Baseball: Senior Wrap Up Picture

Kaitlyn Engel, Staff Writer

The end of the school year is here, along with the end of the spring sports seasons. The Dodgers finished their season with a record of 10-12-1. The team had the unique challenge of having a new head coach this season. Senior pitcher and outfielder Liam McManus says that one of the biggest challenges this season was “having to say goodbye to our old coaches and move on and warm up to a new set of coaches for my senior season”.

McManus also pointed out that “having to figure out how to be a leader on a team of kids the same age as me”,  recovering from back surgery were challenges that were solved both individually and as a team. The obvious challenge that was at the back of everyone’s minds including McManus and senior infielder Matt Blanchard was the past and possible future threat of COVID.

The team started their season off strong with two convincing wins. The first one came against Pequannock where they won 11-1. Winning pitcher Liam McManus pitched 89 pitches in 4 innings, holding the opponent to one run. Junior Sean Mariani accounted for three of the eleven runs scored for the Dodgers, junior Tyler Shannon had three hits, and junior Robert Ferris had three RBI’s.

The Dodgers followed their impressive win against Pequannock with another good showing against Middlesex with a winning score of 7-3. Winning pitcher Michael Lekas pitched 99 pitches in 7 innings and only allowed three runs. Lekas also recorded 7 strikeouts. Junior Robert Ferris led the team in runs and hits with two each, and junior Colin Melvin had three RBI’s.

The team had a bit of a rough patch losing their next three games but then came back and collected an impressive tie against a very strong Hanover Park team in extra innings. The Dodgers won games against New Providence, West Morris, Scotch Plain- Fanwood, Oratory, Kinnelon, Union.

The Dodgers held Morris Hills scoreless in a 10-0 win and held Passaic Valley scoreless in a 5-0 win to advance to the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Tournament. They ended their season with a tough 3-0 loss against Caldwell, eliminating them from the tournament.

As the season comes to a close, on the offensive side of the ball, Shannon leads the team in hits and RBIs with 25 and 18, respectively. Lekas leads the team with most runs scored at 16, and junior Zach Taddeo has the teams only homerun this season. On the defensive side of the ball McManus leads the pitchers in strikeouts with 39.

Looking towards next year both McManus and Blanchard have high hopes for the team. When asked about future leaders, Blanchard says, “I think Colin Melvin and Tyler Shannon will lead on the field and the team will be verbally led by Sean Mariani and Tyler Shannon.” 

The relationships built, team dinners, and looking forward to something after school are all things McManus will miss about the team but he is “grateful to have spent the last 4 years a part of this school’s program, and thankful to have spent the last two with the best teammates I could ask for.”