Continuing the legacy
Bedford family tradition carries on at NHS
It’s been more than two decades since Newark High School last won a baseball state championship, and in recent years, there hasn’t been any real indication that the program is set to compete for its next one.
However, newly appointed head coach Jason Bedford said without hesitation that a state championship is his goal.
“I look forward to the challenge of not only getting Newark High School back to the [championship] game, but winning it,” said a confident Bedford, who takes over as the team’s lone head coach after serving as a co-head coach alongside Joe DeGregory the previous two seasons. “It is a special accomplishment for me, as I have wanted this position for a long time.”
While the school recognized the title of co-head coach, the Delaware Baseball Coaches Association and Umpires Association did not.
Bedford was the winning pitcher back in 1996 when the Yellowjackets beat St. Mark’s 11-2 to capture the school’s sixth, and most recent, baseball state championship.
The head coach of that 1996 team was Bedford’s brother, Curt Bedford. Curt and another brother, Chuck Bedford, played on the 1990 state championship team. The patriarch of the Bedford family, Ray, was on the 1971 state title team.
“Not only is Newark High School in my blood, winning is as well,” said Jason Bedford, whose son, Tyler, will enroll at Newark as a freshman in the fall. “I am proud to be a Newark alum and my family is very proud to be alumni, so this opportunity is one that I will cherish forever. I know one day I will hear kids say that they attend Newark High School and be proud, like I was and am. I’m already starting to see it now.”
Bedford has already instilled that “Newark High commitment” mentality into this year’s senior class by promising them a few years ago that he will always there for them, even after graduation. He also told them that if they all believe in each other, they can build something special during their time at Newark High.
“I am going to enjoy watching this senior class, as they are a very special group to me,” Bedford explained. “I wouldn’t have wanted to start my head coaching career with any other class of seniors. These guys are committed to learning, committed to improving and really committed to my ideas of how we are going to approach the game of baseball.
“I told them that they are the guys I am leaning on to show the younger kids how we do things at Newark High School,” Bedford added. “They are fully committed to making this program one of the best again. And together we all know that it is going to take all of us working together for that to happen.”
Recent winter weather has presented its own obstacles early on as the Yellowjackets prepare to undergo a very challenging schedule.
“The cold weather at the beginning of the season is inevitable, and we could either use it as an excuse or we can use it to our advantage and do the best we can to become acclimated with it and practice outside ever y chance we can,” Bedford explained. “We know this is a long season with a very challenging schedule, but it only reinforces the idea that we have to be prepared and ready to give everything we have for all 18 games. No matter what, we know we are going to learn every day, we are going to grow as a team and we are going to have fun every step of the way.”
The first step will be Newark’s opener at home against St. Mark’s on March 22 at 3:45 p.m.
“I know they will be ready to play, so no matter if it is sunny and 80 degrees or cloudy and 35, we have to be ready,” Bedford said. “We understand the importance of this game, and the difference between 1-0 and 0-1, as we have had trouble winning that first game of the year in the past few years.”
Bedford is excited to face the team he beat in his last game as a pitcher in his first game as an official head coach.
“It’s like something out of a storybook,” he said.
Bedford’s first game is just the first story in a book that might take a few years to finish writing, but one that Bedford hopes will end with the words “State Championship Winner” in the title of the final chapter.
Glasgow High School hosting recruiting seminar
Jack Renkens, a national recruiting expert and founder of Recruiting Realities, is speaking at Glasgow High School on Wednesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. Parents and studentathletes from area high schools are invited to attend. Admission is free.
Jason Bedford is the new head baseball coach at Newark High School.