The 2013 Hudson Reporter All-Area High School Baseball and Softball teams represent the very best Hudson County has to offer in both sports.
On the All-Area baseball team, there are 11 repeat honorees. They are Ryan O’Connor and T.J. Ward of St. Peter’s Prep, A.J. Gale and Marco Hernandez of North Bergen, Sal Mendez and David Strandberg of Weehawken, Ruben Rivera and Jimmy Hernandez of Memorial, Rory Carvajal of Hudson Catholic, Dave Jakubowski of Bayonne and Matt Littrell of Marist.
On the All-Area softball team, the girls go one better. There are 12 players who made All-Area last year, namely Jessica Feria, Sabrina Reyes and Nerylix Cerda of North Bergen, Sarah Beckner and Grace Hill of McNair Academic, Kayla Morrissette and Naomi Olacio of Hoboken, Jessica Hill of Hudson Catholic, Mackenzie Brown of Bayonne, Danielle Roesing and Lauren Guillen of Secaucus and Melissa Mendoza of Union City.
On the softball team, Jessica Feria of North Bergen repeats as Pitcher of the Year. The senior lefty almost won 20 games for a second straight year, going 19-3. She struck out an amazing 233 batters in just 148 innings. Feria cemented her place as one of the top pitchers in North Bergen’s rich history of solid pitching.
The Player of the Year is Feria’s teammate Nerylix Cerda, who batted an astounding .663 with 55 hits, seven homers, 23 doubles and 42 RBI. Cerda, a three-year honoree on the All-Area team, had perhaps the best overall season in North Bergen history.
The Most Valuable Player should be a no-brainer. Secaucus senior Danielle Roesing led her team to 24 victories, including the Hudson County Tournament championship and the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I title. It was the first time in the school’s history that the Patriots won both championships. Roesing just kept getting better and better as the season went on and is deserving of the MVP distinction.
The Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year is Secaucus’ Cherryl Bott, who guided the Pats to the two big championships, the county and state sectional, for the very first time.
The baseball honorees are headed by Sal Mendez of Weehawken, who earns the Pitcher of the Year honor.
Mendez, drafted by the Texas Rangers in last week’s Major League Baseball draft, won five games and pitched the first no-hitter for Weehawken since 1980. Mendez had a 0.76 ERA and had two games where he eclipsed 15 or more strikeouts.
The Player of the Year is St. Peter’s Prep junior T.J. Ward, who moved from first base to shortstop this season and didn’t miss a beat. Ward, already being recruited by some big NCAA Division I programs, batted .430 with 34 hits, four homers, 28 RBI and 31 runs scored. He was the main offensive weapon for the Marauders, who won the county championship and posted the school’s best record ever at 26-4.
The Most Valuable Player is Ward’s Marauder teammate Ryan O’Connor, who did a little bit of everything for the Marauders this season. On the mound, the Fairfield-bound O’Connor posted a 7-1 record with a 0.74 ERA, striking out 54 batters. He fired a two-hit shutout to beat Weehawken to capture the Ed Ford Memorial Hudson County Tournament championship.
At the plate, O’Connor batted .337 with four homers and 27 RBI, showing that he was a threat both on the mound and with the bat.
The Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year honor goes to St. Peter’s Prep’s Pat Laguerre, who guided the Marauders to a 26-win season, the best in school history, and the Hudson County Tournament championship, the first for Laguerre in a long baseball coaching career. – Jim
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.