison. Sean's been a member of varsity baseball team at CHA for 2 years, and has continued to show his dedication to the squad. He shows a great deal of respect for the game, and always comes out ready to play, even if it means he's doing his part from the bench. He has an upbeat personality that allows for those of us playing poorly, to continue to see the fun in the game. He works as a team leader by showing the younger guys coming up onto varsity what it takes to be a team player, and even if you're not in the game, it is your responsibility as a teammate to stay involved and attentive throughout the 7 innings that we play. Sean "Shooter Dooter Mahooter Magooter Straw" Morrison deserves to be teammate of the year because he exemplifies what it means to be a team player.
-- Steel Russell