YMCA 1-Wall Doubles Championships - Sunday January 5th, 2003 - at the Y
located at 1401 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY

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This USHA sanctioned event had no shortage of superstars. With the likes
of "Big Blue Handball" sensation John "Rookie" Wright and Ervin Irizarry
teaming up again. The last time they teamed up they were victorious in
capturing the 2002 Bailey Park Open Tournament. Cesar Sala and Robert "the
Iceman" Sostre played together, since both of their doubles partners could
not make this event. The strong favorites were this year's USHA Nationals
Open doubles Champions, PeeWee Castro and Tony Roberts. The other strong doubles
teams were Albert Apuzzi and Willie Polanco, and Francisco Carbuccia teaming
up with Al Torres.

All the games were very exciting but the 1st interesting match up of the
day was John Wright/Ervin Irizarry vs. Francisco Carbuccia/Al Torres.
Francisco's aggressive playing, and the experienced play of Al Torres were
just too much for the "Big Blue" players to handle. It seemed like they
gave a clinic on how to hook the ball. Although they were playing great they lost to
national champions PeeWee Castro/Tony Roberts in the semi-finals. The other
semi-final match was Albert Apuzzi/Willie Polanco vs. Cesar Sala/Robert
Sostre; this was the best game of the day. Sala/Sostre jumped out to a 10-
point lead, the fans thought this would be a blowout. Apuzzi/Polanco finally got up
to serve, and they slowly crept back into the game. Apuzzi/Polanco both
took turns attacking with their serves and following it up with very
aggressive court play. This match had numerous dives, kills, and low volleys
by all four players. Wish someone would have had a video camera for this
one. Apuzzi/Polanco defeated Sala/Sostre 25-19. The finals were set: Albert
Apuzzi, who holds 8 National Open doubles titles, and partner Willie Polanco,
against current National doubles Champions PeeWee Castro and Tony Roberts.
Although the strong favorites were Castro/Roberts, today belonged to the
sleeper team of Apuzzi/Polanco. Apuzzi/Polanco were down 5-0 at the start, and just
like their previous match they roared back. Castro/Roberts played well,
but Apuzzi's serves were just too much. This allowed Apuzzi/Polanco to kill
the ball, and force them to make many errors. Apuzzi/Polanco defeated
Castro/Roberts 25-17.

Albert Apuzzi's experience, combined with the outstanding play of up and
coming superstar Willie Polanco. "A recipe for winning."

By James Russo -- HandballCity.com                   View the full results    and  YMCA Tournament records

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Threats of a NYC transit strike and predictions of snow storms resulted
in the action being rescheduled from December to January.

In the first semifinal match, Al and Francisco were right in the game at
16-19 before Pee Wee and Tony surged to a 25-16 victory. On the other
side of the draw, Cesar and Rob took a 10-0 lead. Albert and Willie
battled back but quickly found themselves trailing 18-11, before they
could gain the momentum and allow their opponents to score just one more

In the finals, Castro and Roberts were leading 15-11. Once again Apuzzi
and Polanco finished strong giving up just 2 more points.

This one day event awarded $1,000 in cash prizes among the top four
places. Special thanks to Artie Fuchs for being the site director.