Tom Eagleson simply cannot fathom the idea that 25 years have passed since his North Bergen High School softball team won their only NJSIAA state championship.
“It feels just like yesterday,” Eagleson said. “I really don’t know where the time has gone. I really can’t believe it.”
So when the current Bruin squad, the reigning county champions, held their awards dinner, it also became a reunion of the 1987 team that won both the county and state championships.
Nine members of that memorable season returned to North Bergen for the special occasion.
“One came from Florida,” Eagleson said. “We had the trophy there. It was one of the biggest thrills of my life.”
Eagleson called his 1987 team “the best I’ve ever coached.” It featured pitcher Carol Cook, a member of the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame who remains the lone Hudson County female to ever earn First Team All-State honors. During the final weeks of that season, Cook hit an astounding seven homers.
“She was absolutely amazing,” Eagleson said of Cook.
Cook was one of the players to attend the reunion.
“Pam Natosi [the slick-fielding third baseman on the 1987 championship team] got up and spoke to this year’s team,” Eagleson said. “She told them to never forget these days, because they go by so quickly. It made the night all worthwhile.”
There were plenty of stories being bantered about.
“I heard things that I didn’t even know,” Eagleson said. “It was a great night.”
But the best part of the night for Eagleson was the interaction that took place between the players of yesteryear and the champions of today. For example, current Hudson Reporter Pitcher of the Year Jessica Feria spent a good portion of the night getting to know Cook. The two are the only two left-handed pitchers that Eagleson has coached in his illustrious career.
“It was a perfect match and that made me feel good,” Eagleson said. “The interaction was great.”
Eagleson said he was proud how that 1987 team turned into successful women with careers and families of their own.
“I just wanted to help them get into college, but they all went on to be successes,” Eagleson said. “Every single one. I couldn’t be happier with the way they turned out.”…
Speaking of softball, there was a glaring and unforgivable omission to the 2012 Hudson Reporter All-Area Softball Team that appeared in last week’s editions.
Somehow, Hudson Catholic shortstop Jessica Hill’s name was left off the list, when Hill was clearly one of the best players in the entire county. Hill merely batted .636 with a county-best nine homers and 35 RBI. She was the runner-up to Natalia Estremera of McNair Academic for Reporter Player of the Year honors. It was a horrendous omission and oversight. Apologies to Hill and to coach Tim O’Donnell for the error, but she was in fact selected to the team….
Stan’s Sports Center of Hoboken, the premier sporting goods store and supplier in the county, is sponsoring their first-ever golf outing on Aug. 7 at the Pebble Creek Golf Club in Colts Neck. All of the proceeds to the tourney will go to provide scholarships to local student/athletes in assisting them go to college. It’s a way of the great people at Stan’s giving back to the community. If anyone is interested in either participating in the outing or becoming a sponsor for the outing, please call Stan’s at (201) 798-4466. Just as a note: Stan’s produced the Athlete of the Year awards for the Hudson Reporter for the 21st straight year…
The North Jersey Interscholastic Conference has totally realigned their league’s divisions in order of strength of schedule and wins and losses for all sports.
The four divisions, Colonial, Liberty, Meadowlands and Patriot, will remain the same, but the school’s affiliations change due to their recent successes.
For example, Weehawken will participate in the Patriot Division in football and Meadowlands for boys’ soccer. Secaucus will be in the Liberty Division for most sports. The two local long-time rivals do not meet any longer, unless it will be in an independent contest.
According to former Secaucus athletic director Stan Fryczynski, the executive director of the NJIC, the move was necessary.
“There is no room for long-standing rivalries anymore,” Fryczynski said. “We had to find relief for some of the schools who haven’t been successful recently. We can’t go by rivalries anymore. There was a tremendous amount of thought that went into it, but honestly, there weren’t many who were against it. It went through without a tussle. Some of them were voted on unanimously. We went through the first year of transition and learned a lot over the last two years. The athletic directors felt we needed this change.”
Fryczynski said that the league’s website, www.njicathletics.org, has also undergone a facelift and will feature all the new divisional alignments…
The annual St. Anthony basketball camp, under the guidance of respected Friar assistant coach Ben Gamble, will be held once again at the METS Charter School in Jersey City, with two sessions, Aug. 6-10 and Aug. 20-24, for boys and girls ages 8-14. We’ll have more on the camp in coming weeks. For more information now, contact Gamble at (201) 993-7192…
Beginning next week, the summer feature EXTRA INNINGS returns.
EXTRA INNINGS focuses on the best stories that come from local baseball and softball leagues throughout the area, from Little League action through travel leagues.
If you have any noteworthy information to contribute to the EXTRA INNINGS, feel free to contact Jim Hague by phone at (201) 303-5792, by general mail at 1400 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, or via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com.
The e-mail would be the best way of getting in touch.
Please include a telephone contact name and number, in order to secure further information for a possible story. Also, if you have a picture to be used with the story, that would be a great help….--Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.