It was a very good year for Essex County softball in 2015. Here’s a continuing look back at the past season, with some accolades.
TEAM OF THE YEAR: Not much argument here. Mount St. Dominic put together a marvelous season, finishing 29-2. The Lions won a second straight Essex County Tournament championship, as well as a second straight Super Essex Conference, American Division crown.
What’s really scary is how good this team could be next year. The Lions lost just one senior, albeit a phenomenal player in ‘Real Quiet’, Ally Dabroski. But the core of the team should be intact, with Kelsey Oh, Marisa Jenkins, Helyna Bissell and Sarah Taffet, who were first team, All-SEC players in 2015, set to return.
The Mount lost just one game within New Jersey and were more than dominant in the Essex County Tournament, while being ranked the state’s top team for a good portion of the season.
A heartbreaking loss in the North Non-Public A semifinals will only make this team more determined to bring back a state championship trophy to their campus in 2016.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Clearly the best pitcher in Essex County and, based on her winning the prestigious Gatorade award, the top pitcher in New Jersey, Kelsey Oh of Mount St. Dominic put up staggering numbers. She led her team to a Triple Crown in 2014 (conference, county and state championship) and followed that with a marvelous year in ’15.
Good news for MSD, but imposing for the rest of the SEC, and beyond—Oh will be a junior next year.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: There were some real good ones, but in this estimation, Erin Stacevicz of Cedar Grove gets the nod. California Chrome, a senior shortstop and leadoff hitter led Cedar Grove to its first Group 1 championship in 36 years. Stacevicz, who will play at the University of Massachusetts this fall, combined raw speed with a disciplined bat to make the Panthers’ offense lethal, especially at the top of the lineup.
Stacevicz batted .562 and scored 47 runs as Cedar Grove finished 24-8.
Cedar Grove coach AJ Agnor celebrates a state championship along with (left to right) Erin Stacevicz, Liz Dillard and Autumn Spinella. Agnor was named the FMTC Essex Coach of the Year while Stacevicz is our Player of the Year.
STUD OF THE YEAR: Nutley’s Carly Anderson used the Spectacular Bid moniker quite well during a four-year career for the Raiders. Anderson guided Nutley to a state sectional championship this year. After battling an injury in 2014 which limited her pitching, Anderson was at full strength this year. As a leadoff batter, she was incredible and in the circle, unflappable.
Anderson will be attending Rowan University this fall, where she’ll continue to play softball. A winner in every aspect possible, she was, CLEARLY, an All-State caliber player in 2015. No ifs, ands, or buts.
She’s the real deal, having been a part of state championship teams for basketball and softball this year at Nutley.
ESSEX COACH OF THE YEAR: In just his first season, AJ Agnor guided Cedar Grove to a Group 1 championship and 24-8 record. Agnor’s low-keyed personality seemed to fit the Panthers well. Cedar Grove mixed youth and experience into a tremendous post-season run.
The Panthers have enjoyed tremendous success over the past four decades behind the coaching of Ray VanDerMay and Rob Stern and now Agnor can put his name in a lofty place within the annals of a great softball program.
FAN OF THE YEAR: Okay, I admit it, I’m partial here. There are so many wonderful fans in Essex County softball, some of which are parents, while others are big fans of softball, in general.
Harry Anderson was one of my favorite fans over the past four years. As fun-loving and as hard-working a man as they come, Harry would never miss the chance to see his daughter, Carly Anderson, play softball.
He would take his usual spot in the outfield and enjoy every minute of watching his daughter play. He never questioned a coaching move, or was critical of a result, good, or bad. Harry just wanted to see the kids enjoy themselves, while playing the game he’s loved for a lifetime.
Harry Anderson can be described simply as this.
He’s a man.
He works long hours to provide for his family. When his daughter decided on what college she’d attend this fall (it will be Rowan University), the smile on his face extended a country mile.
Harry and his wife, Christy, signified all that’s right when it came to being supporting of their daughter, and watching her learn the rigors of competition.
Harry never asked for accolades, he does what is expected of a devoted husband and father. I can’t tell you how many phone calls we’d share about a game, or a specific team, and he’d rattle off statistics about numerous players and coaches in the state. He’s attended more than his share of summer softball games and traveled the circuit regularly, always being a positive influence.
Thanks, Harry, for doing it correctly, for remembering the game is for the kids, and to you and Christy for raising such a very nice young woman, in Carly.
FINAL FMTC TOP 10 FOR 2015
1-Mount St. Dominic (29-2)
2-Cedar Grove (24-8)
4-West Essex (18-11)
10-(tie) Bloomfield (7-16), Newark Academy (8-16), Montclair Kimberley (9-14) and Belleville (18-8)