The middle school boys baseball team “Black” was honored by the Board of Education on Thursday, June 27, for completing an undefeated season. 

The team finished the season 11-0, the first undefeated season in decades.

“We are so proud of their accomplishments and they are to be commended for their performance,” Acting Superintendent Denise Cleary told the audience at the Board of Education meeting. “They carried the good name of Linden throughout the county and I know that’s because of their dedication to the sport and their commitment to our schools. The presented themselves very well throughout the season. All that hard work and dedication certainly paid off. That’s something they should be very proud of.”

team posing with board members

The undefeated middle school baseball team with, at left Board of Education Vice President Katarzyna Kozak, board member Patrick Gargano, and coach Michael Clark, and at right board member Ahmed Shehata and Acting Superintendent Denise Cleary.

Coach Michael Clark thanked the board and complimented his players for their effort.

“We had an excellent season. There were a few games that were very close but our team stuck it out to the very end,” he said. “We just kept pushing along and getting hits and finishing games.

Clark also pointed out that all the players worked hard to maintain their grades and everyone remained eligible to play throughout the season. The audience gave this a large ovation.

“More than the wins, that’s a big accomplishment,” he said.

The middle school baseball program expanded into two teams this year, named Orange and Black. The Black team that was undefeated was made up almost entirely of eighth-graders.

“So we’ve got a nice core of really, really good student athletes coming up to the high school,” Clark said.

The team was made up of players from McManus and Soehl middle schools. They are Matthew Castillo, Daniel Ciprian, Jahson Correa, Ivan Cruz, Julian Cruz,  Jimmie Jones, Connor Lewis, Carmine Meola-Dreissig, Michael Meola-Dreissig, Aleksander Nycz, Philip Orzechowski, Andrew Plummer, Lucas Prendez, Philip Principato, Robert Zack.

Cleary also thanked all the parents in attendance for their support throughout the season.

“It’s hard when you have a student athlete, with all the back and forth to practices and games,” she said. “It’s a lot of extra commitment. The fact that all of you are there for them and part of that commitment, that speaks volumes.”

baseball team posing for team photo in uniform