Morris Catholic Softball Coach Nick DeGennaro Gets 400th Win of His Career

By Steve Sears

Morris Catholic Crusader girls’ softball coach, Nick DeGennaro, has been at the coaching game for a long time, almost 30 years to be exact.

He recently attained another career milestone as he won his 400th game as head coach when his Crusaders on April 12 defeated a strong Red Bank Catholic squad, 10 – 1.

DeGennaro did not tell his team that he was on the doorstep of the historic win but did inform them afterwards. “The only reason I even told the team after the game about 400 was because I wanted them to share the experience that they made possible,” he says.

While at Morris Catholic, DeGennaro has won state titles in 2021 and 2022, and Morris County Tournament championships in 2021 and 2023. This year’s county title win came on May 13 against #13 Roxbury, whom the 17th ranked Crusaders defeated, 9 –1, with senior pitcher Hannah Streicher firing a 3-hitter.

DeGennaro says of his current squad, “We were a little bit younger. We had some inexperienced players. At one point we had three freshmen starting for us, and we had two sophomore transfers that had to sit out the first 12 games. And so, as the year has gone on, they have just grown with confidence. That was the biggest thing.” 

DeGennaro then adds an example. “We had a game down at Hillsborough, and we faced the best pitcher in the state. We lost 4 – 1, but we had some good at bats. We did some good things, and we had one bad inning where we gave up three runs, but we grew from that. We have grown so much since the beginning of the of the year. They have worked very hard, do a great job every day, are coachable, want to learn, and want to get better.”

As of Mid-May, senior outfielder Jessica Brown was leading the team in hits with 43 and 38 runs scored. Fellow senior Carly Mockenhaupt, a pitcher and infielder, had 33 RBIs for the season, and had herself had attained a milestone of 100 career hits. Junior catcher Kate Heslin led the team with seven homeruns, and from the mound, Streicher had fanned 127 batters and walked just 12 with an ERA of .070.

DeGennaro, who has also coached football and wrestling, initially was an assistant softball coach Kittatinny Regional High School from 2000 to 2002. In 2003, has was named head softball coach at Sussex County Community College, where his teams averaged 25 wins per season and won two Garden State Athletic conference titles. Jefferson Township High School was next up for DeGennaro, and while there his teams won 118 games and lost only 49 while snaring three Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference titles. His clubs also made two trips to MCT semifinals and one appearance in the finals.

Next up for DeGennaro is the lofty 500-win total, but he is not even thinking about it. In fact, he values something much more. He says, “To me it is a credit to the kids and the coaches that I have worked with. I have had great assistant coaches through years of coaching. I would never have been able to be successful without them. And I have had great young ladies, and it is really a credit to them. I am more worried about these kids being successful both on and off the field, and I am hoping that when they each leave Morris Catholic that they have grown, not just as a softball player, but as a young woman and as a person. That is more important to me.”

 

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