When the 1978 softball team made it all the way to the New Jersey Prep A Championship game, it was a long way, indeed! Just a very few seasons earlier, Mike “Imp” Imperiale had left his music classroom each afternoon to coach the school’s very first softball team. With their unrelenting gusto, these girls not only put softball on the spring schedule, they put young women in Peddie sports to stay.
As short on experience as they were long on enthusiasm, that first-season team went 0-12. But two attributes quickly became hallmarks of the program. First, the girls had fun - so much so that other girls hurried to join them. Second, they keep getting better. The 1976 squad went 4-8, and 1977’s 8-4 record marked the first winning season. “These girls all had a positive, wonderful attitude, friendship, work ethic, “ Coach Imp remembers, “sure it was fun to win, but it was more fun just to play.” The winning ways of the 1978 team earned them the right to play Hun - an opponent they had beaten earlier - for the state championship. While they did not come away with that crown, they set the stage for the outstanding level of accomplishment typical of girls’ athletics at Peddie today.
The 1978 Softball Team...Abby Adlerman, Tracie Brennan, Cherie Graham, Sari Helbig, Jane Kozinski, Kathy Kutalek, Suzy Maccagnan, Sharon Mendel, Heidi Miller, Maryjean Spatt, Cathy Niederberger, Jen Orlick, Carrie Parker, Cindy Parr, Becky Keller, Margaret Selecky, Alison Tevlin and Brenda Watson. Assistant Coach John Sprout vividly remembers them as “a great, talented bunch of kids who really wanted to win, and that was something truly new and different for Peddie girls of that day.”