Baseball – 2014 Preview: Raritan
Head Coach: Jeff Struble, second season
Record Last Year: 9-13 (6-8, tied for fifth in A Central)
|Returning Starters||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Bruce Strickland||Sr.||3B/P||.551/.582/.792, 10 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 17 R, 17 RBI||48.2 IP, 44 H, 25 BB, 27 K, 3.16 ERA, 6-2|
|James Wines||Sr.||OF||.289/.407/.356, 3 2B, 9 R, 6 RBI|
|Tom Pulcine||Jr.||INF||.344/.412/.410, 2 2B, 1 3B, 13 R, 15 RBI||2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 ER|
|Mike Kelleher||Sr.||P||39 IP, 60 H, 16 BB, 26 K, 5.56 ERA, 1-5|
|Returning Players||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Johnny Guccione||So.||SS||.310/.375/.379, 2 2B, 3 R||2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 ER|
Key Losses: C.J. Pulcine (C), Dom Guida (2B), Nick Pasquenza (SS), Rob Ronan (P/OF), Paul Coladonato (1B)
Key Newcomers: Jon Rodriguez (So., OF/C), Michael Lind (So., C), Ryan Ruziecki (Fr., 2B)
There was some hope that the Rockets were building toward another surprise NJSIAA Tournament run in May, just like the one they made the previous year in winning the 2012 Central Jersey Group II title, but it didn’t quite materialize. With two quality pitchers atop the rotation and some solid bats around one red-hot hitter in the middle, Raritan had the look of a team that could do some damage down the stretch of the 2013 season, as evidenced by a late-season win over St. John Vianney.
The best thing Raritan has going for it heading into this season is that its red-hot hitter from a year ago is back. Senior third baseman Bruce Strickland put up big offensive numbers as a junior last year while also settling into the rotation as a reliable pitcher for the Rockets. Junior infielder Tom Pulcine also returns after hitting .344 in his varsity debut and considering Raritan’s history of turning out big hitters, Pulcine looks like a potential breakout candidate. Throw in outfielder James Wines and promising sophomore shortstop Johnny Guccione, and the Rockets have the makings of a good lineup.
The Rockets will once again be crossing their fingers in the pitching department. Strickland proved he can handle the load of No. 1 pitcher, so now the challenge is to fill the staff in behind him. Mike Kelleher has some experience at the varsity level and is a top candidate to win a rotation spot, while the rest of the staff figures to be young. If Raritan is known for one thing though, it is for hitting, and at the very least, that reputation should hold true this year.