Shawn Stacevicz was a youth softball coach for many years in his native Cedar Grove. Stacevicz’s three daughters were all proud products of the NJ Pride program, spearheaded by former Hudson Catholic head football coach and athletic director Rob Stern. All three of Stacevicz’s daughters went on to play major college softball on a scholarship at schools like Delaware and UMass.
But after coaching youth softball, Stacevicz wanted to shift gears and give coaching softball on the high school level a try. He checked into an assistant coaching position at Stern’s old school Hudson Catholic.
Last year, Stacevicz went from being the assistant to the head coach, replacing Jenna Wendolowski, who has been the interim athletic director at Weehawken High School for the last five months. Got all that?
Anyway, Stacevicz was ready to tackle the challenges of being a head softball coach on the high school level – and so far, so good.
That’s because Stacevicz has guided the Hawks to an impressive 14-4 record thus far this season and the No. 2 seed in the Hudson County Tournament that began Wednesday.
Leading the Hawks’ attack has been senior pitcher Miyoksi Suarez.
“She’s been pitching very well,” Stacevicz said. “We’re the type of team that has to play defense to be successful. That’s how I coach. I stress defense. Miyoksi knows to pitch to contact. She’s a smart pitcher who moves the ball around. She has a good curveball and good change-up. She’s done a really good job for us.”
Suarez’s catcher is senior Nickolette Nedwell.
“She’s really bought into being a catcher,” Stacevicz said. “She’s our all-around best player. She’s solid back there. She hits and hits for power. She’s just a solid player.”
Stacevicz also said that Nedwell was a “great kid” exactly six times in describing what Nedwell can do.
“I seriously wish I had eight others like her,” Stacevicz said.
Both Suarez and Nedwell were selected to the Hudson Reporter All-Area High School Softball Team a year ago.
Junior Kim Flores is the Hawks’ first baseman.
“Before the season started, I thought our two biggest concerns were right field and first base,” Stacevicz said. “Kim has really surprised me with the way she has played. I’m very happy with what she’s given us.”
Senior Elizabeth Moyeno is the team’s second baseman.
“She plays solid second base for us,” Stacevicz said. “Overall, defensively, I think she’s the best second baseman in the county.”
Junior Jillian Ward is the Hawks’ shortstop.
“Overall, she’s one of the better shortstops in the county,” Stacevicz said. “She’s also very solid defensively.”
Sophomore Aliyah Rivera is the third baseman.
“She started last year as a freshman and handled herself well,” Stacevicz said.
Senior Amelia Gonzalez is in left field, with junior Danielle Rosa in center. Rosa is also the Hawks’ leadoff hitter.
“She can go and get the ball in the outfield,” Stacevicz said. “She’s coming around with the bat.”
Junior Dionna Leonardo is the right fielder.
“She’s a first-year softball player,” Stacevicz said of Leonardo. “She’s a basketball player who has worked very hard to get better as a softball player. I’m very happy with her.”
Stacevicz said that he was recently disappointed by losses to Kearny, the defending county champion, and Hoboken, right before the tournament began.
“We’re a much better team than what we showed those games,” Stacevicz said. “I think if we can just do a little better job at the plate, we will be fine.”
The Hawks will have a tough challenge in the quarterfinal round, as Weehawken, which somehow got the No. 7 seed in the tournament, looms. More than likely, Hudson Catholic will face the winner of the Weehawken-Bayonne second round game.
The Hudson County Tournament championship game is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, May 23, at Weehawken’s waterfront field at 7 p.m….
The 24th annual Paul Robeson All-Star Football Classic will be held Tuesday night June 15 and once again, after a long respite, Hudson County players will be part of the East All-Star squad.
Some of the local talent participating in the game includes Nolan Burns of Snyder (who signed a letter of intent to play at Robert Morris College in Pennsylvania), Wilden Germain of Hoboken, Khashawn Decker of Hudson Catholic and James Burgess of Lincoln.
It’s a solid local contingency and we’ll have more as the game approaches. It’s good to have Hudson County kids participating in the Robeson Classic once again…
This weekend, the Mile Square Theater in Hoboken will hold its annual “Seventh Inning Stretch,” which is a series of seven 10-minute plays all about baseball. The shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. (with Saturday’s also offering a special dinner package) and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Part of the festivities will be a display of baseball paintings done by the incredible Paul Lempa of Jersey City, who has done some new pieces of Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron and Bob Feller that will be on display.
Lempa is the former St. Peter’s Prep basketball standout who has taken to producing sports-related art. He’s worth the trip to 1400 Clinton Street and the Mile Square Theater alone. The plays should be excellent as well…
A lot of local athletes have recently declared their intentions to attend colleges in the fall.
Katelyn Andres of North Bergen has signed on to attend Post College and play basketball at the Connecticut school in the fall. The Henriquez twins of Hoboken, namely Alicea and Jaeda, will head to Goldey Beacom College in Delaware and play soccer there on a scholarship.
And a trio of Lincoln basketball players, namely Najuan Jenkins, Tariq Royster and Randy Antenor, will play college basketball. Jenkins and Royster are headed to Raritan Valley Junior College and Antenor will play at Caldwell University. It’s hard to remember any Lincoln basketball team sending three kids off to college to play. It might have to go back to the days of Charlie Brown as head coach in the 1970s. That’s a long time…
Hudson Reporter High School Baseball Top Five: 1. St. Anthony (14-5). 2. St. Peter’s Prep (14-7). 3. Memorial (14-7). 4. Bayonne (15-8). 5. Hudson Catholic (12-6)…
Hudson Reporter High School Softball Top Five: 1. Hudson Catholic (14-4). 2. Weehawken (13-4). 3. North Bergen (14-6). 4. Hoboken (13-5). 5. Ferris (13-6). – Jim Hague