2020 Varsity Baseball Preview

Pictured+above%2C+Jack+%22Lawlo%22+Lawlor+shows+off+his+athleticism+at+first+base+while+receiving+a+throw+from+home+plate.

Pictured above, Jack "Lawlo" Lawlor shows off his athleticism at first base while receiving a throw from home plate.

James Kim, Sports Editor

Dust off those bats, gloves, and spikes…it’s baseball season! With spring right around the corner, the ballplaying Rams are looking forward to occupying the diamond on Cavelero field very soon, and this season is surely expected to be a good one. Following a year that set a school record for wins and brought a conference champion title to the banner in Degaeta Hall, the first for the school in 12 years, the team is only expecting to flourish even further. Composed of a mix of returning varsity veterans and some new, younger faces, the group seems to be quite prepared for the tough schedule ahead.

 

While remaining in the same UCC-Valley Division conference, composed of Brearley, Dayton, Linden, Roselle Park, and Rahway, the team is also expected to face some of the best teams in the county, including Governor Livingston, Westfield, Madison, and Elizabeth. In addition, some non-public opponents will include Union Catholic, Rutgers Prep, Gill St. Bernard’s, and Newark Academy. With one of the tougher schedules in recent years, the program is clearly escalating in its prominence within the county, and all the players are surely looking forward to meeting the challenge. 

 

So who should we expect to make some big contributions? Starting in the infield, senior Ben Landis will take charge behind homeplate as starting catcher, continuing to throw out runners with his strong arm. He will also use his speed and offensive versatility at the top of the lineup, moving runners over and often finding himself on base. Sophomore Alexander Fudenna will get his first looks at the varsity level and backup Landis. At the corners, Senior Chris Lowe, Junior Jack Greco, and Sophomore Robert Grasso will likely share time at first and/or third, depending on who’s on the mound. Lowe, returning from Tommy John surgery this past year, is hungry for some innings. He’ll be the ace in the starting rotation, showing off some velocity with his fastball and throwing hitters off balance with his dirty breaking curveball. Following an impressive sophomore campaign on the mound and at the plate, Jack Greco will look to heighten his numbers. He will also be at the front of the pitching rotation with his arsenal of pitches, while continuing to flex his home run power and high-average abilities at the plate. Robert Grasso, following a short, successful stint on the varsity team last year as a freshman, will likely make huge contributions of his own. While likely receiving much playing time as a third baseman, he will also prove to be an offensive threat in the top/middle of the lineup, proving to be one of the more consistent power hitters on the team. Lastly, team-favorite Jack “Lawlo” Lawlor will compete for some reps at first base as well, while also finding some at-bats as the DH in the lineup by driving balls in the gap. Some other pitchers will include Connor Keaveney, Jason Chacon, and Cole Weintraub, all of whom showed plenty of experience at the JV level under legendary Coach Matthew Sommo. 

 

At shortstop, Drew University-bound Joseph “Beekee” Del Sol will show off his range and strong arm, while also offensively providing plenty of power and contact from the left side of the plate. At second base, Senior George Castro and Juniors Liam Henderson and Padraig Stack will be competing for the starting spot. Castro, having successfully proven his baseball acumen on the freshman and JV teams the past few years, should contribute to the team’s batting average quite well. Fan-favorite Liam Henderson will provide some consistency on the field, and at the plate, will give the team a great amount of contact with his short, simple, compact swing. Stack will give the rams some speed on the field and on the bases, and give some contact of his own with his smooth, lefty stroke. In addition, junior Nick Yanuzzi will provide versatility within the infield and show off his offensive abilities at the plate with both solid contact and power.

 

Returning varsity players Jack Coyne, James Kim, and Logan Drone will patrol the outfield. Coyne will continue to use his athleticism, speed, and strong arm in the outfield to make plenty of plays, while showing an abundance of offensive power at the plate. Kim, returning from a hand injury the year prior, will provide some offensive opportunities at the plate at the top of the order with some opposite field hits. Drone will show consistency in all aspects of the game, including some occasional flashes of power at the plate, surprising for his size. Furthermore, Sophomore Evan O’Dowd will look to get some innings as well and play a big role in base running and flashing some leather in the outfield.

 

All in all, the team appears to be solid in all components of the game. Offensively, the entire lineup will have a mix of power and contact hitters who can put the ball in play and most importantly, drive in runs. The pitching rotation will mainly be led by two solid arms, and the sound defense will provide consistency and undoubtedly flashy SportsCenter-worthy plays, both in the infield and outfield. With the seniors having contributed much to the program these past four years, this team looks ready to finish things off on a high note. Tryouts begin this Friday, and the team will prepare for the season with a few scrimmages in NJ and Orlando, Florida during Spring Break. Go Rams!