Before the Hoboken Babe Ruth baseball season began in April, veteran head coach Saul Rosado didn’t know how his Diamondbacks squad would fare.
“I knew we had a young team,” Rosado said. “I thought it was going to be a rebuilding year. It was the youngest team I’ve ever had. My coaching staff and I thought we might win five games.”
In a 12-game regular season, that wasn’t saying much.
“I definitely thought we would be under .500,” Rosado said. “The only pitchers we had with experience were Jimmy Rosa and C.J. Perkins and they couldn’t pitch for us, because they were pitching for their high school teams. So we had to try out other kids as pitchers.”
One of those instant pitchers was 15-year-old Jason Madigan, who became a sudden star.
“He pitched a little for us last year, so basically I said, ‘Let me see what he can do,’” Rosado said.
Madigan’s first appearance was a complete game 3-hitter and his second start was even better, limiting the opponents to just two hits.
“He did much better than I expected,” Rosado said.
The other new hurler was 13-year-old Victor Martinez.
“He did a phenomenal job,” Rosado said of Martinez. “He did everything I could ask of him. He’s also our leadoff hitter. He kept the team together and definitely kept the bullpen together.”
Jarrod Rosso, a 14-year-old, told Rosado that he wanted to be a pitcher last year, but never got the shot. But with the turnover and the youth, Rosso got the chance to throw and did well.
Rafe Spadavecchia is another rookie who stepped up and performed right away.
“All of the rookies came in and did an excellent job,” Rosado said. “We definitely relied on our pitching.”
The Diamondbacks started off the season by winning their first three games, then sputtered a little, entering the postseason playoffs as the league’s No. 4 seed with a 7-5 record.
Last year, the D-Backs had a perfect 10-0 regular season mark and had the No. 1 seed, but lost in the first round.
“We had our older kids like Jason, Perkins and even Jarrod tell the others about what happened last year,” Rosado said. “I was proud to see the leadership. As a coach, you can only do so much. We had leadership all around.”
The D-Backs maneuvered their way through the playoffs and reached the title game, where they defeated the Orioles, 7-5, to claim the league championship.
“It was definitely a surprise,” Rosado said. “They really came together well and believed in themselves. It was fun to watch.”
The team was obviously talented, as 12 of the 16 members of the Diamondbacks’ roster are now currently playing for Hoboken Babe Ruth All-Star teams on the 13, 14 and 15-year-old levels.
“They are a very talented group of kids,” Rosado said.
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