Sparta Diamonds Host School's Out Tournament, Support Local Child's Battle Against Cancer

10 A Champions Credits: Provided by Diamonds
10 B Sparta Diamonds Credits: Provided by Sparta Diamonds
Sparta Diamonds 14U Credits: Provided by Sparta Diamonds
Homeruns for Hayden raised funds to help with medical care for Sparta Diamonds' cousin Hayden Marshall Credits: Provided by Sparta Diamonds

SPARTA, NJ - As the classic Alice Cooper song goes, "Schools Out for Summer" states clearly the thought process for most school aged kids this time of year. However, the warm weather in mid-June signifies it was again time for the annual Sparta Schools Out Softball Tournament.

More than 60 teams from 8U to 16U came to Sparta to play for the title in their individual age groups and kick-off their summer. The annual tournament has a history of drawing competitive teams from  New Jersey and New York.  This year was no different with games running from Friday through early Sunday evening at six different field locations across town.

“With the help of coaches, parents, board members and the players, 2017 was one of the best tournaments ever and carried with it a message of something more than softball,” Sparta Softball president Lori Rispoli said.

Sign Up for E-News

This year the tournament was about more than winning a trophy.  The tournament was also an opportunity to raise funds for a local child battling cancer and raise awareness of the disease. 

According to the Sparta Diamonds, Hayden Marshall is a feisty and active seven-year-old, battling a serious type of cancer and cousin of Julia Lengen, a member of the 12A Sparta Diamonds. He loves to play hockey but is a fan of all sports and not being able to compete was something that he missed. This year, the Sparta Schools Out Tournament decided to make his battle their battle and bring a smile to his face.

Marshall threw out the first pitch on Saturday to kick-off the games. Some teams wrote his name on their arms in his honor.  Additionally, players could participate in a "Home Run for Hayden" fundraiser. For every home run, the player would sign their name on a dedication sign and the Sparta Softball program would make a donation in their name to Hayden's family to help offset his treatment and costs during his battle against cancer.

"Hayden is a fighter and things look promising for him and this weekend showed he has a bunch of fans willing to go to bat for him,” Rispoli said.

Fans and players were treated to intense and exciting games across all age groups. The Sparta Diamonds teams were well represented and played sparkling softball going deep into Championship play on Sunday according to Joe Jacobs, head of Diamonds’ travel program.

  • 10A Sparta Diamonds built on their strong start to the season, winning the tournament and adding to their trophy collection.
  • 14A Diamonds lost for only the second time this year, dropping a close one in the Championship game.
  • 8U Diamonds and the Sparta Gems played great all tournament long and showed that the future looks bright for Diamonds Softball.
  • 12A Diamonds lost in the semifinals to the eventual winner in their age group, and continue to play stellar softball.
  • 10B and 12B Sparta Diamonds played their hearts out losing tough games on Sunday, but showed flashes of what is to come as they gain experience.
  • 16U Diamonds left it all on the field all weekend and just ran out of gas on Sunday.

All Sparta Softball teams continue the 2017 season with a packed schedule over the next few weeks. Sparta teams will be traveling down to the Edison Firecracker Softball Tournament early in July. The 10A and 12A Sparta Diamonds look to stay as hot as the summer temperatures and make a deep run during the States/Regional tournament pool play.

The 14U Black Diamonds compete for seeding at a few USSSA tournaments as they prepare for their trip to the World Series in July.

"The girls look forward to playing in these bigger tournaments, as they get a chance to see how the stack up against the top teams from the area. Sparta Softball has had a great year on and off the field and we could not be prouder of our players and coaches,” Jacobs said.

“Sparta Softball would like to thank our sponsors, parents, players and coaches for all the hard work that has been put in to make the 2017 season special for everyone involved, Diamonds’ organizer Jason Villar said. For more information please go to

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police Arrest Newton Man on DWI, Hit and Run with Baby on Board

March 16, 2018

SPARTA, NJ –  A Newton man driving drunk with is infant child in the back seat is facing charges after a hit and run accident on Route 15.  On March 10, around 7:05 p.m. Sparta Cpl. Smith went to Limecrest Road to investigate the accident, police report.

The officer was met by the driver of one of the vehicles involved.  That driver said he was on Route 15 South when a VW ...

Sparta Police: Wantage DWI Driver Takes Down Pole

SPARTA, NJ – A Wantage man took down a utility pole with his car in a drunk driving accident on White Lake Road.  Sparta Sgt. Joe Pensado reported the accident.  Sparta Cpl. Dan Elig arrived to take over the investigation of the one car accident on March 1 around 11 p.m. police report.

Elig asked the driver Richard Luciano, 35, what happened.  Luciano told the officer he ...

Sparta Police: Newton Woman Snoozing in Parking Lot Faces Drug Charges

SPARTA, NJ – A Newton woman is facing heroin charges after getting the attention of Sparta police in the Quick Chek parking lot, police report.

On March 6, around 10:55 p.m. Sydney McNamara, 21, and male passenger were sleeping in her Kia with the engine running.  Sparta Cpl. Scott Elig and Police Officer Ben Griffin checked on the duo.  Griffin knocked on the window to wake up ...

5 Tips for elected officials

March 9, 2018

Dear Editor,

Wayne Levante, a self-described moderate, business-friendly mayor of Newton since his appointment 8 months ago, has been mired by one misstep and controversy after another.  From peddling debunked conspiracy theories about student “crisis actors” in the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting on social media, attacking residents and calling them ...


March 11, 2018



Republican Freeholder Candidates, Dawn Fantasia and Josh Hertzberg commended the District 24 Legislators for taking action in the wake of the horrific school shooting that took the lives of 17 at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.   


Senator Oroho, Assemblyman Space and ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 17, 12:00 PM


Resume Boot Camp

Business & Finance


Tue, March 20, 6:30 PM

Sparta United Methodist Church, Sparta

Girl Scout STEAM Program

Arts & Entertainment Education


Sat, March 24, 9:30 AM

Sparta Recreation Department, Sparta

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

McKenna Hall, Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Sparta

Night with NJ Giants #53 Harry Carson Beefsteak


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

Perona Farms, Sparta

Trout Unlimited Annual Fund Raising Banquet

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, April 14, 9:00 AM


Jr Lions Football - Meet & Greet

Education Sports

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Byram Intermediate School Receives High Honors

March 7, 2018

BYRAM, NJ - The Byram Intermediate School has been recognized as a School to Watch.  The school is one of eight middle schools in New Jersey to receive the designation.

"We are so proud of this group of educators who have created one of the most dynamic schools in the state of New Jersey," Principal John Fritzky said.  

New Jersey Schools to Watch are ...

Westfield Volunteer Baseball Coach Desperately Seeking Kidney Donor

March 3, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ —  Westfield High School volunteer baseball coach Mike Cappiello is in desperate need of a kidney donor.

The 28-year-old former WHS baseball player hit 46 doubles playing college ball for Plymouth State University in New Hampshire — the most in the school's history.

One day in April of 2012, during his senior year, he was off to another good start to ...

6 Easy Ways to Increase Zzzz’s During National Sleep Awareness Month and Beyond!

Team Nest Builder knows sleep deprivation leads to a myriad of problems, so we’re here to help you make your New Jersey home bedrooms the havens you deserve! Take a look at these simple ideas for increasing your zzzzz’s:

Soften Up

Employ a large area rug that covers the entire room to help absorb sound and enhance comfort.

Feeling Blue

According to a study by Travelodge, ...

4 Top Reasons NOW Is A Great Time To Buy A New Jersey Home

Team Nest Builder offers four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting:

Prices Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.  The bottom in home prices came and left. Home values will ...

Does YOUR School District Rank For 2018 Best Teachers? compiled a 2018 list of the top 100 New Jersey school districts who possess the best teachers, based on student and parent ratings of teachers, teacher tenure, teacher salaries, student-teacher ratio, teacher absenteeism, and the Niche Academics Grade for the district.  Team Nest Builder understands the importance of owning a home in an area with a strong school district, so ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Enrollment Extended for New Jersey Youth Corps at Project Self-Sufficiency

March 16, 2018

Enrollment for the current session of the New Jersey Youth Corps program at Project Self-Sufficiency is has been extended.  The sixteen-week program gives those who have not completed high school the opportunity to boost their literacy skills, prepare for the high school equivalency exam, obtain on-the-job work experience, and transition into a career, college or the military.  Project ...