After last year’s dream season that resulted in the first-ever Hudson County Tournament championship and the first-ever NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state sectional title, Secaucus softball coach Cherryl Bott stepped down.
Bott turned the program over to her former assistant, Amanda Jones, and the new coach is determined to make sure the winning ways remain with the Patriots.
“Things are really exciting and going great,” said Jones, who was an assistant with Bott for five seasons. “I don’t think anyone felt any pressure to keep winning. It’s always been a lot of fun. I didn’t see it as being a negative at all.”
In fact, Jones believes that the Patriots’ past successes could only act as an incentive.
“If anything, I think it motivates them, if that’s possible,” Jones said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Every day is a new day and that’s the way we’re taking it.”
Gone from the pitching circle is last year’s Hudson Reporter Female Athlete of the Year Danielle Roesing. No one could ever duplicate the magic that Roesing performed on the mound last year.
But junior Julia McClure, the basketball standout, is certainly willing to try.
“She’s just a well-rounded athlete,” Jones said of McClure. “She knew she would be the pitcher this year, so she worked really hard in the offseason to get better. She took pitching lessons and did a lot of work on her own to prepare for this season.”
So far, McClure, who earned Hudson Reporter All-Area softball honors last year as a utility player, has done well, as the Patriots own a 4-2 record.
The catcher is senior Chelsea Kessler.
“She has been working very hard,” Jones said. “Chelsea stepped up and wanted to take on that role and she’s been wonderful back there.”
The first baseman is junior Kate Schlemm, the younger sister of former Patriot standout pitcher/basketball player Kyle.
Senior Megan Kelly is the second baseman, whole sophomore Brielle Mattiello moves into the shortstop slot that McClure occupied last season.
“She’s doing really well at shortstop,” Jones said of Mattiello. “She was the right fielder last year, but she was a good fit at short. She’s also really been trying to take on more of a leadership role as a sophomore. She wants to get involved.”
The third baseman is returning Hudson Reporter All-Area performer Kendall Caruso.
“She’s one of the only returning starters in the same position she played last year,” Jones said. “We’ve had to move some things around. Kendall is very good at the plate. She’s our leadoff hitter and she’s hitting over .400 right now.”
Sophomore Amber Concepcion is in left field.
“She came up to varsity at the end of last year,” Jones said. “She’s very fast in the outfield and has been helping us a lot out there. We’re still learning and growing as a team.”
Fellow sophomore Alyson Toman is the centerfielder.
“She’s been a very nice surprise for us,” Jones said. “She didn’t play softball last year, but came out this year and has been a very nice addition.”
Senior Bryonna McClure, Julia’s older sister, is the team’s right fielder.
“She’s a very strong leader for us,” Jones said. “She’s been hitting the ball real well so far. She also does everything I ask of her. She could also catch if we needed her to.”
Jones has no question that the Patriots will be a solid contender for another Hudson County Tournament title.
“There’s no doubt we are going to continue in our tradition of success in Secaucus,” Jones said. “The girls are very committed and I’m very excited about our chances.”…
After having successful indoor track and field seasons, both Memorial and St. Dominic Academy continued their successes by both winning the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League Relays championships last week.
The Memorial boys’ squad won five events to hold off a solid challenge from North Bergen to win 97-93. Dickinson was third.
The SDA squad also won five relay events to easily surpass the field, winning 93-66 over runner-up Kearny with North Bergen third.
The locals will compete in the Hudson County Track Coaches Association Relays this weekend in Kearny, with other top schools competing in this event as well…
Hudson Catholic’s Kevin Suarez became the third local baseball pitcher to throw a no-hitter this season. Suarez pitched his gem last week against St. Anthony, striking out six and walking three. Suarez joins Justin Jandik of Union City and Edwin Garcia of University Charter as local hurlers who have thrown no-hitters this season…
Memorial’s Steven Acosta had a great pitching performance against Ferris, striking out 15 batters in the win…
Alexis Peguero of Hoboken had a great day recently against St. Anthony, collecting four hits, including three doubles and driving in five runs in one game….
Mike Cirilo might be known more for being a great defensive outfielder for St. Peter’s Prep, but he had two hits, including a double and two RBI for the Marauders, who have reeled off nine straight wins after a season-opening loss to Marist…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Baseball Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (9-1-1). 2. Bayonne (5-2). 3. Marist (6-4). 4. Hudson Catholic (6-3). 5. Memorial (5-3)…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Softball Top Five: 1. Hoboken (6-0). 2. North Bergen (3-2). 3. Secaucus (4-2). 4. Hudson Catholic (5-2). 5. Marist (5-1)…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.