The Park Ridge High School Girls Varsity Softball Team was honored at a recent Board of Education meeting, as was their coach, Frank Baldino, who reached a coaching milestone in April ï¿½ his 400th win. He is pictured here with, from left, seniors Rachel Beer, Tara Tamburro, Jamie Kalafut and Lauren Lucanie.
Chris Brown, the district’s athletic director, gave a rundown of the team’s winning season. “Coming off their sixth consecutive BCSL Championship and a trip to the State Sectional Final, many wondered if this group would continue the successful trend. But even with the loss of many seniors and several players at new positions, the team dominated BCSL play, going undefeated for the second year in a row. The string of victories in the league now stands at 49 straight.”
Among the highlights of the season that Brown recounted were the team’s defense of their Villa Walsh Tournament Championship and the defeat of Lakeland in the Lady Owl Classic. Brown said, “One of the major highlights of the season was the dramatic come-from-behind victory over Verona in the first round of the State Tournament. Trailing 8-0, and 9-5 going into the seventh inning, the Lady Owls rallied to score five runs in the bottom of the seventh to win the game.”
The team finished with a 25-4 overall record, advanced to the quarterfinals of the County Tournament, and the second round of the State Tournament.
Brown said, “The senior group graduating this year has had an incredible four years, and leaves an impressive legacy.”
In honoring Coach Baldino on his 400th career victory, achieved on April 13 versus Palisades Park, Brown said, “His legacy in the game of softball is legendary in Bergen County. From his days at Ramsey to the current Owls, he is one of the most respected minds in the game of softball. He coaches all players the same, whether they are role players, starters, all-county or all-state. He sets high expectations and does not settle for anything else.” Brown said his record, “speaks for itself,” and includes multiple League, County and State Championships and, “too many players to count who have been First Team All-League, County or State. Many former players can be found on the sidelines coming back to see Coach.”
Brown concluded, “He has a terrific affect on young minds and we are extremely luck to have him at the helm of our softball program.”
Brown had this to say about the seven-time championship team: “Although it seems we see this team every year at this time, they are here because of the program created by the coaching staff’s dedication and hard work, coupled with the effort our girls put into the season.” Brown added with a smile, “Eight would be great!”
By: KATHRYN BURGER
STAFF PHOTO BY KATHRYN A. BURGER