Tri-County Hall of Fame to enshrine 40th class
It honors those area natives who achieved great success in their various athletic endeavors over the years.
Now, the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame’s TriCounty Area Chapter has reached a milestone of its own. The organization will be enshrining its 40th class of athletes during its annual Induction Dinner Saturday, Oct. 14.
Ten of 18 nominees on this year’s ballot were selected by chapter members. It was reported a record number of ballots were returned.
“This is a big thing for us,” chapter president Dave Reidenouer said. “We’re proud of the fact we had more nominations.”
The Tri-County Area Chapter has seen growth during its existence. While having approximately 250 athletes inducted over the years, it’s grown to draw athletes from municipalities surrounding the Pottstown community.
“This is a big thing, being our 40th year,” Reideneour, himself a 1999 chapter inductee, said. “We’ve branched out to communities like Phoenixville and Boyertown.
“We’re pushing to get into more of the outlying areas. That’s something we’re really striving for.”
The induction dinner will be held in the Sunnybrook Ballroom, starting with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. Dinner and the awards ceremony will follow at 6:30 p.m.
“We’re looking for another big crowd,” Reidenouer said. “We had about 250 last year.”
Deadline for purchasing tickets is Tuesday, Oct. 10; there will be no sales at the door. Ticket information or other questions pertaining to the induction dinner may be obtained by calling either Reidenouer at 484300-1971 or Gina Custer at 610-673-6434.
Reidenouer succeeded Elmer “Chump” Pollock as chapter president approximately six years ago, after being on the committee a number of years. Other TriCounty Area directors are Randy Reber (vice-president), Spencer Moser (treasurer), Jim Corum (consultant) and Jenis Frederick.
*** Capsules of the 2017 inductees for the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame’s Tri-County Area Chapter:
A.J. BATTISTO » Pitched for Pottsgrove High School and
the Pottstown Spartans in the summer. Named Most Valuable Player for the Spartans and All PAC-10 with the Falcons. Went on to Georgia Southern, where he appeared in 92 games as a relief pitcher (second most in program history) and compiled a 12-0 record. Drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2007, advanced to their Triple-A franchise during a seven-year pro career, compiling a 22-11 record while in their farm system. Also played in the Puerto Rican winter league two years, and the Italian team in the 2006 World Cup. Currently serving as pitching coach at North Carolina Central University.
MATT COTELLESE » An outstanding baseball player from Boyertown who played in the American Legion program for three years. Member of teams that went a combined 142-37, won two Berks County League and Pa. Region Two championships, one Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Regional state title and reached the American Legion World Series’ Final Four. Went on to play ball at West Chester University, twice being named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Player of the Year and a Division II first team All-American. Hit .427 with 25 doubles, 11 home runs and 71 RBI his senior year. The only player in PSAC history to have 300 hits, 200 RBI and 200 runs in a career.
CHRIS GORHAM » A true personification of the term “student athlete” while at Pottstown, carrying a 4.0 grade-point average and membership in the National Honor Society while excelling in football and track. A three-time AllLeague sprinter and anchor of a 4x400 relay team that won silver medals at states. Played wide receiver and defensive back for the Trojans, accorded all-league honors twice as a defensive back. Had eight career interceptions and scored a number of touchdowns on offense; considered Pennsylvania’s second-best defensive back by SuperPrep. Went on to the University of Virginia, where he played defensive back his first three seasons before switching to wide receiver his senior year. Had several tremendous games for UVA against such tough ACC opponents as Florida State, Miami, Maryland and Georgia Tech.
MALLORY GREENE » Earned 10 varsity letters during her scholastic career at Pottsgrove — four in basketball, three apiece in field hockey and softball. Named first team PAC-10 defense in field hockey, second team PAC-10 guard in basketball and first team PAC-10 pitcher her senior year. Won a Summit Award for sportsmanship in 2002 and was named 2003 Female Athlete of the Year at Pottsgrove. In a softball game against Lansdale Catholic, pitched 20 innings with 38 strikeouts, hit two triples, was intentionally walked four straight times but the Falcons ended up losing a 1-0 game on an error. Attended Ursinus College, where she became the first three-time conference pitcher of the year (2005-07) and was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame in 2017.
KELLY (GRIM) CARAS » 1985 Boyertown High graduate excelled both in the classroom and on the athletic fields. Recipient of the G. Marcella Wise Award as an outstanding female scholarathlete, and named to the Brine High School AllAmerican lacrosse team for defense. She also played field hockey and basketball for Boyertown. Received a lacrosse scholarship to Temple University, where she was a three-time Division I All-American and helped the program go 64-7. Involved with the Owls making the Final Four each of her years there, finish second in 1987 and emerge as national champions in 1988 with a 19-0 record. Team captain her senior year. Played on the U.S. National team seven years, competing all over the world. Inducted into Temple’s Hall of Fame.
RICK KRAYNAK » 1979 Phoenixville High graduate lettered in four different sports. Played fullback and linebacker on the school’s 1978 Ches-Mont League championship team, being accorded its Defensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. A first-team AllState selection, he played in the prestigious Big 33 All-Star Game. Received a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where he played in four bowl games (Fiesta, Gator, Cotton and Sugar) and led the Panthers with 104 tackles while making five interceptions. Pitt’s 1982 StudentAthlete Award. Drafted by both the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles and the United States Football League’s Philadelphia Stars. With the Eagles, he was named Outstanding Special Teams Player his rookie year. In 1984, he scored a touchdown following a blocked punt. Inducted into Phoenixville’s Hall of Fame in 1997.
CHONN LACEY » Four-year starter on offense and defense for Pottstown’s football team. In 1996, was first team all-area wide receiver, second team defensive back, team’s Most Valuable Player for team, on defense and special teams. Went to Valley Forge Military Academy for post-graduate year, named team’s MVP. Went on to Temple University, where he played at defensive back as a true freshman and started 40 games. A three-way player his senior year, he started the Blue-Gray All-Star Game, was named Temple’s MVP his senior year. A two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Week, he ranked fourth all-time in tackles (215) and seventh in interceptions (10). After graduating from Temple and being named to Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, had brief stints in the National Football League with the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks.
JOE MASLEH » A football player at Pottstown, the starting defensive end on the Trojans’ undefeated 1961-62 team. Started long coaching career in 1985, coaching the St. Pius X High School softball team until 1991 and leading it to a first-ever Pioneer Athletic Conference championship in 1989. Coached Pottstown’s girls basketball team from 1992 to 1999, winning league titles in 1996 and 1997. Went on to coach girls basketball at Pius from 1999 to 2010, compiling a 130-68 record in that span while winning the 2005 PAC championship and seven straight District 1 Class AA crowns (2002-09). The Mercury’s Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2005, he also coached a Police Athletic League girls teams to a national championship in 1985.
DEB (MINZOLA) JIMENEZ
» 1985 Boyertown High School graduate was a twosport star in lacrosse and field hockey. An All ChesMont lacrosse first team pick three times and twotime high school All-American by the United States Women’s Lacrosse Association. Named Female Athlete of the Year by several organizations, among them the Pottstown Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Career total of 248 goals led both the Boyertown program and the Ches-Mont League. Named Player of the Year by both the Pottstown Mercury and the Pottstown Old Timers. Player in numerous All-Star Games. Led Boyertown to Ches-Mont and District 1 championships in 1984 and 1985. Received a scholarship to Temple University, where she was named to All-American teams while helping the women’s lacrosse team win a national championship in 1988.
ANDRE “THUNDER” THORNTON » Phoenixville High graduate went on to have a stellar 14-year career in Major League Baseball that included stops with the Chicago Cubs, Montreal Expos and Cleveland Indians. Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent in 1967, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in 1972 and to the Cubs later that year. Named to Baseball Digest’s 1974 AllRookie Team as a first baseman. A two-time American League All-Star, he finished his career with a .254 batting average, a .360 on-base percentage, a .452 slugging percentage, 253 home runs and 244 doubles. A 2007 inductee into the Indians’ Hall of Fame and the minor-league Reading Phillies Hall of Fame. Received the Roberto Clemente Award in 1979 for demonstrating sportsmanship and community development. The president and CEO of ASW Global, a supply-chain management company, he is involved with various boards in the Cleveland community — among them the Cleveland Council on World Affairs and the Cleveland Zoological Society.