Huskies baseball team has plenty to look forward to

first_imgBY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer The Matawan High School baseball team went on a tear late in the season, winning eight of its final 11 contests, thanks in large part to the contributions of several young players. Coach John Kaye’s Huskies finished at 12-11, or 11-11 depending on who you talk to. A controversial decision by the NJSIAA to not count a forfeit win over Asbury Park cost the Huskies a berth in the Central Jersey Group II tourney. Asbury Park arrived late for the contest, which was scheduled on the final day teams could qualify for the state tourney. Kaye noted that the umpiring crew declared a forfeit before Asbury Park arrived, but the struggling Blue Bishops disputed the decision. Later in the day, Matawan defeated Keansburg, which gave the Huskies a .500 record and a tournament berth. “We certainly would have liked to have played the Asbury Park game, but once the umpires made the decision, it was out of our hands,” Kaye said. “Since the game was on the last day to qualify, we needed that win.” Nevertheless, Kaye’s team has plenty to look forward to. Three sophomores broke into the starting lineup and performed well, and a pair of juniors – center fielder Nick Chomko and shortstop Julian Sonnenfeld – each hit .345. Sonnenfeld also blasted three homers and led the team with 22 RBIs. Of course the Huskies will miss stellar seniors such as John Foster, Tyler Renner and Danny Conti. Foster led Matawan with a .398 average and 25 runs scored. The second baseman had a .450 on-base percentage to go with 31 hits and 18 RBIs, while providing solid glove work in the field. Renner went 3-5 on the mound with a 3.80 ERA, but Kaye noted that Renner often drew the top opposing teams. In 55 innings of work, Renner struck out 65 batters, and he tossed a one-hitter in a 10-1 triumph over Delsea. Conti, a lefty, went 4-2 with two saves and became more aggressive as the campaign rolled along, challenging hitters with good results, the coach noted. A first baseman when not on the hill, Conti hit .340. Meanwhile, sophomore Dan Geran pitched well when called upon, turning in a 3-1 mark. Junior Matt Buragina showed promise, and infielders Kevin Knox and J.D. Melendez are likely to see some pitching duty next spring. Sophomore catcher Fran Santimauro did an outstanding job defensively behind the dish. Alternating between the No. 2 and 9 spots in the batting order, Santimauro hit .385 with 12 RBIs and displayed good speed on the base paths. Melendez, who started the season 0-15 at the plate, hit .365 overall with 19 RBIs as he went on a tear down the stretch. Knox, who manned the hot corner, hit .255 and contributed several clutch hits, Kaye notes. “We started out all right, but then we struggled,” the coach explained. “We were 4-8 when the guys turned things around, and our younger guys deserve a lot of credit for that. It’s not as easy as it looks.” During the season, Matawan scored victories over Raritan, Rumson-Fair Haven and Manasquan. In the Shore Challenge, the Huskies downed both Linden and Delsea. While there’s plenty of optimism for next year, the Huskies will be moving up to the Shore Conference’s Class B North division. Currently Matawan resides in the Class A Central division. “That will be a challenge, but we’ll be ready for it,” Kaye said. Lions should contend once again next year BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer After going through something of a rebuilding year, the Middletown High School North softball team will be looking to get back to its winning ways next spring. With just two seniors in the lineup, new coach Bill LaFalce’s team managed to post a respectable eight victories against 11 defeats. Along the way, the Lions upended Colts Neck in the opening round of the Monmouth County Tournament and also scored a win against crosstown rival Middletown South. The Lions went 6-6 in the Shore Conference’s competitive Class A North division, and seven of the 11 losses were by two runs or less. “At times our inexperience showed,” LaFalce said. “We seemed to have one bad inning every game and usually that turned out to be the difference in the game. On the other hand, the girls got a lot of experience and they were learning from their mistakes.” Shortstop Cara Piasecki and right fielder Liz Kelly were the Lions’ two senior starters. Both were solid defensively, and Piasecki’s .321 average was second on the team. Piasecki also drove in eight runs and whacked a pair of triples. Junior Lindsey Nadolny topped Middletown North in batting with a .352 mark. The third baseman also contributed three doubles, a homer and seven RBIs. DH Danielle Susi hit .308 with four RBIs, and first baseman Jenna Lougee ended the campaign at .286. Both are juniors. LaFalce noted that sophomore Casey Crist performed well at second base and contributed a .268 average. Freshman right fielder Amanda Svenson displayed strong potential with a .275 average, and Laura Dorsa, another freshman, did a good job and kept improving behind the plate. Middletown North should be set again next year on the mound with Krystal Kinsella. The junior hurler was 6-10 but had a 2.33 ERA while striking out 100 batters in 108 innings of work. “The girls were in every game they played,” the coach said. “They made mistakes, but the effort was good and they continued to improve. I was very pleased with our efforts against some of the top teams like Ocean and RBC. The girls played very well; we just couldn’t get past them. Those kinds of games will help us next season.” The Lions were actually quite stingy defensively, allowing an average of just under 2.5 runs per game. To pick up more victories, Middletown North will have to score a few more runs. “If we can improve our hitting throughout the lineup, we’ll be a strong contender next year,” LaFalce said. “We have a good experienced pitcher, and the girls generally play good defense. And most of the girls are coming back. Of course, we’ll have to get a new shortstop, but we do have a lot of talent.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *