WEST ORANGE, NJ – The past and present connected on the West Orange High School baseball field on May 21-22 as mountaineers recognized alumni of the Mountain High School Rams and West Orange High School Cowboys.
“Throwback Weekend” featured two evenings of Mountaineer baseball, with players wearing the Mountain High School Rams jerseys on May 21 and the West Orange High School Cowboys on May 22.
Township historian Joe Fagan welcomed alumni, family and community members to the field. He pointed to the Mountain Rams banner hanging among the photos of outstanding players and noted that this was the first time the banner had been deployed in 40 years.
Until 1984, West Orange had two public high schools. West Orange High School was located where Seton Hall Prep is now located, and Mountain High School was located where it is now. Mountain High School merged with WOHS during the 1984-1985 school year.
At the event, outstanding players and Hall of Fame members were recognized by the current Mountaineers baseball team, Principal Hayden Moore, Head Baseball Coach Steve Zichella, Assistant Coaches and participants. The mood was light as old friends reunited after many years to remember their high school years.
“I believe that playing these games with homecoming uniforms is a very important event for the community and the students,” said Fagan. “It helps us all remember a time when West Orange supported two schools. The Mountain Rams and West Orange Cowboys are important parts of a proud tradition known today as the Mountaineers. Student athletes are inspired by heritage and knowing their history is a flashpoint to inspire them to be part of it. Events like this give current students and alumni the opportunity to bridge the gap between past and present in meaningful ways.
Former Rams attending the event included: Anthony Pucillo, Mike Stefanelli, Mike Cifaretto, Jim Petrillo, Eric Close, Peter Feinblatt, Ray Kleiven and Richie Hoatson. Cowboys alumni attending the event included: Jim Quinn, Philip Dagostino, Clay Holland, John Kessler, Matt Farley, Carmine D’Aiuto, Robert Parisi, Daniel Parisi, Gary Massa, Michael Marcantonio and Nick Michochi.
West Orange took the victory over Newark Academy, 3-2, on May 21, and edged Passaic Valley 8-7 in the May 22 game.
Photos courtesy of Joseph Fagan and Cynthia Cumming