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Oct 30, 2019

Childhood Baseball Team Reunites Two Decades Later

By Les Pierce

Front row, from left: Anthony Garrido, Dylan Thiel, Brendan Coutu, Will Caballero, Matt Reilly and Matt Signore. Back row, from left: Mike Carlino, Pat Hanson, Jack McGowan, Tom Foley, Garret Thiel, Jason Levy, Brian Conover and Manager Ralph Levy.

After a two-decade hiatus, the Middletown Lightning is back. Nearly 20 years ago, the Lightning was formed as a local travel baseball team. At the time, the players were 10 years old.

For a five-year period, the squad competed in and won tournaments throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Leading the Lightning during that entire time was a coaching staff of George Carlino, Chris Foley, Ralph Levy and Matt Signore.

When the boys reached high school, the team was disbanded as the players then went on to staff rosters at Middletown North, Middletown South and Christian Brothers Academy.

However, after years of weekends traveling together, bonds developed among the families carried on and thrived. To this day, the parents participate in golf outings, vacation together and hold what they refer to as β€œLightning parties.”

Meanwhile, the team members went on to college and then became busy initiating their respective professional careers. Earlier this year, one of the players, Garret Thiel, came up with the idea to reform the team and reached out to his former colleagues.

The concept was well-received, and the Lightning was reformed and joined the Central Jersey Softball Slow Pitch League. Games are played Sundays at Normandy Park in Middletown.

Middletown resident and ardent Yankee fan Ralph Levy has reprised his role from years back as the team manager. Levy keeps the books and oversees the lineups.

It’s not often that a group of 10-year-old teammates are able to compete together years later as young adults, but it has happened for the Middletown Lightning. The Lightning is back!