Marlboro softball going in the right direction

Young Mustangs eye being contenders



It’s often difficult for a coach to consider a season where his team won less than 29 percent of its games a great year.

But Marlboro High School’s softball coach, Tom Mulcahey, has many reasons to be cheerful.

For one, after dropping their first 11 games, the Mustangs regrouped and won six of their last 10, and four of their last five.

A 6-15 record didn’t help Marlboro escape from the bottom half of the Shore Conference’s Class A North standings, but the six victories do provide hope for Mulcahey.

He was especially proud of his team when the players continued to give their all, despite being outscored 52-10 during their 11-game losing streak, which included six shutouts.

“I had to be patient,” the first-year coach said. “I had to tell them fundamentals.

“Just getting the first win, that was the toughest one,” he added. “We just had to take it from there.”

As happy as Mulcahey was about the victory, he was not coaching that day (May 2) vs. Freehold Township.

In fact, Mulcahey missed most of the season after being hit in the eye by a line drive during a team practice.

Maybe motivation from the injury didn’t hit the team as fast as the line drive hit their coach (Marlboro did lose another six in a row), but Mulcahey believes his misfortune helped inspire the team.

“We have a very good relationship,” he said. “They know I work hard and they pushed themselves more.”

The collision left assistant coaches Eric Yang and Tom Sandavol in charge of the team.

“Relationships with the coaches are very strong, and [Yang and Sandavol] had no problem taking over,” Mulcahey said. “They knew how I did things and knew how the program ran.”

One of the biggest positives Mulcahey sees in the team is its pitching. Sophomores Sam Epstein, Sam Tobin and Alyssa Bloom will undoubtedly be Marlboro’s top pitchers next year, but Mulcahey wanted to let Lisa Karmel, the team’s only senior, be the key starter this season.

“With these other girls, [Karmel] didn’t think she would make the team,” Mulcahey said. “But she was our starting pitcher from day one.

“Last year she had no wins,” Mulcahey added. “She had two wins [this year], and that was the brightest spot of the season.”

Of course Mulcahey wishes he could have been more involved in the 2007 season, but he is pleased with what he saw and is excited for 2008.

“It’s a special group of kids,” Mulcahey said about his team. “The more experience we got, the more the kids started to mature.

“I’m trying to get through some problems right now,” he said, referring to the lingering effects of the accident. “But I can’t wait to get over it.

“This was the best season we had in years. My goal was to win more than one game, and we did that. I look forward to [next season]. It’s only going to get better.”