The Griffin Basketball Association held their 9th Annual Golf with the Gepper outing Thursday at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Lakewood and has I have done for several years I served as MC for the awards dinner afterwards.

The outing is a tribute to Hall of Fame basketball Coach Steve Gepp who arrived at then St. Joseph’s High School in 1963 and also served as Athletic Director until 1994.

In addition to a spectacular day of golf more than 100 people attended the dinner which honored longtime coaches Mike Kozzi and Tom Westen as well as Ray King who came up with the idea for the fundraising event to support the basketball program, provide scholarships and help with charitable causes.

The previous eight outings raised more than $65,000 and while many donate their time and effort it is spearheaded by Ray, Dawn and Kristin Marzarella, Victor Suskevich and current Griffins coach Michael Kearney.

Mark Leiter Jr. pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies
Mark Leiter Jr. pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The foursome of Adam King, Dan Myers, Zach Bach & Tom Gallaro shot an eye-opening 16 under par total to place first in the outing which used a scramble and Callaway scoring system.  What makes the event truly special is it serves as a mini reunion for former players of both Gepp & Kearney while supporting those that are currently in the Donovan Catholic program.

There has clearly been much hype over the fact that local legend Todd Frazier is now a member of the New York Yankees but what should not be lost is that another Toms River native is making a name for himself with the Phillies.  Pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. was, to many, a surprise call-up from the minor leagues in late April and for the most part the former Toms River North Mariner has made the most of his opportunity.

He has appeared in 19 games for the Phills, including three starts and is 1-2 with an impressive 45 strikeouts in 46 innings.  The 26-year old who is the son of Mark and nephew of Al (both major league pitchers) was very impressive last night against the Mets when he threw five strong innings of relief allowing just one run and striking out 7.

Leiter spent parts of the 2013 and 2014 seasons with the Lakewood BlueClaws and has climbed the minor league ladder on his way to “the show.”



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