BORDENTOWN – It was back on March 13 that the Bordentown Regional High School baseball team was scheduled to suit up for its first scrimmage of the preseason against Ewing High School.
The scrimmage was postponed suddenly and the team changed course to doing an intersquad scrimmage.
As they walked up to the baseball field that Friday afternoon, Coach Chris Glenn and his team were informed that the school had postponed all its school activities for the time being and that the team would have to wait until they were allowed to get back to work on the diamond.
That call would not happen this spring.
Almost two months of endless training to keep in shape for a possible season ended in disappointment when the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association canceled the spring sports season on May 4 after Gov. Phil Murphy announced that schools around the state would stay closed through the end of the academic school year.
“Disappointing would be an understatement,” Glenn said. “It was real sudden at first when everything happened, which made it tougher.”
Bordentown had a core group of players coming back from last year’s squad that went 13-8 and made it to the semifinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 Tournament.
The Scotties had a solid one-two punch of senior right-handers in Tommy Niedermaier and Nick Nemes at the top of their rotation, along with a lineup anchored by seniors Mike Giambelluca and Ryan Tomasulo.
A good core of players and a strong mix of underclassmen ready to shine at the varsity level had Glenn believing his squad would be competitive this spring and would surprise many people.
In total, Bordentown was set to have seven seniors on their roster this spring, many of whom Glenn said the team would lean on in big spots throughout the season.
The nine-year coach is heartbroken for his senior class, who have helped Bordentown achieve a lot of success over their time in high school ranks.
During the last three years, Bordentown has won 46 games and a share of the Burlington County Scholastic League Patriot Division title the last two seasons.
Bordentown defeated Delran High School, 3-0, to win the BCSL tournament back in 2018. The event was not held in 2019.
“It’s tough for any group of seniors,” Glenn said. “They waited four years to get their chance to be the big man on campus and got it taken away from them.”
The team did create a special tribute video to honor all seven senior players that was released via their Twitter account on May 8.
Throughout the pandemic, Glenn’s message to his team had been to continue to work and to trust that there will be a day they can play baseball and that “hopefully” it will be soon.
Getting back on the diamond this summer is a possibility for the squad, with the governor announcing last week that non-contact sports like baseball can resume on June 22.
The NJSIAA released a statement following the governor’s announcement on May 30, stating that high school athletics can begin on June 30:
“The governor’s executive order (EO #149) regarding organized sports is a positive step. Specifically related to high school athletics, this executive order makes it clear that interscholastic sports may resume in accordance with reopening protocols issued by the NJSIAA – which, in turn, will be based on Department of Health protocols. The executive order also notes that activities related to high school sports may not resume any earlier than June 30, 2020.”
It was also reported last week that the Saint Joseph High School head baseball Coach Mike Murray was trying to set up a statewide high school baseball tournament called New Jersey’s Last Dance World Series this summer. The tournament would follow the 64-team NCAA College World Series format that would reportedly begin on July 7. The tournament will not be limited to just 64 teams. According to Glenn, around 90 teams have signed up for the tournament.
Glenn said signing up the team for the tournament is a possibility, but he still needs to talk to all his players and the Bordentown Assistant Principal of Athletics Jennifer Cicale for more clarity on the matter.
Another option that some Bordentown players will have is competing for their club team this summer, Glenn said, and he does not want to restrict them from that opportunity or put them in a situation that would put them at risk for injury and their overall safety.
“We will make the best decision for the safety of our players and what’s best for their future,” Glenn said. “Once we get a clear decision on what is going on regarding the proposed tournament, it will help us decide what to do and we’ll go from there.”
The BCSL was planning on doing a round-robin tournament in June that would include a Senior Day picnic to honor all the senior baseball players in the county, according to Glenn. Those plans have since been scrapped and there is no word if the league will try to do something like that in the summer, Glenn stated.
It wasn’t a spring filled with memories made on the diamond for Bordentown.
The disappointment of not having a season was tough to accept without a shadow of a doubt from the seniors down to the freshmen in the program. It was a hard pill to swallow, but Glenn believes the way his team has handled everything has been great and it shows how resilient the players on the team are.
“We have a group of kids that are resilient,” Glenn said. “They will come out stronger from this and get their chance to get back on the field.”