Fine leadership, hard work were keys for West Milford baseball


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  • Photo by Sport Shots / Rod Bolton



BY JOSH LASHLEY
One thing that can be said with certainty and respect to the West Milford High School baseball program this past season is that each time they stepped onto the field, they did so with the serious intent of giving it their best effort-and if their opponent wasn’t ready to do the same, then the latter would be in for a long day.

The Highlanders finished the spring with an overall record of 11-10 and they advanced to the NJSIAA North I Group III Sectional Tournament where they were defeated by Paramus.

West Milford head coach Joe Jordan recalls some of his team’s top performances from the recently ended season.

“We had two wins versus the eventual league champion Wayne Valley,” Jordan said. “The first was away on opening day (5-3 win on April 1) where historically has been a tough place to play for us. The second was a thrilling extra inning win in eight innings in a game where we trailed late and came back to tie the game when we were down to our last strike in the seventh and won the game (6-5 on April 25) in the eighth with two outs. The very next game we had another extra inning win at home versus Fair Lawn where we came back from three runs down to win 9-8 in nine innings.

“We also had an extra inning win at Passaic Valley where we trailed 8-2 at one point and then 8-4 where we scored four in the last inning to force extra innings only to win 10-8 in 10 innings (on April 9). We had a six-game winning streak in the middle of the season where we played our best baseball, also beating Lakeland with a 2-0 shutout at their field in what was a great team effort. The extra-inning wins stand out because we trailed in every one of them and fought back to win those games and showed we never gave up. The team battled through bad weather, cancellations and injuries to finish with a winning season and we were in contention to win the Conference championship right up to the last day of the season.”

Fine leadership was on display for the Highlanders throughout the course of the season.

“Our captains Chris Boes, Liam Stewart and LJ Tierney really led well for us this year,” Jordan said. “We had a strong senior presence on our team and all the seniors showed their leadership at various moments of the season. Boes was our team Most Valuable Player this season and earned First Team All-County and First Team All-Conference for the season he had.

A couple of newcomers to the varsity level truly made an impact this spring for West Milford.

“We had two first-year varsity players as juniors really emerge as important players for us,” Jordan said. “Junior infielder Peter Feronywas 13 for his first 16 (at the plate) when called up to varsity and finished the season with a .580 average. He was named to First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-County after starting the season with the junior varsity team. Junior pitcher Andrew Teklits also had a great season on the mound for us as a relief pitcher after missing all of last season with an injury. Both players will be important players to our team next year as seniors.

“We're optimistic (for the 2015 season) because we have a solid core of returning players coming back despite losing a really quality group of seniors,” Jordan said. “We also will have one of our best players, outfielder Sam Yuhas returning after missing the whole season with a knee injury. In all we will have seven players with really good varsity experience returning next season. We feel good about our chances build off this season with next season's group of players.”

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