2015 Softball: Sayreville’s Christa DeLucia Is Coach Of The Year

Sayreville coach Christa DeLucia (Photo by John Wooding)
Sayreville coach Christa DeLucia (Photo by John Wooding)
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SAYREVILLE — After a 2014 season where commitment to softball was not a priority at Sayreville, head coach Christa DeLucia developed a slogan for 2015 — ‘Give up the Me for the We.”

When the Sayreville High School seniors were on a Senior Trip to Florida during the last weekend of May, upperclassmen Erin Fitzsimmons and Brianna Parisio stayed behind so they could play in the Central Jersey, Group 4 final against Hunterdon Central.

“That was the type of commitment the kids had,” said DeLucia. “Playing softball is never easy because sacrifices have to be made even over family sometimes. We had some issues in 2014, but these kids really bonded together and made a commitment to softball this season.”

In 2013, an extremely young Sayreville team took Middlesex County by storm and advanced to the GMC Tournament final, losing to South Plainfield, 3-0.

Sayreville coach Christa DeLucia giving instruction (Photo by John Wooding)

Sayreville coach Christa DeLucia giving instruction (Photo by John Wooding)

With a veteran team returning, 2014 was supposed to be the year of the Bombers. Talk of winning the school’s first Middlesex County/GMC Tournament since 1977 was in the air.

But players left the program, some made other commitments more of a priority than softball during the season, then there was also the injury bug.

The Bombers did make a late run and lost two close ones in the GMCT and Central Jersey Group 4 quarters, but the 12-10 finish didn’t sit well with DeLucia, who played softball at Sayreville and who was on a GMCT field hockey championship team there in 1986.

“We were always missing kids because of trips, proms and things like that,” said the 47-year-old DeLucia, who has a record of 112-106 in 10 years at the helm. “We didn’t have leadership, we didn’t have a core.”

In 2015, the Bombers had that core.

“Erin and Brianna staying behind from a Senior Trip for a day showed what type of commitment these kids had,” said DeLucia, who teaches history at Sayreville, where she still lives. “We had a core, which paved the way for us.”

In 2015, the Bombers returned seven starters from that young 2013 team — Emily Cabrera, Christina Misiur, Rebecca Wehrle, Mary Kate Kersting, Brianna Parisio, Erin Fitzsimmons and Liane Villano. Championship talk was in the air again.

“The kids came in determined,” said DeLucia. “But having the talent and getting it done is still tough. We had to fix some imperfections.”

A meeting on the mound (Photo by John Wooding)

A meeting on the mound (Photo by John Wooding)

Playing in a highly-competitive Red Division where teams were taking turns beating each other, no one could separate themselves from the pack. But for the Bombers, the turning point took place on May 7 with the post-season looming.

After losing to rival East Brunswick 4-0 earlier in the season, Sayreville was confident it could snap a 12-game losing streak against the Bears dating back to 2011.

Taking a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh, EB tied the game, then won it 3-2 on a two-out, walk-off single.

Sayreville was now 9-4 with no shot of a division crown and perhaps a little shaken up.

“That was a cathartic moment for us,” said DeLucia, who played some softball at Kean before earning her masters degree from St. Peter’s. “We let that one get away from us, it was like coulda, woulda, shoulda. We made a decision to never that happen again and the kids all came back hungry.”

When the post-season began one week later, the Bombers ‘caught lightning in a bottle’ according to DeLucia.

The Bombers won seven straight games in the post-season before losing to Hunterdon Central in the CJ 4 final. Along the way, they beat East Brunswick not once, but twice — in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarters and in the GMCT final, winning it for the first time since 1977 when it was called the Middlesex County Tournament.

The Bombers and pitcher Erin Fitzsimmons outscored four teams in the county tournament, 26-4.

“One of the things which helped us was playing in the Red Division,” said DeLucia. “Playing against such great competition every day really brings out the best in you and we got on a roll in the end.”

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