A little over a month ago, it seemed unthinkable but with Covid-19 numbers in the state in the decline and sports given the ok to resume, the New Providence Reds baseball team will open their season this weekend with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday at Oakwood Park in New Providence with New Providence Mayor Al Morgan expected to be on hand to throw out the first pitch.
The Reds, who enter their eighth season as a part of the New Jersey Amateur Baseball League, have been working hard since outside practices were allowed to resume.
The ten game season features five weekends of doubleheaders, all seven inning contests. In addition to this Sunday, the Reds have home games at Oakwood Park on August 2nd and August 9th with start times to be determined.
All home games are free to attend and social distancing guidelines are expected to be followed. It is recommended the spectators should bring their own chairs when attending games. Restrooms at the park will be locked all season.
The team will have a nice mix of veterans and new faces on the roster in the summer.
Players returning to the roster this summer include Nick Sommo, who has made a name for himself playing just about any position when called upon during his Reds career. Sommo will see time at 2nd base and in the outfield this summer.
Returning to his usual staple at shortstop is Matt Nesto who always provides a solid glove in the field and a consistent bat at the top of the lineup.
Joe Randazzo returns for another season for the Reds. Randazzo provides the team with a solid option behind the dish and a powerful bat in the middle of the lineup.
Tyler DeGeorge returns for his third season with the team. DeGeorge has been a spark plug in the leadoff spot for the Reds since joining the team. He plays a solid outfield and has also provided exceptional relief pitching on the mound.
At first base Eric Martin enters his second season for the Reds. Martin, who played two years of baseball at Wesley College, was solid at first base last season in his first year with the club.
Outfield staple Ariel Melendez and pitcher Harry Cohen also return. Melendez has been solid in right field throughout his Reds career and has provided a lot of solid leadership. Cohen, who pitched locally at Drew University, has been solid for the Reds as both a starter and relief pitcher no matter when called into duty – this will be no different as Cohen will fill a variety of roles on the young pitching staff.
New faces this season include pitcher Nate Scott. Scott, a recent graduate at New Providence High School, will be attending and playing baseball at Ithaca beginning in the fall. He will be a welcome addition to the pitching staff and will also see time in the infield at 2nd base.
Chris Lowe and Ben Landis are two other newcomers who will help the team. Both players played baseball at Oratory Prep in Summit for the past four years. Landis, a solid defender behind the plate will also be attending Ithaca in the fall. Lowe, who will be attending Marist in the fall will play third base and also will be a part of the pitching staff as both a starter and reliever.
Rounding out the roster will be Zack Zareva. Zareva, a former Red, returns to the club after pitching several seasons of independent League Baseball including a 21-game stint with the 2018 Pecos League Champion Bakersfield Train Robbers.
The Reds are managed by Matt Sommo and Sal Nesto, both of New Providence and both former coaches on the college level. This season, the Reds also welcome new sponsor MGL Printing Solutions located at 154 South Street in New Providence.
As a member of the New Jersey Amateur Baseball League (NJABL) the Reds were the Metal Division Champions in 2013 and 2014 and the Intermediate Wood Division Champions in 2016. For more information on the New Providence Reds, visit their website and "like" their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @NewProvReds.