WEST ORANGE, NJ - Preparation is key in high school sports, and baseball is no exception. In an effort to be in top form for the upcoming 2014 season, the West Orange High School boys baseball team will take their third annual trip to Florida for spring training this March.
“Baseball in the Northeast is very challenging,” Said head coach Stephan Zichella. “With the weather conditions early in the Spring, it's just not healthy for the body.”
The boys will head to Fort Pierce, Florida, on March 19, where they will participate in the Florida Coast Spring Training Camp Program. There, the players will be on state of the art fields that are kept in pristine condition. The boys will practice once to twice daily, in addition to playing four seven inning games throughout the five day trip.
“The experience that the kids have has really been a great start to the last few seasons,” added Coach Zichella.
“It's been great the last few years,” said senior pitcher Mike Zarro, who will be making his third trip to spring training. “It's a great team bonding experience and it's helped me enter the season ready to play.”
This trip, however, would not be possible without the effort of the Mountaineer Home Run Club, West Orange Baseball's booster club.
The Home Run Club's biggest fundraiser was “Battle of the Bands Night” held at the Shillelagh Club earlier in December. The fundraiser helped to offset the cost of the trip, allowing it to be a feasible experience for many of the players.
The event showcased local bands and performances, including West Orange baseball alumni, Phil Johnson, a 2008 graduate. The bands donated their services for the event, which was organized by Mountaineer parents Debi Zarro and Carol Fastiggi. Parents, teachers, coaches, school administrators, and even former baseball team members showed up to support the team and enjoy a fun evening of rock and roll.