SPOTSWOOD, NJ – On May 2, Spotswood High School varsity baseball coach Glenn Fredricks earned his fourth Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division championship as head coach. The title-clinching win came against Middlesex High School after a ten year drought as division champions.
Fredricks’ roots in Spotswood are deep, having grown up in the borough and wearing the blue and yellow of the Spotswood High School Chargers himself. He took over the varsity coaching reins 13 seasons ago after the Chargers claimed the Blue Division titles in both 2003 and 2004. Prior to clinching this year’s division title, Fredricks won three consecutive Blue Division titles from 2005 through 2007.The Spotswood native was also tabbed as Division Coach of the Year for each of those seasons. 2007 was the ultimate coaching year for the popular Spotswood High School physical education teacher. The 2007 Chargers garnered the division, league, sectional and state titles. They are only the second team in Greater Middlesex Conference history to accomplish the feat. Edison High School did it in 1993.
Currently, the Chargers are enjoying a winning season on the field. Their overall record stands at 15-3 and they are 11-1 in league play. However, like most successful coaches, Fredricks is only focused on the team they play next.
“I try to preach to our kids to not look at the rankings at all,” Fredricks said in a recent interview at Spotswood High School. “I keep them focused on the next opponent that’s in front of them. The only rankings that mean anything are the ones at the very end of the season when we have no games left. If we’re at the top at that point in time, we’ve reached our goals.”
Fredricks goals are the same every season. He keeps the standards high for the Chargers. Under his leadership, the Chargers have only had three seasons that didn’t end with a winning record. Last season, the Chargers finished with a respectable 12-13 season. They lost five key members to graduation. Yet, this season the team started off with a pop. The Chargers won their first two games out of the gate in April before stumbling with two consecutive losses. However, after dropping a non-league game to Union High School, the team went of a tear with 12 straight victories.
“This specific group, starting with the seniors and filtering down, have a kind of chemistry you cannot teach,” Fredricks said when asked what changed with this group of players. “You want all your kids to get along all the time, but sometimes that’s not going to happen. They come from all different backgrounds and age groups. This team looks after one another from top to bottom. Both levels of the team from varsity to jv, it’s like a real brotherhood. These guys have been through everything together since they were little kids. They’ve played in big tournaments against big schools and nothing fazes them because of that. One of the most redeeming qualities about these guys is that they really care about one another and that goes a long way.”
Fredricks went on to say that chemistry in years past hasn’t been bad. The difference with the bond with this particular group of players is simply special. While they have players that stand out like JT Vento, who has been recruited to play for the defending National Champion at Coastal Carolina University, Fredricks describes the 2017 Chargers as being a true team with contributions coming from each player with teammates ready to pick up the slack if someone falters.
“The one thing I ask when they come into the program,” Fredricks continued. “Is to leave it better off when you go out then when you came in. If we continue to keep doing that, it’s going to pave the way for players like JT that have the chance to go play at the next level.”
Just how far can the Chargers go this season? The 2007 team has set down the ultimate scenario, winning all the possible titles available.
“The bar has been set,” Fredricks said of the 2007 team. “We’re always going to strive to reach those goals every year. That goal will never change.”
However, Fredricks was quick to note that he has 100 percent faith in the 2017 Chargers, but stopped short of making a prediction, sticking to what he tells his players; take one opponent at a time.
Yet, the longtime coach would definitely like the team to keep playing the sport he treasures, well into June. The joy of America’s favorite pastime as well as the camaraderie of the team was evident as Fredricks took the field for practice along with his fellow coaches and the varsity and junior varsity squads
“I just love being around them every day,” Fredricks said of the team. “I want to keep this going as long as we possibly can.”
The Middlesex County Tournament begins on May 12 while the state sectional tournament hits the field on May 22. Next up for the Chargers is the Commander's Cup, which takes place against East Brunswick High School on Saturday, May 6 at 2 p.m. at the Spotswood High School Varsity Baseball Field.