Vernon baseball coach retiring
Vernon. Berge to step down from leading Vikings with 105 wins.


By Josh Lashley

After 11 years at the helm as the head coach for the Vernon High School baseball program, Scott Berge is retiring from that position. It’s safe to say that he ended his tenure on a positive note and has left the team in good shape.
Berge earned 105 career victories.
“The program has a lot to be excited for in the future as it returns the top pitcher in Jacob Buurman for his senior year as well as freshman sensation John Kowalski," Berge said. “It also will be returning some other key players who gained valuable varsity experience this year and contributed greatly to the success that the team had this season.
“They are Noah Franetovich, Peter Parigi, Frank Fogge, Nicholas Zinno, and DJ Springstead. There is also a talented group of underclassmen that will be returning and hopefully stepping right in to help the team next year as the JV team only had one loss on the season."
The Vikings tallied a fine overall record of 13-8 and they were 6-2 (second place) in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Colonial Division. North Warren finished in first place with a league record of 9-1.
“Throughout the season, we had a bunch of good wins," Berge said. “After being beaten by Jefferson the first time around, the team responded by beating them 6-2 the second time around.
\“We also had some convincing wins over some quality teams- Sparta 9-0, Parsippany Hills 10-0, West Essex 7-3, Newton 11-4 and Phillipsburg 2-1. They were big wins as all of these teams qualified for the (NJSIAA Sectional) State Tournament in their respective Divisions."
Vernon advanced to the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 Sectional Tournament where they were defeated by Newton.
“Some of the athletes that emerged as team leaders- (senior, catcher) Adam Driscoll had a monster season, batted .524 with 33 hits, 33 RBI's, 27 runs scored and three home runs. He led not only through example, but he was also one of our vocal leaders. On the mound, we had two players who also had great seasons- junior Jacob Buurman ended up with a 6-2 record and a League leading 1.73 ERA. He recorded 43 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched. Senior Justin Lavorini ended up with a 5-2 record and a 3.36 ERA. He also had 43 strikeouts in 41 innings.
“Senior short stop Ryan Bell was also a big leader on the team. He was one of the guys who consistently provided a spark to the team with his energy and his play. He too had a great season at the plate, batting .325 with 25 hits, 9 doubles and 25 runs scored."
Coach Berge mentioned Kowalski as being among the student athletes on the roster who showed continual progress throughout the season.
“As a freshman he continually got better and proved himself as one of the best players in the League by the end of the season," Berge said. “He ended up leading the team with 34 hits on the season, batting .459, with nine doubles, 23 RBI's, 26 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. All of these are school records for a freshman."