Baron takes over as interim Fitch softball coach
Kyle Baron was a three-sport assistant coach at Fitch High School, the nice guy for all seasons.
Then, in the fall, Baron was given the opportunity to be the head coach of the Norwich Free Academy girls' soccer program. He earned his first career victory on opening night and went on to win the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I title with a (really) young Wildcats team which started four freshmen.
In a season which Baron would later call “magical,” NFA went from 8-10-1 in 2016 to 13-6 in 2017.
Baron will now get a chance to be a head coach in another sport.
He was recently named the interim softball coach at Fitch, replacing head coach Arielle Cooper, who left to become an assistant coach at the Coast Guard Academy. Baron was the junior varsity coach for the last two seasons under Cooper.
“I'm really excited to be given the opportunity from Marc (Romano, athletic director),” Baron said Thursday. “Having a familiar face that the girls know is a benefit for the program.”
Baron had the task of acclimating to the role of head coach once already during soccer season.
“I think one of the challenges I found, it was difficult to get the girls to buy into a new system,” Baron said. “I'm all about discipline and being a team. We brought out that team atmosphere and that team chemistry.
“I'm not trying to come in and make all these big changes that Coop had. She built the foundation for Fitch softball; we're one of the most dynamic programs in the state. … I'm here to continue building the program, to show growth. I want it to be a good experience. I'm coaching for the kids.”
Baron is a 2009 graduate of Montville High School, where he played soccer and baseball. He was the assistant softball coach at Montville for five seasons before coming to Fitch, where he is a special education paraprofessional.
His next challenge: taking over a Fitch team which was 21-7 a year ago and reached the semifinals of the Class L state tournament. The Falcons lost seven seniors from that team, including The Day's All-Area Player of the Year in catcher Taylor Wolfgang, who were 99-9 in their four seasons with a pair of state championships.
Fitch opens the season March 31 with a game at Stonington and the Falcons' schedule doesn't get easier with games against Masuk, Amity and two each against traditional state powers Cheshire, Southington and NFA.
“They know we're going to be young,” said Baron, who has already met with the players. “I think we have the toughest schedule in the state. … It's going to hopefully make us better.”
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