South Jersey baseball coach racks up 700th victory

PENNSAUKEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- If Sam Tropiano looks at home on the diamond, it's because he's been doing this for 36 years - twice as long as his players have been alive.

In the process, he's piled up a lot of wins.

"Number one was back in 1984," he said. "As you get older numbers are not your friends, I know you guys are making a big deal about the numbers but I try not to think about them too much."

Bishop Eustace Prep School's coach Trop just racked up win number 700. He is now the first South Jersey baseball coach, and the 6th in state history, to reach that milestone.

"That was pretty crazy. I was blessed to have the task of dumping him with ice," said senior pitcher Anthony Solometo.

"I did not do a good job. He absolutely juked me. It's like he went back in time he was 22 again," Tropiano said. "I got texts from players, 'Oh I was part of 200,' and, 'I had a nephew Anthony who was part of 500 then he coached with me for 600.'"

Win number 700 is huge, but there's room on the fence for another banner. So how far can he go? 800? 1,000?

"I just worry about the next one," Tropiano said.

Well, the next one will move Bishop Eustace to 19-0 on the season. He gives all the credit to his players, but they are so grateful for the legend leading the way.

"He's the first to say none of this could be done without us, but I don't think any of this could be done without him," said senior outfielder Ian Petrutz.

"He knows how to bring the best out of players. He knows how to breed a player to be that high caliber and hold themselves as a professional. He shows that in the classroom and shows that out in the field," he said.

But why coach this long?

"Simply because I'm a teacher. I see this as an extension of the classroom. I still love teaching, inspiring," said Tropiano. "They keep inspiring me to inspire them."
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