Congratulations to the Toms River North baseball team as they captured their third consecutive Ocean County Tournament championship with a 7-1 victory over Toms River East Tuesday afternoon.

The Mariners had a quick turnaround from their semifinal win over Jackson the night before as in a brilliant move officials moved the championship game to the afternoon before the expected bad weather hit in the evening.  Brendan Mullins pitched six strong innings for his second OCT finals victory as was also the winning pitcher as a sophomore in 2016.

North took control of the game with a six-run, 2nd inning which included a two-run homer by Jon Giordano and tournament MVP Jared Bellissimo’s run-scoring double which was part of a three-hit game for the senior.  The Mariners and head coach Andy Pagano won’t have much time to celebrate as they are scheduled to begin defense of their Shore Conference Tournament title this afternoon against Manchester although rain is in the forecast.

Congratulations are also in order for longtime Brick Township School District administrator Dennis Filippone who will serve as the Grand Marshall for the 27th annual Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival in Seaside Heights this October.  Filippone, who has been serving as the district’s acting superintendent, was chosen for his community involvement and leadership and efforts to bring ethnic heritage and culture into the school system.

Dennis is a graduate of Brick Township High School where he was a standout football player and returned to the school system to begin his teaching career in 1978. He was also a valued assistant football coach under Warren Wolf for many years before moving into administration.  I’m proud to call him a friend and the honor of serving as Grand Marshall is a fitting tribute for his many years of service to not only Brick Township but Ocean County through the boards and committee’s he’s been a part of.

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall to hear what Queen Elizabeth has to say about Meghan Markle’s family, including her father Thomas and her half-siblings who she has no relationship with and were not invited to Saturday’s wedding?  I’m sure it would be fascinating.