the latest regional New Jersey high school sports news

Feature Articles
Page 2
Video Feed
The Buzz
Contact Us

Caldwell's coach Ryan Smith has a strong nucleus back in tow for the defending North 2, Group 2 state sectional championship Chiefs diamond squad including All-Essex southpaw Ray Zamloot and very active baserunner and standout infielder Ty Fredo. Caldwell opens new season on April 3rd at Millburn. (Photos by Richard Morris/SHP and Jeff Stiefbold)

Goals Remain The Same For Caldwell
While Making Move To SEC-American

By Steve Tober

WEST CALDWELL- Making the move up to the Super Essex Conference’s top division does not change any of the goals for the Caldwell baseball team which is coming off a banner 2022 season when it captured a North 2, Group 2 state sectional title.

“We want to win 20 games, make the Final 4 of the GNT (Greater Newark Tournament) and win a state title,” said coach Ryan Smith. “Our ultimate goal is to win our last game of the year.

“We really like the fact that we’re now in the American Division because we want to play the best competition we can and I believe that it’s one of the best baseball divisions in the state.”  
Caldwell, which was 24-8 last spring (11-1 in winning the SEC-Liberty Division title) jumps right into the fire to open the new season when it travels to meet Millburn, 4 p.m. Monday, April 3. The Millers, who return a bulk of their lineup and three top starting pitchers, are the logical pre-season favorite in the SEC-American title chase.

“We’re going to be playing  very good Group 3 and Group 4 public school programs throughout the season and a top-gun Non-Public in Seton Hall Prep,” said Smith. “We know that we’ll definitely be battle tested once we do get to the Group 2 state tournament.”

The Chiefs will count on two experienced pitchers to lead their mound staff in senior left-hander Ray Zamloot (9-2, 1.78 ERA, 18 BB, 75 K’s in 72 IP in 2022) and junior right-hander Dan Paris (2.07 ERA, 34 K’s in 40 2/3 IP).

Zamloot, an All-Essex performer in both basketball and baseball for two very successful Caldwell sports programs, had pitching victories last spring over solid teams in SHP, Columbia, New Providence, Madison and Hanover Park.

Junior Julian Casale, an All-Essex middle linebacker for Caldwell’s state championship football team, is fully recovered from an arm injury which limited his throwing last spring and provides a hard thrower who could also provide valuable innings on the hill, while senior Nick Murante and junior Nick Monterosa might emerge as a potential starters and senior Luke Maida and junior Dom Velardi should add depth to the bullpen.

Around the infield, Zamloot and Paris will share time at first base while veteran senior Lorenzo Sozio, another key member of the Chiefs’ state sectional championship basketball team this past winter, returns at second base. With 2022 Sideline Chatter Essex County Player of the Year Nick Bergamotto (.453 BA, 43 hits, 37 RBI) now playing at Siena, Mt. St. Mary’s-bound senior Ty Fredo (.380 BA, 38 hits, 36 runs, 29 RBI, 16 stolen bases in 2022) moves over to man the all-important shortstop position where he has much experience at the under levels.

Third base could be occupied by either Casale or Velardi.

Veteran junior outfielder Joey Marinello (.318 BA, 15 RBI), a standout running back and DB in football, moves from left field over to center where his athleticism will be a big plus to replace another 2022 graduate Gil Prial (32 hits, 39 runs, 35 stolen bases) who was an important cog both in the field at the plate and on the bases last spring.

Strong hitting senior Luke Maida (32 hits, 17 runs, 17 RBI, 12 stolen bases) will be the regular, everyday right fielder, while competition is ensuing for the left field spot between Monterosa and junior Louie Anemone, another key member of last fall’s Chiefs football state champs.

There is also competition for the starting catcher’s job among senior Mike Platt and juniors Alex Vega and Mike Mignone following the graduation of last year’s starter Nick McNish. Platt and Mignone were also valuable members of the football team last fall.

It will be interesting to see how the personality and makeup of the 2023 Chiefs develops over the season’s first few weeks while vying in a stronger division and with some new faces in the mix to give the lineup a somewhat different look.

“I think that last year’s state sectional title provides some good confidence for the guys who were there last year, but this is a different team, a different season and we may have to play baseball in different ways at times,” said Smith. “The competition we have going on for starting positions is a very good place to be because we have a number of talented guys coming up through the program.

“We’re excited to get out there and play some games to see where we can get to in what should be an enjoyable and challenging season to be a part of.”

Caldwell hosts Columbia in its home opener, 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 4, followed by an independent home contest vs. Clifton, 4 p.m., Thursday, April 6. On Saturday, April 8, the Chiefs journey to Montclair Kimberley Academy to play an 11 a.m. contest on the Cougars’ brand-new diamond behind the middle school on Valley Road. Then it’s back to SEC-American Division action on Monday, April 10, vs. SHP at Porcello Field in the Kelly Athletic Complex in West Orange.  

SEC-American in 2023: Millburn, Seton Hall Prep, Montclair, Caldwell, Livingston, Columbia and Nutley.       

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister 

Athletic junior Joey Marinello moves from left field to center this spring where he helps to solidify a strong outfield for Caldwell which will vie in rigorous SEC-American Division after copping N2G2 title and winning SEC-Liberty in 2022. (Photos by SC & Gene Nann)

copyright 2005 Sideline Chatter - comments - contact the webmaster