WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - Wood-Ridge head baseball coach Mike Carcich is comfortable that his players are in good hands getting ready for the Last Dance Tournament, scheduled to start on July 14.
“First and foremost, I can't say enough about the town of Wood-Ridge in regards to being supportive to baseball at all levels, but especially the high school,” Carcich stated. “Leading up to the cancelation of the spring season, and before the announcement of The Last Dance tournament, we had set up a mini-season to take place during the month of July, depending on the restrictions and guidelines set forth by the Governor.“
“As we were planning this, we caught wind of The Last Dance Tournament,” Carcich said. “I had reservations initially, because we had a plan in place already. I emailed the players, and they all wanted in. So we re-adjusted out schedule and added the Last Dance Tournament.”
Due to NJSIAA regulations that put baseball in its summer recess, high schools are forbidden from being in contact with their players until July 13. As a result, the teams in the tournament are not “high school” teams, but recreation teams, who were able to begin workouts on June 22.
“We have had three practices already, and will have either an intra-squad or independent game when we are allowed, (July 6.)"
Carcich praised Wood-Ridge Mayor Paul Sarlo, not only for his help in getting the recreation team ready, but for taking over as the Recreation/Parent head coach.
“Our parent coaches (Sarlo, Bob Packen, Joe Crandall, and Mike Kaseman) are great,’ said Sarlo. “We had a zoom meeting to go over our practice plan, and we are keeping the format the same as we did for high school practices. They are all coaches that have coached them in Little League and Babe Ruth so there is already a rapport.”
Leading from the players side is the lone senior participating in the tournament, Liam Winslow.
“He has been nothing but a true leader in ever sense of the word,“ stated Carcich. “He helps our parent coaches run practices."
The schedule will be competitive, as Wood-Ridge opens with North Arlington, and if they win, they will play the winner of Midland Park and Bogota for the B “bracket title and the right to play the winner of the A Bracket (Becton, St. Mary’s, Hasbrouck Heights, Lyndhurst.)
“We're excited to have a fighting chance to advance in the tournament, but we are in it with some other very good Group 1 and 2 teams," Carcich said. “Round 1 is like a little mini regular season. Anything after that is just gravy.”
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