Bob Mayer’s enthusiasm level as he neared an incredible milestone of 500 career wins as Bloomfield High’s softball coach was the equivalent of preparing for a root canal.
As proud as Mayer has been of coaching student-athletes, he never wanted the victory total to be about himself.
“I just want to get it over with,” Mayer had said on numerous occasions, as the number inched higher.
Nevertheless, as Bloomfield defeated Memorial of West New York, 12-3, for win number 500 on April 23, at Clifton’s Main Memorial Park, Mayer admitted he got a little emotional, in seeing the fans’ reaction.
“It was especially nice to see some former players there,” said Mayer. “There were kids there who had played earlier in the day, then traveled a good deal to get here in time to see our game. That’s really special. And the fans were great, and, of course, the kids are the kids. They’re wonderful.”
Mayer is the third coach in the history of Essex County to reach 500 wins, joining Belleville’s Carl Corino, who was the first to do it, in 2005, and is since retired, and Mike Teshkoyan, who is still active and has won over 600 as Caldwell’s head coach.
Ironically, Mayer earned his 500th on the same day the Belleville community honored Corino, by naming its softball field in the coach’s name. A large contingent of fans were on hand, as Clearman Field was re-named The Corino Softball Complex at Clearman Field.
Mayer and Corino have remained friends since the days the Bengals and Bucs played each other. Mayer actually reached out during his game today, asking how the Corino dedication went, and Corino was very happy to hear that Mayer had reached his milestone, when informed at a post-dedication party.
“Bob Mayer is as classy as they come,” said Corino. “He deserves all the accolades. What a great coach and even better man. I hope to see him at one of his games, soon.”
The Bengal players were really excited about the accolade. The team presented Mayer with three balloons, symbolic of the numbers 5-0-0, as well as a special plaque and the obligatory cupcakes.
Senior pitcher Courtney Politz threw a complete game, and afterward admitted it was special to be in the circle for win 500. In the second game, she paced her team’s offense, with three hits, including a double, and a run scored.
“Pretty nice,” said Politz of being the winning pitcher in Mayer’s 500th win. “It means a lot.”
Newark Academy coach Serg Rodriguez was also on hand to see the milestone win. Rodriguez, like most of the coaches in Essex County, has a great deal of respect and fondness for Mayer.
Bloomfield’s offense was led by senior centerfielder Sam Corio, who had four hits while Politz had three and Kim Zapata and Ayaria Andrade-Zygmunt had two hits each.
Corio then started the second game, against the Clifton Mustangs, at Main Memorial Park, as the team’s pitcher, and threw a complete game. She also had two more hits. Jalia Santos also had two hits, including a mammoth homer in the second inning.
Bloomfield won that game, too, 6-3, and improved to 6-7 on the season, as Mayer won game number 501.