RANDOLPH, NJ- Between the heavy snows in March and the drenching rains in April and May, the Randolph varsity baseball season has had its fair share of game delays, postponements, and outright cancellations.
With the season ending NJSIAA state tournament set to begin on Monday May 21, the Rams have only played 15 games so far this spring, after logging between 25 and 30 in each of the past five seasons.
The Rams had many new faces to mix in this season after last years’ squad lost seven seniors who were two or three- year varsity starters lost to graduation. The erratic schedule didn’t make it easy to get a rhythm going.
“Overall, I feel the team this year has overachieved, even though I know that may be a strange thing to say when your record is 7-8,” said Coach Doug Anderson. “Given the numerous factors that we've had to deal with this season, overall we have a pretty good record considering what it could've been.”
That being said, there were some players who really stepped up their game and filled in those graduation shoes nicely for Anderson's team.
I have been impressed with their daily effort during the games,” said Anderson. “No matter how many mental or physical mistakes we make, our player's continue to try hard and try to change what they are doing wrong. It's nice to see that ‘never give up’ attitude, no matter what the score is. It's teaching them a valuable lesson in life and a skill they will need as their lives progress.”
Anderson is hoping that attitude and work ethic can spark something special when the state tournament begins, similar to the magic of 2015.
“My message to the team as we get ready for Monday, is that ‘Anything Can Happen’,” said Anderson. “My first year as coach we went to Memorial as a No. 14 seed and they were a No. 3 seed, we ended up beating them 10-0 in five innings. I know that probably won't happen again, but it goes to show you that anything's possible at any given moment, and they should come prepared and ready to do something that will shock people...... because you never know.”
That team of Anderson's used the first round win at Memorial as a springboard to a wild run that saw the Rams win four straight upset games on the road to earn the North 1 Group 4 state sectional title.
The Rams are the No. 9 seed, so they will travel to play Memorial, the No. 8 seed, on their home field. If Randolph pulls out the win, they play round two on Thursday May 24. On Wednesday May 23, they play their senior night game home against Kinnelon at 4:00 p.m.