Vernon softball team met high standards

| 15 Jul 2019 | 01:15

    Now that it’s complete, it can be stated that high standards were met by the Vernon High School softball program this year.
    The Vikings were outstanding in 2019 as they tallied an impressive overall record of 17-2, including a record of 9-1 as champions in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Freedom Division.
    “I am not sure if it was impressive or the overall feeling of teamwork [in terms of memorable wins]," Vernon head coach Kerry Ludeking said. “The two were Mount Olive during a Tournament in April. Mt Olive is known to be a super strong Group 4 team who always comes out strong. We went into the game with an open mind and with a different type of starting lineup, yet we looked at each other and knew we had to believe that everyone in the new position was going to do a great job, in which they did and we came out on top.
    “The other game would be the second Jefferson game in May. We had been without a game for over seven days and we needed to play hard to continue to keep the top spot in the Conference. Well as a coach I said a few words, but I heard the girls tell each other, ‘we all need to do a job and we need to do it together’. I was very proud to hear that and they pulled themselves together and won that game."
    Leadership was valuable for a Vikings team this spring which advanced to the semifinal round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 Sectional Tournament semifinal round.
    “I saw leadership in a different perspective this year," Ludeking said. “I actually watched as Natalie Alheidt would step up and talk to the younger girls who had something wrong. Natalie would talk to them as an adult and give her advice.
    “She proved leadership isn't always on the field, but also everywhere. This team was different, they knew they had to follow in some big footsteps and they all seemed to take the role as leaders one day or another to make sure that each and every one of them was ready to start and finish a season in a strong, good way."
    Vernon got better on the field in a number of ways this past season.
    “Our improvement is hard to talk about, instead I saw the strength become better in fielding, batting and yes even as a team who acted like a family," Ludeking said. “The key to this year’s improvement is ‘I believe do to the Florida [trip]’. We went down there with such a mix of girls many young, some older and they all had to play together.
    “I wasn't sure how we would actually be during the season after watching the games in Florida. I knew we would be competitive; but then I saw a group of female athletes start to bond like sisters."