Princz’s Perspective

A weekly roundup of the youth sports scene in Highland Park


1-2-3, and the Owls win. It’s been a while since the Highland Park High School varsity baseball savored the sweet taste of victory. On Monday, April 27, the Owls broke through in a big way winning by two field goals in earning a 14-8 victory over Cardinal McCarrick.  1-2-3 refers to the Owls first three hitters being pitcher Ryan O’Shea, second baseman Dylan Powell and shortstop Mike Kovalchik who combined for a total of five hits, six RBI and seven runs scored to lead the way.

Cardinal McCarrick jumped out of the gate in the top of the first inning to grab a 2-0 lead. Undaunted, the Owls came right back off Kyle Chaney in the bottom of the frame when Mr. Powell walked and Mr. Kovalchik belted an RBI triple. Third baseman Sawyer Conrad grounded out to knock in Mr. Kovalchik, the senior shortstop and pitcher with the tying run.

In the bottom of the second some shoddy fielding by the Eagles led to five unearned runs and a 7-2 lead for the Owls. First baseman Sam Murphy walked, went to second on a passed ball and scored when center fielder Jose Ruiz’s grounder to third baseman Nick DeKolf of Cardinal McCarrick was thrown away for an error. Left fielder Liam Roth walked. Both runners scored when Mr. Powell cracked a double to left.  Mr. Kovlachik walked and Sawyer’s grounder to DeKolf was thrown away allowing Dylan and Mike to score.  Mr. O’Shea went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored while Mr. Kovalchik went 2-for-3 with a walk three RBI and three runs scored.

Highland Park broke the game open scoring six runs in the bottom of the third inning for a commanding 13-2 lead. Josh Rothberg walked and stole second. With one out, Jose reached on an infield hit. Mr.Rothberg came home on Liam’s groundout to short.  O’Shea drove in Mr. Ruiz from second with a sharp single to center. Angel Holguin ran for Ryan. After Dylan walked, Mr. Kovalchik cracked a triple to drive in both runners. Sawyer walked. Evan Lanaris’s grounder to third was thrown away, allowing Sawyer and Mike to score.

Mr. McCarrick came back in the top of the fifth with four runs cutting the margin to 13-6. In the bottom of the fifth, Brent Szklaruk, replacing Sawyer at third, singled, advanced to second on a groundout to second and scored on a single to center by Mr. Murphy giving the Owls a 14-6. Two runs by the Eagles closed the scoring. Mr. Powell went 1-for-3 with two walks, two RBI and three runs scored.

“Dylan started out in JV. He has come on in the last two weeks, showing signs of life through practice and putting it all together,” said head coach Mark Blevins.

Mr. O’Shea went the distance, throwing  102 pitches on the afternoon,  allowing  eight runs, four earned on seven hits while fanning five and walking just one. “Ryan struggled with his command but our team made some nice plays in the field. He’s a tough kid,” said Mr. Blevins.

The coach told his team in their post game conference they did a good job offensively putting the ball in play and using the home field to their advantage.

On Friday, April 24, the Owls dropped a tough 9-6 decision to Dunellen. Highland Park grabbed a 3-1 lead in the second inning highlighted by a single from Mr. Rothberg and capped off by a sacrifice fly from Mr. Powell.  After trailing 4-3, the Owls scored three times in the fourth to take a 6-4 lead. Mr. O’Shea and Mr. Conrad had run scoring hits. A five-run outburst by Dunellen in the sixth was the decisive blow. Mr. Ruiz went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and stole two bases. Mr. O’Shea went 3-for-3. Matt Sussman allowed four earned runs on seven hits while fanning one and walking three.

On Thursday, April 23, the Owls were blanked at home by South Amboy 6-0. Mr. Kovalchik went 3-for-3 and took the loss despite allowing just two earned runs and striking out six.  Mr. O’Shea, Mr. Rothberg, Mr. Conrad, Mr. Powell and Mr. Lanaris collected hits for Highland Park.


The Highland Park girls finished the past week with a 2-1 record. On Thursday, April 23, the Owls improved to 5-3 by clobbering Woodbridge Tech 18-7. Senior pitcher Zoe Shombert went 3-for-4 with four runs scored and two RBI to lead Highland Park. Zoe tossed a five-hitter fanning one and walking three.  First baseman Sydney McManus-Smith went 2-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored. Senior center fielder Nautica Dennis singled, scored three runs and drove in two.  Senior short stop Carly Aversa went 1-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored. Others contributing to the victory included Hallie Lerner with an RBI and a run scored, Ester Adiv and Mikaela Zorin each with two runs scored, catcher Simona Moyal with two RBI and Vimerlis Mendez who went 1-for-2 with an RBI.

The Owls dropped to 5-4 on Friday, April 24 when Dunellen came to town and crushed Highland Park 13-1. Ms. Smith, Ms. Aversa, Ms. Adiv singled for HP while Zoe drove in the only run.  On Monday, April 27, the Owls record evened at .500 following a 7-2 loss to South River.  Freshman Sasha Khordorkovsky singled in a run for Highland Park. Shantal Azcona and senior third baseman Nyajah Boykins collected the other hits. Ester Adiv walked and scored a run while Moyal scored the other run for Highland Park. Ms. Shombert took the loss despite five strikeouts.


The Highland Park High School varsity tennis team competed in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament on April 25. The Owls finished in fifth place with 13 points. Senior sensation Maverick Lin dropped his first match of 2015 in the final to Joshua Marchalik of East Brunswick 6-3, 6-3.


On Wednesday, April 22, the girls team rolled to a 78-43 victory over Carteret at home to improve to 4-0 on the season.

Gabby Sanchez captured the 100 with a time of 13.2 and the 200 in 28.2. Senior Rebecca Chant won the 800 in 2:35, captured the 1600 with a time of 5:50 and won the 3200 in 13:50. Anna Minakina rolled to victory in the 100 hurdles in 17.0 and the 400 hurdles in 1:13. Ms. Sanchez won the long jump with a leap of 14-11 ½. Bailey Nestor who has been a great surprise along with Ms. Sanchez and Ms. Minakina this season won the triple jump with a leap of 26-9. The quartet of Chong, Liz Girvan, Nestor and Yasmine Lekhal  easily won the 4×400 relay.  The boys team fell to Carteret 72-59.

In next week’s Princz’s Perspective look for amazing offensive statistics from your  favorite players on the diamond in both baseball and softball. You can see the planet on facebook or go to for more information. See you on the field, the track and the court.


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