GLEN RIDGE – Following his first season as the head coach for the Glen Ridge High School baseball team, Liam Penberthy had to like what he saw.
This past year, the Ridgers not only qualified for the postseason, but while there, GRHS advanced all the way to the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 tournament final for the first time since 1994.
“Overall it was definitely a nice showing for us,” said the coach, whose squad finished the season with a record of 12-13. “While we fell just one run short of our ultimate team goal, this team has accomplished so much. The team achieved double-digit wins, second seed in state tournament and reached the sectional final. None of this would have been possible if it were not for the hard work and sacrifices of the players during the offseason and throughout the regular and postseason.”
Without a doubt, the coach said that this year’s group was led by a strong senior class which included shortstop Robert Spitaletta, catcher Griffin Cancro, pitcher/outfielder Carter Crutchfield, center fielder Matt Buchmann, catcher/outfielder Jackson Curtis, first baseman Keeler Patton, and outfielders Mac Kortrey and Joe Norori.
“The team will miss each of the seniors for various reasons. This group led the team to GR’s first sectional final appearance since 1994,” said the coach, whose squad defeated Weehawken in the quarterfinals and Secaucus in the semifinals before falling short against Bloomfield Tech. “This senior class helped make GR Baseball relevant again.”
Looking ahead to next year, Penberthy said GRHS will rely on a few returning players to help lead the way.
“Owen Hannigan, Brian Schnack, Matt Myles and Max Thompson, along with James Malik and Grant Naylor, will be looked upon to guide the Glen Ridge Baseball team next season,” he said.