NA’s Barth simply perfect down the stretch

Photo by Jim Hague North Arlington senior Taylor Barth.
Photo by Jim Hague
North Arlington senior Taylor Barth.

Taylor Barth knew that her brilliant four-sport athletic career at North Arlington High School was drawing to an end with the final few softball games she was playing.

“It’s my last year, the last year of my career,” Barth said. “I just had to try to do my best in these games. I wanted to end my senior year on a high note, so I kept pushing a little harder and harder.”

Barth said that she went straight to the weight room after practices and games.

“I was hitting the gym, lifting weights, working on my legs,” Barth said. “I also did a lot of running.”

North Arlington first-year head coach Carol Dorazio knew that she had a pitching gem in Barth.

“She’s in charge out there,” Dorazio said. “We don’t call a lot of her pitches. She calls her own game.”

That’s amazing, considering both head coach Dorazio and assistant coach Samantha Veneziano (Dorazio’s daughter) were standout pitchers in their high school days at North Arlington. But they had enough faith in Barth to let her take control out there.

“She’s done extremely well,” Dorazio said. “She’s throwing the ball harder lately. There’s more meat on her pitches. I think the weather started to warm up and that helped her. No one likes to pitch when it’s cold out. She just kept constantly improving more and more.”

No more proof than in the final three games of Barth’s career. She fired a no-hitter, followed it up with a perfect game and then had a fine outing against Ridgefield, losing 3-2, in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I quarterfinals last Monday.

Barth has also been a terror on the base paths, stealing eight bases and scoring eight runs over the three games. For her efforts, Barth has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.

Barth was obviously throwing the ball harder, collecting 19 strikeouts in 23 innings over the four games played last week, including the two state playoff games against University Charter and Ridgefield.

“Having new coaches this year really motivated me to do better,” Barth said. “They both know how to pitch. They told me to relax and do different things to mix up my pitches. I have teammates who can make the plays behind me, so that makes me feel good.”

Barth didn’t mind being moved in the lineup from first to second in order to give someone else a chance to get on base before her.

“I adjusted to not being the lead-off hitter,” Barth said. ‘I used to try to slap the ball into play or tried to bunt every time, but this year, I hit it pretty hard.”

Barth batted better than .350 this season with 16 runs scored and 13 RBI. The perfect game against University Charter was the first and only one of her career.

“I knew I had it, but I didn’t want to focus on it,” Barth said. “I’m glad it happened.”

Barth was a sensational soccer player for four years and played varsity basketball for three. This year, she decided to add indoor track and field to her resume instead of basketball.

“It was just something different to do,” Barth said.

Barth has no regrets about her high school career.

“I had a good run,” said Barth, who will head to Kean University in the fall to play softball and study to become either an athletic trainer or a physical therapist. “It was rough playing three sports and keeping up with my school work. I would come home late and then have to concentrate on school.”

But Barth knows one thing – she gave it her all.

“I feel proud of what I was able to do,” Barth said. “I was crying the other day, knowing that it was over. I was hysterical. But I know I did the best that I could do. I got 12 varsity letters in four years. You can’t beat that.”

“This is really what I expected of her,” Dorazio said. “I expected to have a really focused, driven athlete who wanted to win. She was never intimidated and never backed down. I think Taylor became more of a pitcher this year. She learned to pitch. Before, she was just a thrower. Pitchers are better.”

Pitchers are the ones who get a chance to play college softball, and the multi-talented Barth is getting that opportunity. She’s well on her way.

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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”