Months ago, the Howell Spartans contending for the playoffs wasn't even a thought.
After long-time Spartans coach Bill Ruhl decided to step down after last year, it appeared as if Howell would not continue with a program, as they were unable to find a coach heading into the 2011 season.
For Don Ebinger, Saving the Spartans was a no-brainer on his part..
"When I heard that the team might fold, it was an easy decision," Ebinger said, "I knew a lot about the team from last year, and after talking with some of the veterans, we decided we could make it work."
In his first year with the club, Ebinger has the Spartans at their best heading into the playoffs, with a five game win streak after Monday night's .
Although the Jersey Shore Baseball League is the highest level that Ebinger has ever played at, he notes that his experience in coaching his three sons in a multitude of sports definitely has paid off.
"I managed to coach all three of my sons in baseball when they were all on different teams," he said.
Ebinger's son, Craig, is a pitcher for the Spartans, in his second year on the team.
Ebinger has coached in Pop warner, basketball and baseball. He has coached Craig's travel baseball team, Babe Ruth League teams and other competetive recreation leagues.
Still, the coach is not quite ready to take all the credit for Howell's success, this year.
"The success to date that we have had is the fact that everybody on the team has contributed," he said, "I respect the respect that the players have for the game. Everyone plays because they love the game."
The Spartans have also been happy that everyone has been able to get playing time, and take on a specific role on the team, Ebinger said.
"Coaching in the JSBL this year has been an enjoyable experience for me, and hopefully, the team as well," he said.
Howell, if they clinch a playoff berth, will begin the playoffs next week.