SPARTA, NJ – The change of season signals the start of Fall Ball playoffs for Sparta Diamonds softball program.
Teams from all over New Jersey competed in the playoffs beginning with the younger U10 players through the 16 year-olds.
“Sparta Softball was coming off a strong summer season and was well represented at every age lever this fall,” according to Jason Villar “The coaches had their teams prepped for the final days of the softball season with the goal of bringing home multiple titles to Sparta.”
“It is a long season that starts in February with indoor practices at our facility and lasts all the way to October,” Sparta Diamond Softball President Lory Risoli said. “It is a tribute to everyone involved that after all these years, we continue to be a strong program. But what makes all of it worthwhile, are those girls. They give their all, no matter what. You can’t teach heart.”
“All Sparta teams fought hard and gave it their all,” Villar said. Two teams won their divisions, “hoisting the first place tropies. The 10A and 14 A Diamond teams got the job done and celebrated on the field with family and friends.”
The 10A Head Coach Chirs Heim said, “We push the girls to be their best and they always respond. They love the game and we are all so proud of them. They play to win.”
Heim continued to explain it was a total team effort. He said the 10A girls played “stingy defense, were aggressive on the bases and pushed key runs across the plate with clutch hitting.”
Sparta won their championship game over Mount Olive 8-4. “The score only tells part of the story,” Heim said. “The looks of joy on the girls’ faces is what it’s all about.” Heim relayed the comment made by a 10A player after receiving her trophy: “When does practice start for spring?”
The 14A Diamonds finished the regular season undefeated with a record of 14-0. They finished the season with a 14-2 victory over Mount Olive in the championship game. Despite the temperature being cool, the girls’ “bats were hot,” according to Villar. Each girl in the line-up “took part in the hit parade,” in the semi-final and final round.
“Solid pitching and stout defense kept any chances of a Mount Olive rally at bay,” Villar said. The win gave the 14A Diamonds their ninth overall trophy this season.
“They are a true team, they played hard all year, they play for each other and we play to win,” Assistant Coach Chris Hannam said. “It was an honor to coach this group of young ladies.”
The team posed for photos and enjoyed the excitement of their accomplishments. They are already looking forward to the 2017 season.
The program closed out their season with the annual Vernon Halloween Tournament on Oct 30. The entire Diamond Softball program attended for a day of fun softball competition highlighted by costume clad players.