Monday, April 29, 2013


One of the best-kept secrets in North Jersey baseball is officially out of the bag.

“Wow,” said Lyndhurst coach Butch Servideo. “I was hoping we’d stay under the radar a little longer.”

Not much chance of that, especially after a week in which the Golden Bears (13-2) stretched their winning streak to 12 games. That not only clinched a spot in the Bergen County tournament, but it also jumped Lyndhurst up to No. 17 in The Record baseball Top 25.

Not too shabby for a team that stumbled out of the gate earlier this month by giving up 22 runs and making seven errors on opening day.

“After a 1-2 start, I thought it was going to be a long year,” said Servideo, who is six wins shy of gaining membership to the exclusive 500-win club. “When we went down to Florida in March, we talked about unity. We talked about camaraderie.

“In fact, our motto at the beginning of the year was, ‘We will put it together.’ Well, right now, we’ve put it together.”

And the glue that seems to be holding it in place is the offense. Servideo said that everyone is playing well, and that’s not just a case of hyperbole.

Everyone in the Lyndhurst starting lineup is hitting at least .300, led by shortstop and No. 5 hitter Franky DeLeva (.659), who’s tearing up North Jersey pitchers.

Designated hitter/first baseman/pitcher Max Hart is 5-0 and flirting with a .500 batting average with two home runs. He’s a line-drive hitter who knows how to take full advantage of wide-open spaces at the Golden Bears’ turf field.

Servideo is also high on leadoff hitter Marcus Brandon, who is 14-for-14 in stolen bases, and is hitting .500.

“He flies,” Servideo said. “He hits a ground ball to short and he’s safe at first.”

The Golden Bears are in first place in the NJIC Liberty Division, and have beaten several teams ranked in the Top 25 including Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, New Milford and Hasbrouck Heights.

“This team has really, really surprised me,” Servideo said. “Like I said, we are starting to put it all together.”