The Hoboken High School baseball team won 12 games a year ago, but veteran head coach Jack Baker is insistent that the Redwings will be a better team this season.
“We have all of our pitching back from last year,” said Baker, who begins his 10th season at the helm of the Redwings. “The key is the pitching. They all know how to win.”
Senior right-hander Victor Martinez was 6-2 last year, earning Hudson Reporter All-Area honors.
“Just watching him throw, I know he’s going to have a better year,” said Baker, himself a standout pitcher at St. Peter’s Prep and later William Paterson. “He keeps the ball down and pitches to contact. He has good breaking stuff as well.”
Junior left-hander Yugal Pattni is also back from last year. Pattni won a game in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I sectional tournament last season.
“He controls the game very well,” Baker said of Pattni. “He has tremendous experience and knows how to pitch. I expect him to have a nice year.”
Senior Mike Effinger is an effective starting pitcher with deceptive stuff.
“He has a tremendous breaking ball,” Baker said. “He’s just the total athlete. He’s able to compete and gets the key outs. He wants the chance to go up against the best teams.”
Senior Arum Assadourian is another right-handed hurler.
“He is a spot pitcher and he’s not bad out there,” Baker said.
Freshman Ryan Burke will also get to pitch some quality innings for the Redwings.
Junior Danny Henson is the team’s catcher.
“He was our MVP last year,” Baker said. “He came on as a terrific catcher and hitter. He caught everything and he hit .350. He also threw out a lot of runners. He was tremendous.”
Senior Thomas Spadavecchia is Hoboken’s starter at first base.
“He’s one of our most vocal leaders,” Baker said. “He works so very hard.”
Senior Andrew Paredes gets time at first base.
Senior Robert Cabrera had a great year last season and he returns to his spot at second base. Freshman Erik Carratini will see a lot of time at second base and the middle infield.
Martinez plays shortstop when he’s not pitching. Assadourian can also play shortstop.
Spadavecchia and Carratini will probably split time at third base.
Effinger is in left field, where he has been a three-year varsity starter.
Pattni and Assadourian split time in centerfield and right field is a battle between Arison Maldonado, a transfer from Louisiana, and Tori Bravo, who remains one of the only girls to be playing varsity baseball in the county.
The Redwings were slated to open their season against St. Benedict’s of Newark and followed with a tussle against league foe Marist.
But Baker is fairly certain that the Redwings will be improved this season.
“I absolutely think so,” Baker said. “I think we have a good veteran presence. I think we all know we can do something special this year. We have a great group of kids. We have good hitting, good pitching and excellent speed. I think if we stick with the key elements of baseball, we should have a good team. I’m looking forward to a fun year.” – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com