Huskies team has the look of a contender

first_imgBY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer With its top two pitchers back, along with several strong hitters, the Matawan High School baseball team is looking to contend in the Shore Conference’s A Central division, coach John Kaye said. The Huskies got off on the right foot on Saturday with a 7-3 triumph over division-rival Rumson-Fair Haven. Tyler Renner did the job on the mound for Matawan, permitting just four hits in six innings of work, while his teammates put the numbers on the board, including five stolen bases. The win was important because Matawan has three more division games this week: yesterday against Raritan, tomorrow at Manasquan and Friday at home against St. John Vianney. “This is a huge week for us and it will certainly have a bearing on the division,” Kaye said. “It was nice to start out with a win and now our guys have to keep it going. They’re all important games.” Renner’s superb job in the hill illustrates his team’s strength: pitching. Last season, Renner compiled a 5-3 mark with 48 strikeouts in 44 innings of work. Left-hander Danny Conti, who lacked run support at times, went 3-3. Together, Renner, who also hit .280, and Conti had a hand in eight of the Huskies 11 victories a year ago, giving Kaye a potent one-two punch this time around. But that’s not all. Matawan has plenty of pitching. Dave Totin and Josh Naparstek both looked strong in scrimmages, the coach noted. The versatile Totin, did well in scrimmages, and will work out of the bullpen for the most part. Junior Matt Buragina and sophomores Dave Geran, Kevin Knox and J.D. Melendez round out a deep staff. “Over the last few years, we’ve been a team that seemed to have four DHs in the lineup and we scored a lot of runs,” Kaye said. “This year, we have more speed, we can field and throw and our pitching is very strong. We can still score some runs, but we can build runs too, and make them hold up.” At the top of the lineup, Kaye has a pair of excellent table-setter. Lead-off man John Foster, the second baseman, posted a .570 on-base average a year. No. 2 hitter, speedy sophomore Fran Santimauro, also finds ways to get on base. That’s certainly good news for sophomore shortstop and No. 3 hitter Julian Sonnenfeld, who whacked three homers and drove in 26 runs last spring. Catcher and cleanup man Dan Turley, a .300 hitter, will also get plenty of at-bats with runners aboard. Sonnenfeld and Turley are both three-year starters. Buragina lines up at first, while Knox and Melendez share third base duties. Junior Nick Chomko, an excellent flychaser is in center field. Renner, a .280 hitter, Santimauro, Totin and Naparstek will see action in right and left fields. Conti can play the outfield and first base. Peter Oleniec and junior Nick Citro provide outfield depth. “Our outfield is strong, for the most part if a ball is hit in the air it’s an out,” Kaye said. “That really helps our pitchers. Our depth is going to help as well. We have a 15-man roster, and I’m going to get everyone involved. We’re not going to be an easy team for anybody to play. With our talent and depth we should be right in the mix of the division race.”last_img

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