So when the baseball season began, some of the members of the Red Wings' baseball program felt it was only fitting if they kept the championship season going.
"The football players were bragging to us all year," Hoboken senior pitcher Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "We saw a lot of the other teams win, so we just figured it was our turn."
"We knew we were going to get ours this year," senior catcher Christian Rivera said. "We had to get something." Not wanting to be left out, the Hoboken baseball team accomplished something last week that hadn't happened at the school in over a decade: they won a state championship.
Led by Fitzpatrick, who was absolutely brilliant down the stretch of the season, Hoboken defeated Dunellen, 5-0, last Sunday at JFK Stadium in Hoboken to capture the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state championship.
It marked the first time since 1994 that Hoboken had won a baseball state championship. The Red Wings had already captured the HCIAA Seglio Division title, so they were able to win a county and state championship in the same baseball season.
The heroes Jonathan Cartegena and Erick Cruz were members of both the football and baseball state champions, so it was certainly a year to remember for those two young men.
In the state sectional title game, it was all about Fitzpatrick, who fired a three-hit shutout, striking out 11 in the process. He also delivered an RBI with a hit. In his two state playoff appearances, Fitzpatrick surrendered just one run and struck out 26 batters.
Fitzpatrick was also the pitcher who guided the Red Wings to the win over St. Mary's of Jersey City for the HCIAA Seglio Division championship.
"He was tremendous down the stretch," veteran Hoboken head coach Buddy Matthews said. "He really carried us. He picked up the rest of the team."
Matthews watched his basically young team mature during the course of the season and rebound from a 4-3 start and survived a scary injury to ace hurler Fitzpatrick to win the county and state championships.
The coach knew that it had been 12 years since the Red Wings tasted state glory, but he never let on to his team that it had been that long.
"We always talk about the tradition of the program, but when we got to the championship game, we didn't talk about anything but that game," Matthews said. "Tradition always comes up. We always talk of our great players of the past, but not on [Sunday]. It was all about that game."
The Arocho brothers, junior Danny and freshman Nate, also played big roles in the championship game. Danny Arocho had two stolen bases and scored three runs, while Nate had a big RBI single, scoring his brother, in the fourth inning, giving the Red Wings a comfortable 4-0 cushion.
Dunellen also made three huge errors that aided in the Red Wings' winning cause.
Although the Red Wings' season ended in the overall Group I semi-finals, dropping a 7-5 decision to North Jersey Section 1 champ Pascack Hills last Tuesday, it was definitely a memorable one.
"It was great to see these kids all get on the same page and go for their championships," Matthews said. Of course, Fitzpatrick played a huge role, but so did fellow pitchers Devon Inhulsen, Tom Roder and Roberto Cuevas.
"Roder transferred here from Hudson Catholic, and I really think he was the missing piece in the puzzle," Matthews said. "Roberto Cuevas enabled us to build a pitching staff. When Ryan was hurt, Devon stepped it up and held his own. They all helped us get to these championships."
Matthews credited the senior leadership of the team, guys like Fitzpatrick and Rivera who have been selected to the New Jersey State All-Star team. But there were other significant players like second baseman Ryan Raia and right fielder Jimmy Martinez who were selfless and willing to do anything for the betterment of the team.
"Jimmy Martinez started the season as the right fielder, but then we had to move him to designated hitter for a few games," Matthews said. "He respected that and never made a peep about it. He kept his mouth shut and continued on. That unselfishness was enormous for us, showing the sacrifice."
The Red Wings return a lot of players next year, like the talented Arocho brothers, Cuevas, Raia, Devon Inhulsen, and designated hitter Manny Munoz.
"We have to work on our pitching a little, but we have a good nucleus coming back," Matthews said. "We have something to build on. Without a doubt, one of the main reasons why this was so rewarding was because it took so long since the last one."
Maybe the next one might not take as long.