By Tim Harfmann
The crowd went wild as the stars took the field on Catholic Schools Night at Coney Island’s MCU Park.
The M.V.Ps, valedictorians and salutatorians from Catholic academies across Brooklyn and Queens, were recognized by Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto for academic excellence.
Daniel Schilling and Joseph Foye are the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, from Saint Camillus in Rockaway.
Although they’re graduating, they’re continuing their Catholic education in high school.
“I just want to grow my faith in God more and follow His Good Will,” said Daniel.
“Catholic education is like a big family,” Joseph explained, “it has good virtues and just a great education.”
Following the ceremony was the highly anticipated softball game between the “Collars and Scholars” — priests and seminarians against teachers and principals.
The Scholars Team co-captains, Chris Scharbach and John O’Brien, were confident in this year’s rematch.
“I ate my Wheaties this morning,” said Scharbach.
His prediction for this year’s winner? “The Scholars in a tight one, 6-4.”
“I think we have a shot this year,” O’Brien agreed. ‘We’re going to get some revenge on the Collars and come out with a win today.”
O’Brien set the stage early, hitting a home run in the bottom of the first inning, their only run of the game.
Defensively, Sister Shrilee Tremont kept the Collars off the bases.
But it wasn’t enough: the Collars strung hits together.
Seminarian Paolo Salazar doubled down the third base line, scoring Father Ed Kachurka.
The Collars picked up the victory 2-to-1, winning for the second consecutive year.
But Collars Team co-captain, Father James Kuroly, said the real winner of the night was Catholic morals.
“We know the importance of Catholic education,” he said.
“I’m a product of Catholic education, many of the teachers and staff are products; and it’s not so much what we do on the field, but how we play the game. That’s certainly taught to us in a Catholic education.”
A show of sportsmanship capped off a fun night had by all.