Bob Bickel clearly wasn't in his comfort zone. On the field, the veteran Haddonfield baseball coach was fine. But then Bickel was the subject of a postgame celebration and he didn't want to see it prolonged.
"I don't like the attention," he said. "I was a little embarrassed."
He had nobody to blame but himself. After a 10-0 win in six innings Wednesday over West Deptford that clinched the Colonial Conference Liberty Division for Haddonfield, Bickel was presented a trophy for a personal milestone.
As if winning the conference over one of Haddonfield's chief rivals wasn't enough, the victory also happened to be the 300th of Bickel's 300th career.
Bickel spoke to his players and assistant coaches who gathered around and applauded. He talked about how his name is on the trophy, but it is really an award for Haddonfield.
Bickel talked about the great coaches who have worked for him and, more important, the great players he has had. And then in a self-deprecating style, he said one has to be old to earn 300 wins.
Bickel spoke for just about a minute, which was 60 seconds longer than he probably wanted to.
He has always believed that the players deserve the credit and that the coach should stay in the background. Plus, he has plenty of business to still take care of.
Haddonfield, which is 14-5 overall and 7-3 in the Colonial Liberty, will face conference rival Collingswood on Thursday in a South Jersey Group 2 quarterfinal.
Forget the fact that Haddonfield is seeded second and Collingswood is 10th. The Panthers beat Haddonfield in their two meetings this year.
"We will have our work cut out," Bickel said.
So will Collingswood.
At least Collingswood won't face junior Dylan Heine, who not only pitched a four-hit shutout but ended the game with an RBI double in the sixth inning.
"I didn't know coach was going for his 300th," Heine said.
That is typical. Maybe Bickel thought he might get away with nobody knowing, but that had no chance of happening.
"He is super humble," said catcher John Cristino, who is hitting an even .600.
West Deptford (17-6, 6-4), which is seeded No. 1 in the South Jersey Group 2 tournament, was let down by its defense, committing four errors.
Leading Haddonfield's hit parade was third baseman Bauer Fichter who was 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs.
"Haddonfield's situational hitting was great," West Deptford coach John Oehler said
The pitching wasn't too shabby, and neither was the defense.
Haddonfield seems to be peaking at the right time. Even in recent defeats, this has been an impressive team. For instance, Haddonfield lost a first-round game of the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, 3-1, to an Eastern team that is ranked No. 3 in South Jersey by The Inquirer. (Haddonfield is No. 15.)
One other thing that has made Bickel's win total so impressive is that Haddonfield plays in a strong baseball conference and always tries to have an ambitious non-league schedule.
"I have always felt that is how you get better, by playing the top teams," Bickel said.
Just as opponents have gotten better from facing Haddonfield.
Bickel clearly wasn't in his element after the game, but at the end of his message, he was already motivating his team for the task at hand.
"I am looking forward to 301 tomorrow," he said.
He finished things off by saying "Thank you, thank you."
Bickel was appreciative, but he was glad the attention was over. No doubt he spent the evening devising ways of getting to 301 rather than reflecting on the previous 300 victories.
West Deptford 000 000 – 0 4 4
Haddonfield 001 135 – 10 8 0