SULLIVAN TWP. — Black River athletic director Ted Gordon is hoping for a seamless transition after Larry Toth stepped down as softball coach.
Jennifer Bradford, who coached the team Monday, has stepped up from her role as an assistant and will mentor the team the rest of the season.
“You never want to lose a person in midseason,” Gordon said. “He knew it was time for a healthy change for everybody. For both Larry and everyone else.”
Toth, 68, became a fixture with the Pirates and finished with a 61-48 mark in five seasons after assisting his daughter Lauren Rogers with Black River the two previous seasons.
The Pirates went 12-11 and 8-8 in the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division last season, but finished runner-up to longtime Division II state power Keystone in 2016 and 2017.
Black River is also the only team to beat the Wildcats in league play since 2013, doing so with a 5-2 win in 2016.
“I wish all the girls that have ever played for me, including the ones this year all the very, very best,” Toth said.
Bradford, 41, comes in and is no stranger to the Pirates nor the game.
She coached Crestview for three years and was an assistant as well. In 2008, she guided the Cougars to a 21-5 record before losing 2-0 in the Pickerington Division IV regional final to eventual state champion Danville.
“We’re extremely fortunate in the fact we have Jennifer Bradford stepping up to fill his role,” Gordon said. “She was his assistant his last two years. Jennifer has a vast background. She pitched in college (at Capital University). She was an outstanding pitcher in high school.
“She knows the game. I think she and Larry worked close together. It’s just now the fact of them getting used to Jennifer and move on from there.”
The Black River Middle School science teacher is ready to hit the ground running and make the transition as seamless as possible.
“I love the game,” Bradford said. “I’m a competitive person by nature. I like the competition of sports in general. The game of softball has given me a lot of confidence in myself as a person and as a player and it also gave me access to lasting relationships and travel experiences that I wouldn’t have gotten to do had I not gotten involved in the sport.”