It was a few years ago that the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association decided to let all teams into the state playoffs. Before a team had to have at least a .500 record to make the playoffs.
But after a couple of instances where teams did not make the playoffs despite having a tough schedule, the state body opted to open it up to everybody who filed. Instead the deciding point would be a power point system.
For longtime Wallington baseball head coach Jim Kondel, he thought his team would be around .500 for the season and would not have to worry about getting into the state playoffs, but Wallington entered the tournament with a 7-13 record.
The Panthers were the 16th and last seed with their first opponent fellow North Jersey Interscholastic Conference (NJIC) Meadowlands squad, Wood-Ridge, who were the top seed.
On the other side the Blue Devils were looking to win their first state sectional title since 1968. Coming into the opening round game on May 19, Wood-Ridge had already defeated Wallington twice during the season so there was no doubt that the Blue Devils would be able to move on.
But Wallington put everything together as the Panthers stunned Wood-Ridge, 2-1, in the first round of the Group 1 North 1 state tournament.
“This is our biggest win in the last 10 years,” said Kondel.
While it was a great win, the Cinderella run did come to an end on May 22 as Wallington lost to Cresskill, 2-1.