By Patrick Hennessy
SSN Special Contributor

 

2016 Matawan Baseball Preview

Head Coach: Bobby Carnovsky, fourth season
2015 Record: 11-13 (6-8, fifth in B North)

Returning Starters Yr. Position 2015 Batting Stats 2015 Pitching Stats
Adam Elliott Sr. INF/P .352/.425/.549, 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 11 R, 14 RBI 42.2 IP, 36 H, 18 BB, 37 K, 2.30 ERA, 4-2
Chris Vetter Sr. C 1.86/.255/.209, 2B  
Colin Thompson Sr. P   23 IP, 29 H, 11 BB, 12 K, 2.43 ERA, 0-4
Anthony Hirujo Sr. P 2-for-5, 3B, 3 RBI 29.1 IP, 42 H, 16 BB, 19 K, 6.68 ERA, 2-2
Returning Players Yr. Position 2015 Batting Stats 2015 Pitching Stats
Richard Joa Sr. P   6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K
Isaiah Phillip Sr. OF .273/.364/.273, 9 R, 4 RBI  
Dylan Dobbin Sr. OF .206/.289/.235, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI  
Makel Caldwell Sr. OF 2-for-12, 2B, 17 R, RBI, 6 SB  
Brandon Rivera Sr. 2B/3B/P .154/.186/.154, 2 R, 2 RBI 12 IP, 22 H, 5 BB, 5 K, 6.42 ERA, 0-2
Tom Collazo Jr. SS 4-for-18, 4 R, RBI  

Key Losses: Nick Smith (P/1B), Alex Cella (3B), Joe Piscopo (CF), Billy Rodriguez (OF), Matt Esposito (1B), Kyle Chapman (OF)
Key Newcomers: Jake Burlew (Jr., INF/OF/P), Alex Cosentino (Sr., INF)

 

Last season, after getting off to a rough start, the Huskies flipped the switch and rattled off a deep run in the Central Jersey Group II playoffs, where they lost to eventual champion Governor Livingston. The run was sparked in part by a strong class of 2016, which now returns battle-tested and ready to take the next step to get over the hump after losing in two straight sectional semifinals.

Leading the Huskies this year will be three-year varsity starter Adam Elliott. Elliott, who returns as the Huskies top hitter and pitcher, is poised for a huge senior season after an All-Shore junior season in which he hit .352 with eight extra-base hits and posted a 2.30 ERA in 42 2/3 innings. Behind Elliott is fellow senior returning starters in Dylan Dobbin, Richard Joa, Chris Vetter, Colin Thompson, Brandon Rivera, Anthony Hirujo, Makel Caldwell, and Isaiah Phillip. The lone underclassmen returning starter is junior Tom Collazo, who will man shortstop.

“Our mindset from day one is championship: Division, conference, and state,” said Dobbin. ”We have to keep working because we have a lot of potential and I know we can really make a mark.”

Matawan senior two-way player Adam Elliot. (Photo courtesy of Sheila Caldwell)

This Huskies team’s undeniable force is without a doubt the pitching staff. Along with Elliott, Philadelphia University commit Richard Joa returns for his second season as a Huskie and will look to lead his team to victory along with Elliott, Thompson, and Hirujo.

“Our pitching staff and defense is very strong this season,” Joa said. “If our hitting steps up we can be very dangerous.”

Although the returners for this year’s Huskie squad is the backbone, there are many newcomers ready to step in and contribute to a title run. Seniors Eric Johnson, Ryan Driscoll, Alex Cosentino, and Dave Sherman will all be stepping into bigger roles after coming off the bench as juniors. This year’s infield will have more depth as well with juniors Antonio Martinez, Griffin Leibell, and Wayne Bloom. Bloom and Leibell will bring in two more solid gloves ready to backup this year’s pitching rotation. Martinez will add some speed and havoc on the base paths.

Junior Jake Burlew will be stepping into a role at first base where he has to defend and hit, along with Ryan Driscoll. In the bullpen, juniors John Carelli and Kyle Gamble will be handling relief duties.

“We’ve been working so hard all offseason to get ready for this season,” said Dobbin. “All the days in the gym and on the field have prepared us.”

Behind a battle tested and experienced core of seniors and a versatile group of juniors who have moved up to the varsity ranks after dominating at the junior varsity level, the Huskies are prepared to make a run and solidify themselves as one of the best teams in the program's history while navigating through a competitive Class B North division.