In late June, the Star-Ledger named the Blair baseball and softball teams “Prep Baseball Team of the Year” and “Prep Softball Team of the Year,” respectively.
This spring, the Blair baseball team won its first prep A championship win since 1996 and the softball team won both the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) and state prep A titles for the first time in School history. The Star-Ledger also recognized softball pitcher Michelle Fox ’12 as “Prep Softball Player of the Year.”
A Review of the Baseball Team’s Season
The 2012 baseball season began with a very successful trip to Vero Beach, Florida, where the team practiced daily, scrimmaged teams and bonded. However, upon its return to Blair, the athletes struggled with both execution and consistency for the first six weeks of the season, winning few games.
“Although they had their share of frustrations during the first six weeks of the season, the team never quit,”said head coach Jim Stone, who also serves as Blair’s athletic director. “By May, their hard work paid off, and we defeated Kiski by 22-12 in a real pitcher’s duel and then went into the state tournament as the last seed.”
The team knocked off the number-one seed, Peddie, by a score of 10-0 to secure its first back-to-back victories of the 2012 season. Attributing much of that success to Jake Spezial ’13, who was outstanding on the mound, Coach Stone and his team secured another 5-0 victory at Hun, where Sean Lubreski ’14 pitched. This victory allowed the team to compete in the state finals, which Blair hosted in mid-May.
“During the final game, the team came from behind once again to defeat Peddie 9-6 and win the state title,” said Coach Stone. “Winning this championship was a complete team effort, as all of the players contributed offensively and defensively in the field. That said, this great run of high-quality Blair baseball was lead by seniors Mike Galvin, Max Kaplan, George Green, Teddy Richardson, Tim Hettinger, and co-captains Paul Mascarenhas and Ryan Gallagher, all of whom stepped up big time and ended their high school careers on the highest of notes.”
A Review of the Softball Team’s Season
The softball team started with an impressive 9-0 record and won all but two games this season, losing only to Sparta and Mt. St. Dominic in April. Veteran leadership played a huge role in the Bucs’ string of victories, with Michelle Fox, Lauren Mezzanotte ’12 and Carolyn Wan ’13 emerging as the team’s dominant offensive force. Michelle also delivered consistently from the pitcher’s mound throughout the season.
The team secured the MAPL championship on May 3, defeating The Lawrenceville School 14-1, thanks to a hot-hitting streak by Deanna Inez ’12 and impressive defensive efforts from Julia Dioguardi ’13. The Buc’s opponent in the state finals, MAPL-rival Peddie, traveled to Blairstown on May 18 and took an early lead. Still trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Michelle got the momentum rolling in the Buc’s favor by hitting a single. Lightning-quick Carly Newfield ’14 subbed in as a pinch runner and stole second, before Ana’s double allowed her to score. With one out, Emily Wan ’15 hit a triple, scoring the game-winning run.
In her 25th season coaching at Blair, head coach Carolyn Conforti-Browse was visibly emotional when reflecting upon the team’s success. “We managed to meet the vision of perfection I had for them,” she said. “They are truly the best team I’ve ever coached in 25 years.”
Consistent performers all season, Michelle and Lauren were recognized for their excellence on the field as the 2012 recipients of the Stowell Softball Award at the spring athletic awards ceremony in late May.
To read the Star-Ledger article about the baseball team in full, please click here. To read the article about the softball team in full, please click here.