The 2012 Hudson Reporter All-Area Baseball and Softball Teams once again represent the very best that Hudson County has to offer and highlight some extraordinary performances on the local diamonds this spring.
On the All-Area Baseball Team, there are six returning honorees from last year’s team, namely Kenny Roder and Abe Groomes of Hoboken, David Strandberg, Sal Mendez and Kenny Minier of Weehawken and Jomar Casiano of Ferris.
Weehawken leads the way with four honorees, with Hudson County Tournament and NJSIAA Non-Public B state champion Marist holding three spots and North Bergen also holding three.
The individual honorees are as follows: For leading his team to the state and county titles, Mark Peralta, a standout on both the mound and at the plate, earns the Hudson Reporter Player of the Year honors.
The Pitcher of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors go to the same performer for the second straight year.
Roder of Hoboken etched his name as one of the greatest pitchers in Hudson County high school baseball history. His statistics are downright shocking and almost too hard to be true.
Roder won eight games on the mound, surrendered just 31 hits in 86 innings pitched, struck out a school-record 172 batters and walked just six for the entire season.
There has never been a pitcher in the county who had such impeccable control. He’s clearly the best pitcher in Hoboken history and could very well wear the crown in the overall county. Sure, there have been pitchers who threw harder and looked more imposing, but Roder’s success rivals no one.
The Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year honors go to Ron Hayward of Marist, who guided his team to a 24-5 record and championships on both the county and the state level. He brought the Royal Knights their first baseball state title since 1991.
The 2012 Hudson Reporter All-Area Softball Team also features six players who earned All-Area plaudits a year ago. They are Natalia Estremera of Ferris, Jayla Vega of Hoboken, Victoria Pessolano of Ferris, Shalia Rolon of Union City, Karla Calderon of Memorial and Danielle Roesing of Secaucus.
The Hudson Reporter Pitcher of the Year goes to Jessica Feria of North Bergen, who emerged as one of the premier hurlers in northern New Jersey, leading the Bruins to the Hudson County Tournament title. Feria won 20 games in her first year as the Bruins’ pitcher and the southpaw ended up striking out nearly 200 batters for the season.
The Hudson Reporter Player of the Year is Natalia “J.J.” Estremera of McNair Academic, who batted better than .600 with two homers and 51 RBI, scoring 47 runs in the process. Estremera also won 12 games on the mound, leading the Cougars to a fine 22-8 season. Estremera earned All-Area honors for all four years of high school.
The Most Valuable Player honors go to Jayla Vega of Hoboken, who won 24 games on the mound and was the Red Wings’ most consistent hitter all season long. Vega, a two-time All-Area honoree, was the most impressive performer all season.
The Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year goes to Tim O’Donnell of Hudson Catholic, who has turned that fledgling program into a viable contender, winning more than 20 games this season. O’Donnell earns the honor for a second time in his career, also earning the honor while the head coach of County Prep a few years back. – Jim Hague