Father Judge teams enjoy their new fields

— Honored guests cel­eb­rate the com­ple­tion of the $2.8 mil­lion pro­ject at a rib­bon-cut­ting ce­re­mony.

Fath­er Judge High School of­fi­cials, and loc­al politi­cians cut the rib­bon at the open­ing ce­re­mony for the school’s new sports fields, Tues­day, May 22, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)


The base­ball play­ers at Fath­er Judge High School love their new ar­ti­fi­cial turf field.

Formerly, the Cru­saders played their games at McArdle Re­cre­ation Cen­ter.

Now, the home field is across the street from the school at Ramp Play­ground. It opened re­cently, and Judge played a few games there this spring.

“We get bet­ter hops and no bad bounces, and the mound is bet­ter,” said sopho­more pitch­er Domin­ic Vivino.

“You can slide and don’t have to worry about get­ting hurt,” said sopho­more cen­ter field­er Dan Naftulin.

Judge’s sea­son is over. The Cru­saders lost in the play­offs to ar­chrival Arch­bish­op Ry­an.

Still, fresh­men such as Ry­an O’Neill and Sam Naftulin are look­ing for­ward to three more years play­ing on the field.

There are dugouts, bull­pens, on-deck areas, bleach­ers and a score­board.

The high­light so far was a home run by Corey Kream­er off the score­board in left field in a game against Lans­dale Cath­ol­ic.

The play­ers are eager to play a full sea­son next year on the field.

“It’s con­veni­ent. We don’t have to drive any­where,” said sopho­more Aus­tin Mikula.

“It’s on cam­pus. It’s easi­er for stu­dents to come to the games,” said sopho­more Mike Taffe.

City of­fi­cials and the Fath­er Judge com­munity re­cently hos­ted a grand-open­ing ce­re­mony for the base­ball field and a multi-pur­pose field that will be home to soc­cer, lacrosse, rugby and JV and fresh­man foot­ball games and varsity foot­ball prac­tices.

The mul­tipur­pose field fea­tures hash marks, yard lines, goal posts, bleach­ers, end zones and a score­board in Fath­er Judge blue for foot­ball prac­tices and games.

The $2.8 mil­lion pro­ject was a joint ven­ture of Friends of Fath­er Judge High School Inc., the city De­part­ment of Parks and Re­cre­ation and the of­fice of re­cently re­tired City Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski. The prop­erty has new light­ing and fen­cing, and some side­walks have been re­paired.

The two fields re­place three base­ball fields and a foot­ball field.

Bill St. Clair, chair­man of the Friends of Fath­er Judge, joked that the fields were known as the “Dust Bowl” be­cause of the amount of dirt that was kicked up dur­ing use.

The base­ball field is named Kra­jew­ski Fam­ily Field. The score­board is named in hon­or of Pat McGo­nigal, a con­trib­ut­or to the pro­ject.

The mul­tipur­pose field is named Clark Fam­ily Field in hon­or of Ed Clark, a 1978 Judge gradu­ate who went on to play quar­ter­back at TCU and con­tin­ues to sup­port his former high school. The score­board is named for St. Clair, a 1975 grad who owns the ac­count­ing and fin­an­cial con­sult­ing firm CPA Solu­tions.

St. Clair said the Friends group re­ceived great sup­port from alums.

“Judge guys are lead­ers,” he said.

The Rev. James E. Dalton, prin­cip­al at Judge, blessed the fields and offered pray­ers. Among those in at­tend­ance were former long­time Judge coaches Whitey Sul­li­van (foot­ball) and Joe Mc­Der­mott (base­ball); Mike DiB­er­ardinis, com­mis­sion­er of the city De­part­ment of Parks and Re­cre­ation, and Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on, who said the fields were uni­versity qual­ity.

Kra­jew­ski used gi­ant scis­sors to cut the rib­bon to of­fi­cially open the fields.

The Rev. Joseph Campel­lone, pres­id­ent of the school, said the fields are an­oth­er way that Judge tries to of­fer a private school ex­per­i­ence at an arch­dioces­an price. The school has spent $30 mil­lion in the last 10 years on vari­ous im­prove­ments.

“This is a great day,” Campel­lone said.

The school pres­id­ent gave much of the cred­it to Bri­an King, the school’s dir­ect­or of ad­vance­ment.

“He single-handedly worked all the deals to make this hap­pen,” he said.

Campel­lone is grate­ful for the sup­port of the city and the alumni, and he urged fu­ture gradu­ates to sup­port their alma ma­ter.

“You need to give back. Life isn’t a spec­tat­or sport,” he said.

Seravalli Con­tract­ors Inc. per­formed the work.

St. Jerome CYO and Crispin Gar­dens Ath­let­ic Club will be among the loc­al schools and or­gan­iz­a­tions that will con­tin­ue to be able to use the fields.

The fa­cil­ity, at Row­land and Solly av­en­ues in Holmes­burg, will re­main named in memory of James J. Ramp, a po­lice of­ficer from nearby Ar­thur Street who was killed in 1978 in a show­down with the rad­ic­al group MOVE in Pow­elton Vil­lage. The of­ficer’s son, Jim, and his fam­ily were in at­tend­ance at the ce­re­mony.

The re­mainder of the play­ground will stay the same. It in­cludes bas­ket­ball courts, play equip­ment and a foot hockey rink.

“This was a fant­ast­ic col­lab­or­a­tion between neigh­bors, the school and the city,” said Al Tauben­ber­ger, pres­id­ent of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce. “The fields will dra­mat­ic­ally help our neigh­bor­hood.”

Fath­er Judge is plan­ning a Home­com­ing week­end for early Oc­to­ber centered around the new fields, and Campel­lone prom­ised more work is com­ing in­side and out­side the build­ing.

“We’re go­ing to con­tin­ue to work to keep Judge the greatest school in the arch­diocese,” he said. ••


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