After having a tough year last season, the Ferris High School softball team has enjoyed a bounce-back campaign. The Bulldogs have an 11-6 record after a solid win over Kearny Tuesday and received the No. 5 seed in the Hudson County Tournament that begins this weekend.
Head coach Mike Palughi had a sense that the Bulldogs would be a competitive squad this season, especially after the Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-1 record over the first two weeks of April.
“I think I was a little surprised with the hot start,” said Palughi, whose team won only nine games all of last season. “I knew we had the capability of being pretty good. We have a lot of the core girls back from last year and that’s really helped out a lot.”
During the off-season, returning standouts Eddielynn Figueroa and Victoria Vogt were turned into pitchers.
“We’re lucky to have two,” Palughi said.
Figueroa has been the do-everything for the Bulldogs for the last three seasons. This year, she’s pitched in five games, but she’s hitting close to .500 at the plate.
“She’s been a steady force hitting the ball,” said Palughi, who has put Figueroa at shortstop.
Vogt has taken on more of the pitching responsibilities and she’s the one who fired a one-hitter with six strikeouts last week against Kearny, a 13-win team.
“We happen to have a lot of girls who can play a lot of positions,” Palughi said. “We’ve been mixing and matching with that.”
Senior first baseman Nashayla Figueroa, Eddielynn’s sister, has been the most clutch performer for the Bulldogs, collecting 30 RBI already. Nashayla started the season as the Bulldogs’ catcher.
“I would love to have a set lineup like most coaches, but I honestly don’t know who can play that day,” Palughi said. “Some days, we have girls who are sick or injured, so it’s great that we have girls who can play more than one position.”
Senior Thalia Hernandez was the third baseman, but she recently moved to catcher and that seemed to cement things for the Bulldogs.
“As soon I was able to, I put her back at catcher,” Palughi said.
Senior Alley Fonseca is the second baseman while junior Crystal Pena is now playing third.
The outfield consists of sophomore Bria Eatman in left, junior Briana Quinones in center and Tonisha Sanabria, a senior, in right. The starting right fielder, Maria Canales, recently had her appendix removed and she’s out for the season.
“We’ve really picked it up lately,” Palughi said.
That’s good news, as the Bulldogs face St. Dominic Academy in the opening round of the county tournament this weekend.
“I like our chances to move along in the tournament,” Palughi said. “We’re playing well of late.”…
It has definitely been The Year of the Pitcher in Hudson County baseball, with several teams flashing excellence on the mound.
Last week alone, Marist’s sensational sophomore Josh Witherspoon became the first hurler since Ron Hayward became the head coach eight years ago to fire a no-hitter. Two days later, Weehawken ace Sal Mendez fired a no-hitter against Fort Lee, striking out 15 in the process. The left-handed Mendez became the first Indian hurler to pitch a no-hitter since 1980.
Witherspoon and Mendez are just two of seven different pitchers this season to throw no-hitters. Pretty impressive…
And it was a great week for Weehawken athletics, with Emily Verdon earning Athlete of the Week honors and Mendez throwing a no-no…
Correction: The Hudson Catholic centerfielder in softball is Elaine Reyes, not Boyer as was reported here last week. The miscue has drawn so much attention that some of Reyes’ teammates are now calling her “Boyer” as a nickname.
Speaking of the Hawks, they defeated Union City, 9-7, last Monday to improve to 12-4. Nikki Huertas had three hits and two RBI in the win.
Sybil Lynch of Hoboken, who was the Hudson Reporter Female Athlete of the Year last year, has continued her excellence in college, picking up the Pine Manor College Athlete of the Year honor last week. Lynch competed in soccer, basketball and softball at Pine Manor and earned all-conference in all three sports as a freshman…
St. Peter’s Prep won the boys’ title and St. Dominic Academy the girls’ crown at the recent Jersey City Track and Field championships in Lincoln Park.
The Marauders were led by Eamonn Dwyer (first in the high jump at 6-2) and second in the long jump; Minkah Fitzpatrick, who won the 200-meter dash and was second in the 100; Chris Butko, who won the 1,600-meter run and Ryan McGann, who won the 3,200-meter run.
Dickinson’s Shaquille Sutherland was a two-time winner in the 800-meter run and the 400-meter intermediate hurdles and finished second in the 100-meter high hurdles.
The SDA Blue Devils were led by Cara Keating, who won the 100-meter hurdles, Camille Bertholon, who won the 3,200-meter run, and Estefany Loiaza, who won the javelin.
Aicha Elola of Lincoln won both the shot put and the discus, while Nicole Nicholas of McNair Academic won three events, the high jump, the 800-meter run and the 400-meter hurdles and teammate Brittany Gibson won the 3,200-meter run…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Baseball Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (18-2). 2. Bayonne (16-3). 3. North Bergen (15-6). 4. Marist (11-7). 5. Hudson Catholic (11-6)…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Softball Top Five: 1. North Bergen (14-4). 2. Secaucus (12-6). 3. Ferris (11-6). 4. McNair Academic (15-5). 5. Hoboken (8-7)…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.