Friday, April 1, 2016

Baseball: Hunterdon-Warren preview capsules

Belvidere County Seaters

Coach: Aaron Feldman (78-91, eighth season).

2015 record: 14-10, 7-5 Skyland Conference Mountain Division (fourth).

Key returnees: Sr. Thomas Madeo (.341 avg., 11 RBIs) OF; Sr. David Woodworth (.517 avg., 45 hits, 17 RBIs, 3-4, 6.78 ERA) P-1B; Jr. Jake Thornton (.242, 14 RBIs) 3B; Sr. Brad Duckworth (.265 avg., 12 RBIs, 6.09 ERA) OF-P; Sr. Matt Duckworth (.260 avg.) 2B; Jr. Terrell Tutka (1-0, 5.00 ERA) P; So. Ryan Kokawski (.255 avg., 8 RBIs) C; Sr. Richie Woolf (.231 avg., 0-0, 3.00 ERA) SS-P.

Key losses: Henry Myerchin (.465 avg., 40 hits, 4 HRs, 35 RBIs, 1-1, 4.57 ERA) SS-P; Bobby Merle (.284 avg., 12 RBIs) OF; Owen Kaiser (.358 avg., 14 RBIs) 1B-3B-P; Kevin Merle (.353 avg., 18 RBIs) P-OF.

Promising newcomers: Sr. Ben Healy OF; Jr. Joey Sena 1B-OF; So. James Geier 3B-OF-P.

Coach's comment: "I'm looking for our six seniors to set the tone this season. If they lead like they're capable of -- on and off the field -- I believe we have the pieces in place to be very successful."

Outlook: County Seaters have steadily improved the last five seasons -- going from five wins in 2011, to eight wins in '12, 10 wins in '13, 11 in '14 and 14 in '15 -- since winning 17 games in '10. There is enough talent returning to believe this team will make a major move forward this spring. Pitching will be the biggest question heading into the season with Woodworth and Duckworth atop the rotation, along with Woolf. Madeo is a solid player and will help lead an offense that should be able to produce enough runs. If the pitching is there, this team could contend in the division.

Delaware Valley Terriers

Coach: Marty White (117-138, 13th season).

2015 record: 11-14, 4-6 Skyland Conference Valley Division (T-third).

Key returnees: Sr. CJ Schaible (6-2, 1.69 ERA, 67 K's) P-OF-1B; Sr. Jake Brogan OF; Sr. Kevin Delatte 2B-3B-P; Jr. Sean Hanczaryk (19 K's) C-P; So. Christian Hlinka (.368 avg., 23 RBIs, 2.72 ERA) SS-OF-P; So. Ian Kulik (.316 avg., 4.01 ERA, 22 K's) SS-P; Jr. Scott Becker (.380 avg.) OF-1B-P; Jr. Brian Godown P; Sr. Kyle Refalvy 1B-OF-P; Jr. Joe Cariddi C; Jr. Matt Miller P; Sr. Robert Cryan OF-P.

Key losses: Logan Brown P; Frank McHugh OF-P; Mike Pilone C; Travis Scharffenberger 1B; Devin Merritt SS-2B.

Promising newcomers: Jr. Kevin Scanlan P-INF; Jr. Christian Perna OF; So. Matt Chiarino 2B-SS; Sr. Marshall McPeek DH.

Coach's comment: "We are looking to improve on last year's record. We more talent and depth than we've had in years. Our defense looks very solid."

Outlook: Last season started off on a sour note with a season-ending injury to Brown. However, Schaible filled the role of ace and will be one of the top pitchers in the area again this spring. The rest of the staff should be able to keep this team in games. Hlinka is coming off a fine freshman season and will lead the offense, while Kulik will be the No. 2 on the mound and newcomer Scanlan the No. 3 and top reliever. It's been awhile since the Terriers, who are young, made some noise, but this could be the year to push Bernards and Somerville for a division title.

Hackettstown Tigers

Coach: Gary Poyer (182-134, 15th season).

2015 record: 19-6, 6-2 NJAC Freedom Division (first).

Key returnees: Sr. John Franco (.400 avg., 3 HRs) 3B-P; Sr. Anthony Carida (.600 OBP) SS-P; Jr. Matt Arcona OF; Jr. Peyton Stewart 2B; Sr. Mike Castellano OF; Sr. Ryan Snyder 1B.

Key losses: Matt Engels OF-P; Jonathan Pezzato C; Nick Pixley 1B-P; Tyler Profilias SS-P.

Promising newcomers: Jr. Jake Hall OF; Sr. Joe Renne INF; Sr. Nate Castiglia P; Sr. Steven Kovarik C; Sr. Matt Buchanan P; Sr. Colin Lynch 1B.

Coach's comment: "Looking forward to a competitive season. We lost a few key players, but we have strong hitting and defense. Pitching is a question in the preseason."

Outlook: Tigers are back on track -- going 5-3 in the North 2, Group 2 playoffs the past three seasons since a four-win campaign in 2012. Last year's group dropped a 3-1 decision to a tough Bernards team in the sectional final. Pitching, which was a strength last year, is a question this spring, but as Poyer pointed out, the offense should be strong and could take the pressure off the pitchers. Franco was outstanding as a junior, while Carida is a solid leadoff hitter. Expect this team to battle Jefferson for the division title and contend in the postseason.

Hunterdon Central Red Devils

Coach: Mike Raymond (312-109-1, 16th season).

2015 record: 23-7-1, 8-4-1 Skyland Conference Delaware Division (second).

Key returnees: Sr. Matt Toke (.366 avg., 37 hits, 31 RBIs, 1-0, 3.18 ERA) 1B-P; Sr. Scott Rasile (.340 avg., 16 RBIs) OF; Jr. Matt Padre (.311 avg., 23 hits, 24 RBIs) C; Jr. Peter Woltersdorf (5-3, 2.79 ERA) P; Sr. Brent Lincoln C.

Key losses: Brett McManus (.302 avg., 32 runs, 23 RBIs) 2B; Henry Hawkins (.289 avg., 17 RBIs) OF; Mike Novello (6-2, 2.49 ERA) P; Pat Clare (2-1, 4.27 ERA) P; Bobby Cole (5-0, 0.75 ERA) P; Mike Perone (.390 avg., 17 RBIs) SS; John Korn (.317 avg., 16 RBIs) OF; Ryan Pasko 3B; Anthony Cillo (.339 avg., 14 RBIs) DH; RJ Hennessy P; Bill Roethke P.

Promising newcomers: So. Peter Cosentino 1B; Sr. Cole Fratesi 1B; Sr. Matt Weippart 2B; So. Garrison LeGros 2B; Jr. Bryan Adams SS; Jr. Sal Lombardo 3B; Jr. Mark Sapanora OF; Jr. Kevin Johnson OF; So. Colin Mason OF; Jr. Andrew Ollwerther C; Jr. Matt Brennan P; Jr. Kevin Harrigan P; Sr. Will Taylor P; So. Austin Ritter P; Fr. Joe DeChario P; Jr. Dylan McNulty P.

Coach's comment: "This year's team is young and inexperienced in many positions. We are getting great leadership from our seniors who understand what it takes to win and the sacrifices it takes to be successful. Our guys are excited to start the season and add to our championship tradition."

Outlook: Red Devils are looking to overcome the loss of 18 seniors, who helped guide last year's team to an appearance in the Central Jersey, Group 4 final, where it dropped a 5-3 decision in eight innings to Old Bridge. McManus (Rhode Island) was the top offensive player in the area and a tremendous leadoff hitter, so his loss is big in itself. But Toke (Seton Hall) will be a major force in this lineup. For once, pitching is a question from the standpoint of varsity experience. Woltersdorf and Toke will lead that group on the mound. Expect this team to challenge once again for the division title and make a run in the sectional playoffs.

North Hunterdon Lions

Coach: Mike Kane (70-47, fifth season).

2014 record: 21-9 20-10, 7-6 10-4 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (third).

Key returnees: Sr. John Wilson P-OF; Sr. Jeff Guile OF-C; Sr. Jack Peterson OF; Jr. Billy Russo 3B; Jr. Jack Kennedy P; Sr. Ryan Smith P; Sr. Matt Wunder 2B-OF; Jr. Tim Schumacher P.

Key losses: Andrew Meiners C; Tom Schumacher 3B; Shayne Fontana P-OF; Austin Arndt SS-P; Tim Heard 2B; Jeff Gernon P-1B; Randy Grzankowski P.

Promising newcomers: Jr. Peter Kane 1B-3B; Jr. Andrew Berger P; Jr. Ben Kaplan P; Jr. Matt Roskoski 2B-P; So. Grant Sible SS; So. Matt Busher C-OF; Mike Vallario OF.

Outlook: Lions are coming off back-to-back 20-win season since 2010, just the ninth and 10th times in program history, and capturing the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament title. Speaking of which, with the tournament constructed so an ace carry a team, expect this group to be in the title hunt again behind Wilson, who is headed to Old Dominion in the fall. A ton of offense was lost to graduation, so scoring runs may be a question to start the season. If the offense contributes, look for this team to challenge in the division and for another county championship. Wilson gives the Lions a chance to win every game he's on the mound.

North Warren Patriots

Coach: Jim Haupt (238-164, 18th season).

2015 record: 10-12, 6-2 NJAC Colonial Division (T-first).

Key returnees: Sr. Sean Thornton (.351 avg., 2-4, 4.15 ERA) P-1B; Jr. Jared Vuz (.273 avg., 14 runs, 2.62 ERA) SS-P; Sr. Alex Predenkoski (.200 avg., 11 RBIs) 3B-P; Jr. Hunter DePrimo (3-4, 2.92 ERA, 57 K's) P-C; Jr. Geo Kumetz OF; Jr. Ron Lubertazzo 2B.

Key losses: Lance Kernoschak 3B-P; Matt Nicholoff 2B; John Vuz OF; Vince Lubertazzo P; Gino Fluri C; Ryan Bizzaro OF.

Promising newcomers: Jr. Mike LoMonaco OF; Sr. Chris Rokosz C-P; So. Zach Schonfeld OF-P; Jr. James Ferrara OF; So. Josh Hunter 3B-OF-P.

Coach's comment: "We lost some quality seniors, but look to be very much improved over last season. Consistency on a daily basis will be the key to our success. Our major weakness is depth, as we only have 15 players on the varsity team.."

Outlook: Patriots claimed a three-way share of the division title in their first season in the Colonial Division. As Haupt said, the lack of depth could be a factor with injuries, so staying healthy will be key if this team is to make another run. The veteran coach expects to be better across the board as pitching and offense were very inconsistent a year ago. DePrimo is the ace and will give the Pats a strong chance to win when he's on the hill.

Phillipsburg Stateliners

Coach: Dylan Sapir (first season).

2015 record: 6-19 5-22, 1-12 1-13 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (fifth).

Key returnees: Sr. Colton Langworthy P; Sr. Tyler Weiss 1B; Sr. Damian Dudek 2B; Jr. Tom Mandry SS; Sr. Connor Owens 3B; Sr. Tyler Mitchell OF

Key losses: Jake Knoble C; Jake Clifford OF; Billy McAuliffe P; Ashish George P; John Gurski P; Mark McGuire P-OF; Ryan Flannagan C.

Promising newcomers: Jr. Garrett DuPont 2B-SS-3B.

Coach's comment: "There is a lot of competition at several spots. We have a few sophomores who are pushing to get innings on the mound and in the field."

Outlook: The 'Liners are on their third head coach in as many years as Sapir, a former assistant, is back with the program after a one-year hiatus. He takes over for Mike Rossetti, who went 6-19 last season. Sapir inherits a program that has gone 58-99 the last five seasons, including last-place finishes in 2014 and '15, so the first order of business is establishing a winning culture. Pitching will certainly be a question with Langworthy as the only returning arm with varsity experience. With nine seniors, P'burg will need to rely on their leadership as it looks to gain consistency. Looks like it will be another rebuilding season.

South Hunterdon Eagles

Coach: John Augusta (first season).

2015 record: 6-16, 4-8 Skyland Conference Mountain Division (T-fifth).

Key returnees: Sr. Jonathan Eick C; Sr. Lukas Robinson 3B-P; Sr. Nick Scamuffa 1B-P; Sr. Mike Gambino 2B-OF; Sr. Darrell Krieder OF; So. Leo Andreoli OF-C-P; So. JP Hunt OF-1B-3B-P; So. Robbie Rose 1B-3B-P; So. Cameron Paventi OF.

Key losses: Jimmy Smiegocki 1B-P; Josh Phillips SS; Richard Roy 3B-P.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Jeff Shurts OF; Fr. Marc Gambino 3B; So. Nick Godown P-OF; So. Sean McCaffery OF; Fr. Dylan Morgan C-OF; Fr. Sam Weber OF; Fr. Zach Ingersoll OF; Jr. Chris Green Utility.

Coach's comment: "Our young players will have to continue to grow quick to make the adjustments necessary to compete at the varsity level."

Outlook: Eagles, who won advanced to the Central Jersey, Group 1 quarterfinals in 2015, have a new coach for the second time in three seasons as Augusta, who previously served an assistant coach on Mike Raymond's staff at Hunterdon Central from 2000-15, takes over a program that went 44-120 over the the past nine seasons and 12-31 the past two under Cory Weingart. Establishing a winning culture is the first order of business, something Augusta knows about from his time just a ways up Route 31. Scamuffa, Robinson and Rose are veterans who will be atop a rotation that has some question marks with the loss of ace Smiegocki. Scoring runs against the better teams was an issue last year. It won't happen overnight, but expect South to show improvement as the season wears on.

Voorhees Vikings

Coach: Cory Kent (9-32, third season).

2015 record: 9-13, 4-6 Skyland Conference Valley Division (T-third).

Key returnees: Sr. Tyler Kroll OF; Sr. David Wernicki (2-4) P; Sr. Jake Twill C; Sr. Luke Twill P; Jr. Ryan Cahill OF; Sr. Sean Morris P; Sr. Billy Barish Utility; Sr. Evan Lewis 2B; Sr. Matt Diacik P; Sr. Mark Zambito P; Sr. Michael White 3B-C; Sr. Andrew Gonzalez OF; Jr. Marcus Celiano 1B; So. Kendall Pierson C-1B; So. Kyle Kokoskie SS-P; So. Colin Tong Utility-P.

Key losses: Kyle Pierson (2-4) P-1B; Johnny Wernicki SS-2B; James Cahill OF; Phil D'Armiento OF; Toby Cozzolino OF.

Promising newcomers: Jr. Ethan Osgood P; So. David Kurzrock SS-P.

Coach's comment: "I am really looking forward to [my third season]. We have plenty of guys returning who have worked hard throughout the offseason in the weight room and on the field."

Outlook: Vikings are coming off a bounce-back season with a nine-win campaign and a sectional playoff berth after going 0-19 in 2014, including 0-10 in divisional play. Numbers are good with plenty of returning players this season. Pitching was a clear weakness last year, so the Vikes will be counting on Wernicki and Luke Twill to lead the rotation. If the offense can take the pressure off with runs -- scoring was also a  problem in 2015 with an average of 4.2 runs per game -- this team has a chance to improve on its win total.

Warren Hills Blue Streaks

Coach: Mike Quinto (143-162, 12th season).

2015 record: 9-16, 3-7 Skyland Conference Valley Division (fifth).

Key returnees: Sr. Anthony Veneziano (3-5, 3.25 ERA, 53 K's) 1B-P; Sr. Tim Woolf 2B; Sr. Matt Cummings (.304 avg., 12 runs) OF; Sr. Jon Fleck (.230 avg., 8 RBIs) OF-P; Sr. James Rother OF; Sr. Kyle Barnes (2-0, 2.37 ERA) P; So. Tommy Moore SS-3B-C-P; Sr. Jack Fenner (.297 avg., 11 runs, 6 RBIs) INF.

Key losses: Christian Stagaard (0-2, 3.00 ERA) C-P; Craig Lawson (.456 avg., 36 hits, 12 RBIs) SS; Jake Larsen (.200 avg., 12 RBIs, 0-7, 23 K's) 1B-P; Nick Gagliano (.260 avg., 12 RBIs) OF-3B.

Promising newcomers: Sr. Anthony Spiridigliozzi OF; So. PJ Hanisak C; Jr. Peter Warsen OF-P; Jr. Ryan Gill INF-P; Sr. Vinnie Defilippo 1B-P; Jr. Kevin Smith INF-P; Jr. Ike Smith OF; Jr. Chris Bell 1B; Fr. Bryce Kastra INF-P; Fr. Garrett Koch OF-P.

Coach's comment: "We are returning several starters, though we lost some key players from last year."

Outlook: Blue Streaks are coming off a sub-.500 season despite being one of the most experienced teams in the area a year ago. The program and community mourns the tragic death of Evan Murray, who was one of the top players in the field and on the mound. The Streaks will wear a patch on their uniforms in his memory. This is a program still looking to get past the first round of the sectional playoffs after early exits in 2009, '10, '11, '12, '14 and '15. Veneziano is solid atop the rotation, while Woolf is a three-year starter and one of the team's best defensive players. Hanisak takes over behind the plate. The main question, as it was last spring, will be if this team can produce enough runs.

No comments:

Post a Comment