Ever since Hoboken Recreation got involved with the Major League Baseball RBI softball program, the Hoboken Shockers have been a dominant force.
That was the case again last weekend, when the Shockers captured the RBI Northeast Regional championship for the fifth straight time and sixth time in the last seven years.
By virtue of the 9-1 victory over Harlem Sunday, the Hoboken Shockers will head to the RBI World Series in the Dallas-Fort Worth area Aug. 12.
“A lot of these girls have been playing together since they were 9 years old,” said Vinnie Johnson, the head coach of the Shockers program and also the head coach at Hoboken High School. “I guess I’ve been pretty lucky. The girls coming and going have been great. It’s always a goal to get to the World Series, because the way they treat us there is tremendous. I have made relationships over the years with other coaches, like one in Cleveland. They’re going again as well.”
The Hoboken Shockers won all four games in the regional tourney, culminating in the win over Harlem.
“I had a good feeling going into the tournament, because of our pitching,” Johnson said.
The Shockers’ pitching staff reads like a former Hudson Reporter All-Area team.
Christina Mezey, the 2014 Hudson Reporter Pitcher of the Year from St. Dominic Academy, is a member of the Shockers’ pitching staff, along with former Ferris standouts Eddielynn Figueroa and Victoria Vogt, both of whom earned Reporter All-Area honors over the last few years.
The catching duties have been shared by a trio of Hoboken High products, all of whom were All-Area honorees this spring, namely Alizea Henriquez, Naomi Olacio and Kayla Morrisette, along with SDA backstop Gabriella Contey.
Amanda Zielinski, who is a Hoboken native, but attends a private school in Bergen County, is the first baseman. Alize Sarmiento of North Bergen and Adrianna Liverman of Union City share second.
Olacio and Figueroa are the team’s shortstops with Morrisette and Mezey sharing the duties at third.
Jaeda Henriquez, Alizea’s twin sister, is in left field, with former North Bergen All-Area performer Nerilyx Cerda in centerfield. Right field duties fall to whoever is not catching on a certain day.
“It’s a great experience to be able to take these kids to play on a national level,” Johnson said. “It’s really fun for them. I have eight girls returning from last year’s team. We try to keep three or four girls who are younger and get experience so they can be ready for the next year. It’s a good mix.”…
It’s been a great all-around community effort by Secaucus people to get local track and field coaching legend Stan Fryczynski enough votes to win the Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year award.
Brooks, the track equipment company, narrowed down its field of possible award-winning coaches nationwide to 25, with Fryczynski one of the finalists.
Thanks to the efforts of people like Kathy Gomez, Chris Panepinto and Fryczynski’s daughter Amy Hauxhurst, the Secaucus coaching legend with a blue beachcomber’s bucket hat has received more than 6,700 votes, with voting continuing through the end of the month.
At press time, Fryczynski is second in the voting.
For more information, you can check out the Facebook page VoteCoachStan or log onto the Secaucus town website at www.secaucusnj.org....
Former St. Peter’s Prep lineman Khalil Wilkes, a recent Stanford grad, signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers and will report to the Chargers’ training camp this week. Wilkes was featured here in the Reporter a few weeks ago…
T.J. Baxter, who was the interim head baseball coach at St. Peter’s College after head coach Sean Cashman was shot in the parking lot at Yanitelli Center last August, has taken over the duties full-time.
Baxter is the son of former Bayonne High School baseball superstar and Hudson County Sports Hall of Famer Tom Baxter, who was once the head coach at Marist and coached former major leaguer Joe Borowski when Borowski was at Marist. The elder Baxter and Borowski led Marist to the NJSIAA Parochial B state championship in 1989...—Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.