Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Schedule Change in Bergen a Plus

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Schedule Change in Bergen a Plus

Article excerpt

Change has come to the Bergen County softball tournament this season, but it's a good thing.

Rather than a change just to try something different, pushing back the tournament schedule two weeks and having it finish later should benefit Bergen County teams.

While last year's tournament ended May 22; this season the final has been pushed back to June 2. There were a couple of good reasons to move the start date back. One was that it allowed the teams to play more games, and for the coaches to get a better feel for the teams so seeding could be more accurate. Even better was that Saturday's first round came the day after the cutoff date for the state tournament.

"The beauty of that is that no one gets a loss before the state cutoff," said Darren White, tournament director and Saddle Brook coach. "That means Bergen County schools get higher seeds. With the old schedule, 25 of the 32 teams would have another loss by the cutoff date."

White and a handful of other coaches saw South Jersey teams having more success at the state tournament in recent years. They felt one reason for that success was the scheduling for their county tournaments that saw southern teams play a more steady schedule in the season's final weeks.

One concern going forward is that the two teams playing in the Bergen final could also qualify for the state sectional final. The problem is that the sectional finals will be June 1 and the county tournament final is the following day. That's two huge games in a 24- hour span.

"We're the biggest tournament [numbers-wise] of any county in New Jersey," White said. "If anyone has a suggestion, we want to hear them."

Email: leonard@northjersey.com

Sidebar:

Softball Player of the Year watch

Melissa Phelan, Saddle Brook, senior, C: The slugging backstop had two homers and eight RBI as Saddle Brook went 3-0. She hit the game-winning grand slam Saturday in a Bergen tourney victory over Ridgefield Park.

Steph Thomas, Immaculate Heart, sophomore, P: She went 3-0, allowing one run in 18 innings in victories over Immaculate Conception, Wood-Ridge and Bergen Tech. She fanned nine in Saturday's five-inning win against Wood-Ridge.

Ally Thomas, Pequannock, senior, OF: She had three homers and four RBI in victories over St. …

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