Baseball – 2021 Shore Conference Preview: Raritan
Raritan entered 2020 a team beaming with optimism, hoping that a handful of holdovers from its 2018 NJSIAA Group II finalist could spark one more postseason run. Two of those players – Dan Fiore and D.J. Dekis – graduated and the last players left that saw any time as freshmen that year was Chris Gonzalez. Now a senior, Gonzalez will be the Rockets’ shortstop and rotation leader, as well as a key hitter near the top of the lineup.
Senior Luke Ohea is the other senior with significant playing experience and he’ll provide the Rockets with a well-rounded centerfielder. Raritan will be strong up the middle with Gonzalez, Ohea and catcher Justin Kilyk – the latter of whom got a very small varsity taste as a sophomore but is poised to be one of the Shore’s most productive catchers.
Juniors Robert Scarola and Alex Dekis will be big offensive additions to the lineup, junior second baseman Justin Rivera brings even more athleticism to the middle of the diamond and Bill Tigar and Daniel Federco are sophomores on the cusp of emerging.
Federco and sophomore classmate Giancarlo Lamberti will be x-factors in the rotation behind Gonzalez, forming a trio that will get some help from the likes of Scarola, Ben Hutchins, senior Angelo Friend and freshman John Molnar. The depth will help, but the arms at the top of the staff are likely to hold the key to success for Raritan in 2021.
Raritan at a Glance
Head Coach: Jeff Struble, eighth season
Key Losses: Dan Fiore (Sr., OF), D.J. Dekis (Sr., 1B/LHP), Jason Lind (Sr., C/1B), Logan Waltz (Sr., RHP), Doug Chudzik (Sr., INF/P)
Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)
Catcher: Justin Kilyk, Sr.
First Base: Robert Scarola, Jr.
Second Base: Justin Rivera, Jr.
Shortstop: Chris Gonzalez, Sr.; John Bachmann, Sr.; John Molnar, Fr.
Third Base: Bill Tigar, So.
Leftfield: Daniel Federco, So.
Centerfield: Luke O'Hea, Sr. (.295/.368/.360, 4 2B, 14 R, 11 RBI)
Rightfield: Alex Dekis, Jr.
DH: Ben Hutchins (Jr., 3B)
Other Key Hitters
Dan Calicari (So., OF)
Kai Kruk (Sr., 2B)
Robert Mulligan (So., C)
Joe Campanella (Jr., OF)
Chris Gonzalez, Sr., RHP
Giancarlo Lamberti, So., RHP
Daniel Federco, So., LHP
Ben Hutchins, Jr., RHP
Robert Scarola, Jr., LHP
Angelo Friend, Sr., RHP
John Molnar, Fr., RHP
Justin Kilyk – Wagner College
Chris Gonzalez – Stockton University