For Casey Zdanek, Drew University was perfect for her.
It had all she wanted; it was nearby her Lyndhurst home, a quality softball team and the academic program that she wanted.
The Lyndhurst High School graduate wanted to commute to her new school as well as having a five-year master’s program for teaching.
With those two things, the Madison’s school having a young softball team was the clincher.
“Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be a teacher,” said Zdanek. “I use to teach my parents on a white marking board.”
Zdanek softball career culminated with her being named to the All Bergen County second team as a pitcher.
Zdanek pitched most of the Golden Bears games, recording 202 strikeouts with a 1.23 earn run average overall and a 0.68 ERA in the league. Her pitching stats were not the only thing that she excelled in as she smacked five home runs with a .490 batting average. ”
Casey has grown each year as a pitcher faster and stronger and better control over pitches,” said outgoing Lyndhurst High School head coach Elaine Catanese.
She also helped lead Lyndhurst into their first state sectional title game in 30 years.
When it comes to career highlight in her four seasons at Lyndhurst, the hurler points to two victories this past season where the Lady Golden Bears defeated New Milford and Rutherford. The win over New Milford clinched the first North Jersey Interscholastic Conference Liberty Division title and the win over Rutherford sent Lyndhurst into the Group 2 North 2 state title game.
“My dad takes photos of the games and we were just jumping all around and so happy,” said Zdanek.
The Golden Bears would lose to Hanover Park in the Group 2 North 2 state sectional final, but for Lyndhurst it was the first sectional title appearance since 1983.
For Zdanek she picked Drew over the likes of Caldwell College, William Paterson University and Dominican College. She also likes that she will be going to Drew with fellow Lyndhurst grads Michelle Taliento and Bobby DeMarco, a Golden Bear swimmer.
“I wanted to stay home and commuting is only about 25 to 30 minutes,” said Zdanek. “I didn’t want to go any further than 30 minutes from home.”
For Drew head softball coach Charlotte Labatem she just liked everything about Zdanek from her family, coaches and her willing to be versatile.
“It was the whole package,” said Labate.
The Drew head coach said that she is looking for players that are versatile.
“We are not a Division 1 program, we need somebody to fill in,” said Labate.
Zdanek told the coach that she would be willing to play anywhere on the field if it was not in the circle.
“She wants to play and wants to do anything to help the team,” said Labate.
The reality that her high school days were over came recently to Zdanek.
“I had to bring in some paperwork the other day and I was walking in the hallway at the high school,” said Zdanek. “I was thinking ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to be walking in these hallways this fall’.”
Another reality hit her also that she will not be playing with her softball pal, Lyndhurst High School graduate Julie Schneidenbach, who was her catcher for several years and also an All Bergen County backstop. She said that she played with Schneidenbach since they were in fifth grade.
While Schneidenbach will be going north and playing at the University of New Haven next spring, Zdanek will be staying near home and that’s something she always wanted.