Solid Hornets team faces important week

first_imgBY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer The Holmdel High School baseball team faces an important week as it continues its quest to qualify for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II Tournament. Coach Ed Reckage’s Hornets were 4-3 heading into Tuesday’s home game against Raritan. This afternoon Holmdel will visit Monmouth Regional for first-round game in the Monmouth County Tournament. Tomorrow the Hornets visit Central Regional and travel to Rumson-Fair Haven on Friday before returning home on Saturday for a rematch with RFH. “This is a big week for our team,” the coach said. “Our team can compete with anyone and now we have to bear down and get some wins.” To qualify for the state tournament, teams must have a .500 or better record at the end of play on May 10. Reckage said his team has played well defensively – Holmdel averages under an error-per-game, and the pitching has been good. He noted that his team has hit when needed, but that base running miscues have been costly. Thus far the Hornets have picked up victories over University Academy of Jersey City, RBC, and Red Bank Regional (twice). The losses have come against Jackson, Manasquan (on a suicide squeeze play), and St. John Vianney, which rallied in the final inning. Holmdel has been playing without power-hitting shortstop Mickey Zudonyi, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Zudonyi flirted with a .500 average last season and is excellent with the glove. Third baseman Anthony Ferraioli has been the Hornets’ top hitter and Reckage said the lefty hitter “may be the toughest out in the Shore.” Ferraioli is batting .571, with a homer, six RBIs and an on-base percentage over the .600 mark. First baseman Anthony Paganucci has been stinging the ball as well. He has a homer to his credit and has been hovering around the .400 mark throughout the campaign. Catcher Nick Renna has blasted a pair of home runs, while providing a solid presence behind the plate. Reckage also noted that Brian O’Neill has moved from third to short and has been doing a good job defensively and batting out the number-two spot in the order. On the mound both Joe Brescia and sophomore Ian Wladika have a pair of wins. Brescia, who has a deep repertoire of pitches including a split-finger fastball, is 2-1 with two complete games to his credit. The hard-throwing Wladika, who mixes things up with a knuckleball, is 2-0. Tim Baisley, Tim Butler, who is just returning from a shoulder injury, and sophomore Jean-Luc Orlando round out the pitching staff. The Hornets have a speedy outfield with Kyle O’Gorman in right field, and juniors Glenn Grainger in center field and Chris Monfassani, the lead-off hitter, in left field. Other members of the team include DH Mike Renna, hard-working reserve catcher Mike Bock, junior second baseman Ryan Garber and versatile junior Brian Amabile. “Our guys have been battling and as a team, they’re doing a lot of things right,” Reckage said. “If we can cut down our mistakes on the bases, we can play with anyone. I really like our pitching and defense and I think our hitting is coming around.”last_img

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