Bengals, Lady Bengals Make History on the Diamond
The Barnegat Bengals baseball team made school history this year by winning its first-ever playoff game against the Collingswood High School Panthers in a 5-1 victory on May 22. Though the team has made it to the first round of the New Jersey state playoffs in the past, said head coach Dan McCoy, this is the first post-season win the club has recorded.
“It was exciting and (I am) proud. The kids have worked so hard all year long and to see it pay off, it was just awesome for the kids and for the staff,” said John Germano, athletic director for Barnegat Township schools. “I’m just proud of the kids. It was a big building block in our program.”
“It was definitely a defining moment for the program going forward,” said McCoy.
Though the next round of the playoffs against fourth-seeded Haddonfield High School did not end as favorably for the Bengals, with a 12-2 season-ending defeat, Germano said he looks at it as a learning experience. “What we may have lost on the field, we gained in experience. Our program is on the right track and moving in a great direction.”
McCoy expressed similar sentiments. “I think it was another good learning experience for the guys, to see how good we have to be in order to compete at that level in states,” he said. “I told the guys we lost to a better team, but if we want to make a run in states, we have to emulate that program. ... Uncharacteristically this year, we made a lot of errors during that game.”
The team, however, is young, and only losing six seniors from the club. Granted, one of those seniors is star pitcher Mark McCoy, who has entered the 2012 Major League Baseball draft and, according to his coach and father, is expected to be signed somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds of the 40-round draft. His talent is undeniable – McCoy said that if his son is selected in the sixth round of the draft, it puts him in the top 210 young baseball players in the entire country.
Though the coach says his son’s presence, along with the other five seniors, will be missed, the young team has a lot of depth and he’s hopeful for continued success in the future. “We won’t have that number-one guy, but we'll have seven or eight guys that will be able to give us good varsity innings,” he said.
Overall, McCoy said, “I’m proud of my guys. The one thing I like about this group is that they weren't satisfied with just getting there; they wanted to win and move on.” Indeed, there is always next year.
Meanwhile, across the athletic fields, the Lady Bengals softball team also competed in the state competitions, achieving victory in the second round of state playoffs against Sterling High School on May 24. The extra-innings victory for the Lady Bengals against the defending champions meant the team made it to the semifinals for the first time in school history, and played Buena High School at home on Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Lady Bengals, that game, like the historic Barnegat baseball playoff, did ultimately end in a 6-0 defeat. Though both teams are out of the running for the state championship, each made historic achievements for the young high school this spring.
Is it a coincidence that both the baseball and softball teams have made history this year? Not really, said Germano. “Athletically, this year has been a very, very good year for Barnegat. I know our coaches worked very, very hard and our kids worked extremely hard, too. ... They set a great example for all of us.”