County High Schools
North Hunterdon High School
Head Coach Parker Snare makes no pretenses about the present status of North Hunterdon baseball when he says, “We have no superstars on this team.” What?! No superstars at North? It cannot be.
Surely, this is Coach Snare’s idea of a practical joke. A clever ruse to fool the competition into a false sense of security when they take the field against his north county Lions.
No, affirms Coach Snare, he speaks sincerely when he describes his team as young and inexperienced, and in a “rebuilding” mode. With some proven seniors and talented underclassmen returning from last year’s 16-11 squad, the Lions look to play competitively, with typical North Hunterdon “energy and hustle,” as they coalesce into a ball club that displays balance on offense and defense.
Outfielder Ike Caulfield, a three-year starter, brings his .364 average, 2 home runs, and 22 RBI from ’04 to the lineup, probably as the #3 hitter. He will move from right field to center field in the defensive alignment. Right hand pitcher, Dan Ramos, who also plays first base, gave the Lions “some good games down the stretch” in 2004, according to Coach Snare, and figures to be North’s #1 starter in 2005. Complementing Caulfield and Ramos are seniors Rob Hunt, a left fielder who had 9 RBIs as a backup last season, second baseman Brandon Founds, and right handed pitcher Mike Greeley. Snare describes Greeley, a “spot pitcher” last year, as having a “good mix” to his pitch selection and the #2 man in the rotation. Together Ramos and Greeley bring to the ’05 season a 5-2 record on the mound, with a combined ERA less than 4.00. Two seniors who played on the junior varsity last season, Jimmy Casey and Brett Ritchey, will also bring some stability to the young squad.
Switch hitting, junior catcher Mike Melillo batted .329 as a starter in 2004, and he figures to anchor the young Lions with his superb defense and team leadership. Outfielder Greg Capece, third baseman Jimmy Moreland, catcher Scott Mastroianni, pitcher Greg Forrester, infielder Brian Skocypec, and infielder Anthony Albanese, are all juniors who will see plenty of action this year. Along with sophomore infielders Alex Oliver and Lenny Racco, Coach Snare envisioned an “open competition” in preseason for starting spots at third base, shortstop, and first base.
Joining Ramos and Greeley on the mound, sophomores Mike Borkowski and Mike Londino provide depth and talent. Snare describes Borkowski as a “crafty left-hander with good stuff” and Londino as “a lanky right-hander who pitcher well as a freshman.”
Situated in the tough Delaware West Division (HCB Fall 2004, p.29), the 2005 North Hunterdon Baseball Lions, young and talented, face the prospect of having to mature quickly as they play through what proves to be a grueling, 25-game schedule. While looking to minimize mistakes on defense, get effective pitching, and hit the ball well enough to remain competitive in all their games, Coach Snare will take the season “one game at a time.”