Princz’s Perspective is a weekly roundup of the youth sports activities in Highland Park.
TENNIS: One victory, two more to go and the Owls are Central Jersey Group I champions. Second-seeded Highland Park took the first step easily disposing of 10th seed Point Pleasant Beach with an easy 5-0 victory on Tuesday, May 12 at Donaldson Park. They will face third-seeded Shore on Thursday, May 14 in the semifinals. The venue for the semifinal match has yet to be determined. Highland Park improves to 9-6 with the victory.
“Take this win and build on it. Shore is the defending Group I champion and everyone is back for them,” said head coach Tim Stark.
Leading the way was senior Maverick Lin who disposed of Gerard Giordano of Point Pleasant Beach in straight sets 6-2, 6-1. The final score did not represent how much hard work the senior had to put in to defeat his opponent.
“This was a good win for Maverick. This was a nice opponent for him and he got some good work in,” said Mr. Stark.
“My opponent and I had some nice rallies. He was a very aggressive player and a good player,” Maverick said. “In getting ready for the season I’ve been trying to develop more weapons. It is nice to be back in a team environment,” Mr. Lin added.
In second singles, junior Leo Goldman used a variety of solid approach shots and defensive lobs to defeat Trevor Hinds 6-2, 6-1, while junior Will Chen crushed Rob Lissenden 6-0, 6-0. “Leo and Will played very well today,” said Mr. Stark. “Leo and Will have been using the same approach to each match and it paid off.”
In first doubles action, senior Amar Venugopal and freshman Josh Chen defeated Steve Dyson and Miles Mancini 6-2, 7-5. In second doubles, juniors Jisu Jeong and Patrick Liu double cruised past Jim Dyson and Matt Pimm 6-0, 6-0.
Mr. Stark told his team that it was a great victory and to build on the accomplishments of this important win. If things fall into place, Highland Park beats Shore and Metuchen wins its semifinal match, the Owls and Bulldogs would play in the sectional final on Monday, May 18.
BASEBALL: It has been a roller coaster of a season for the Owls in 2015. After the first 11 games, the team only had a record of 2-9. However, the team has played much better as of late.
On Wednesday, May 6, the Owls recorded a 9-3 victory over Timothy Christian. Ryan O’Shea had four hits and drove in four runs. Liam Roth went 1-for-2 with two walks and three runs scored. Sam Murphy walked twice, stole a base and scored a run. Evan Lanaris walked three times, stole two bases and scored a run. Eli Goldstein had an RBI single, stole a base and scored a run. Mr. O’Shea gave up three runs on five hits in six innings and struck out two to record the victory.
On Thursday, May 7, the Owls raced past Piscataway Tech for a 7-2 victory. Mr. O’Shea went 2-for-4 with three runs scored, two stolen bases, a walk and two RBI. Mr. Lanaris singled twice while Mr. Powell went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored. Jonah Beberman and Mike Kovalchik each went 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Mr. Roth singled and scored a run. Matt Sussman went the distance allowing just two runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
The team fell to 6-11, as their four game-winning streak was snapped in a 3-2 loss to South Amboy in eight innings in the play in round of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament on Friday, May 8 in South Amboy. Mr. Kovalchik went 3-for-4 with an RBI and gave up just one run on four hits in six innings with a walk and five strikeouts. Mr. O’Shea went 1-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored. Mr. Lanaris doubled and scored a run while Mr. Roth went 1-for-2 with a walk and stolen base.
“During the last three weeks of our season our team has taken great strides in becoming a solid baseball team,” said head coach Mark Blevins.” “Since our game against Dunellen on April 24th, we have been playing great baseball. As a team we have been fielding with much more consistency, and our players have shown the ability to communicate. As a young team I knew it would be important for us to improve from the beginning of the season until now and I can honestly say we have done so. We have tangible results by winning three of our last four. However, I am more proud of the way in which we are competing. Our players seem to be more confident and have a desire to win that we did not seem to have early in the season. I’m extremely proud of the baseball team and I look forward to a bright future as long as the players work hard in the offseason,” Mr. Blevins stated.
On Monday, May 11, the team dropped a tough 9-8 decision on the road against Wardlaw. Mr. O’Shea went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Mr. Kovalchik went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. Mr. Lanaris collected two hits including a double and drove in two runs. Mr. Goldstein singled and scored a run. Mr. Roth singled twice and scored a run. Mr. Powell singled with an RBI and scored two runs. Jose Ruiz went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
On Tuesday, May 12, the Owls fell to 6-13 on the season, dropping a 10-2 decision to South Amboy. Mr. O’Shea went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Mr. Powell doubled, drove in a run and scored a run. Mr. Murphy went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Mr. Roth had two hits and Mr. Rothberg went 1-for-3.
SOFTBALL: The Lady Owls had been proud of the 8-5 record, but then dropped their next three games.
On May 6, Highland Park blew an 8-3 lead in falling to Timothy Christian 12-8. The Owls committed five errors. First baseman Sydney McManus-Smith collected two hits including a double and drove in two runs. Zoe Shombert went 2-for-3 with a stolen base, two runs scored and two RBI. Carly Aversa went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored and Nyajah Boykins went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Sasha Khordorkovsky walked twice, was hit by a pitch and scored a run. She will take over next year as the team’s starting pitcher following the graduation of Shombert this season. Simona Moyal walked twice and scored two runs. Ester Adiv and Hallie Lerner each drove in a run.
On Friday May 8, Highland Park was clobbered by Wardlaw 13-3. Ms. Shombert went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Ms. Boykins walked, scored a run and drove in a run. Nautica Dennis and Ms. Moyal each walked and scored a run.
On Saturday, May 9, the Owls committed eight errors and dropped a 12-7 decision to South Amboy. Ms. Dennis went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Zoe went 1-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored. Ester went 1-for-3 with a walk. Carly went 1-for-4 with an RBI. Nyajah went 1-for-3 with a walk. Ms. McManus-Smith singled and scored a run and Mikaela Zorin stole a base and scored a run.
All losing streaks must come to an end, however. The Lady Owls won their play in game on Monday, May 11 by rolling to an easy 19-8 victory over Mother Seton on the road in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament. Nautica went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI. Five other players had two hits each to lead a 15-hit assault. Zoe went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Nyajah went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Ms. Adiv collected two hits including a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Ms. Zirin went 2-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored, and Simona collected two hits, drove in a run and scored a run. Ms. Khordorkovsky went 1-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Sydney had a double and drove in three runs. Hallie had a single and scored four runs. Ms. Shombert allowed four earned runs on eight hits while fanning two and walking none.
The Owls next game in the tournament will be Wednesday, May 13 at South Brunswick.