BLOOMFIELD, NJ - With the March Nor’easters wiping out most pre-season scrimmages across the state, Bloomfield High School Varsity Baseball and Softball teams are hoping to get off to fast starts with regular season action beginning in a few days.
The Bengals baseball team, under head coach and BHS graduate Michael Policastro, sees almost their entire squad return to the diamond for the 2018 campaign. Last year, the young team of underclassmen finished with an overall record of 6-21, and a league record of 3-13.
Policastro, entering his 12th
season as head coach, sees his team led once again by senior standout Emmanuel Corporan, a three-year varsity starter who has committed to play college ball next year at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck.
Corporan is a right-handed pitcher who stands an impressive 6'4" tall and weighs 220 pounds. Last year in his junior season, he had a 2.51 ERA, only giving up 31 hits in 47 innings.
“His stats should read even better but he was the recipient of some tough luck with our offense not giving him much run support,” Policastro said. “After hitting the weight-room during the off season and putting on some good size, his fastball now tops out at around 87 MPH.”
Corporan will be joined by no less than nine other returnees from last season, with only Danny Carter lost to graduation. Other key members of the starting rotation include senior southpaw Eddie Abplanalp, senior righty Dylan Piacenza, and Kyle DiMatteo, a junior right-hander.
Bloomfield begins the season with an away conference game at Verona on Monday, April 2, 4:00 pm. Action continues that week on Wednesday, April 4 at Glen Ridge, then home games on Friday, April 6 against East Side, and Saturday, April 7 against Cedar Grove.
“I want to lead my team to the State Championship,” Corporan said. “We’ve all worked hard this off season and I’m very excited to see what’s in store for us this season.”
Competition for the Bengals in the Super Essex Conference - Liberty Division comprises of Belleville, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Science Park, Verona, West Essex and West Orange. Liberty is the second highest division in the SEC. Last year saw them play in the American Division.
Meanwhile the Bengals girls softball team, with school alum Robert Mayer at the helm since 1989, look to continue the solid momentum they picked up at the close of 2017 season.
Mayer, who was inducted into the Bloomfield High School Hall of Fame last April, won his 500th career game in May 2016. That made him just the third coach in the history of Essex County high school softball to do so at the time. Lorenzo Sozio of rival Mount St. Dominic, also a Bloomfield High graduate, won his 500th game a week after Mayer's feat.
In 2015, Mayer was inducted into the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He’s led the Bengalis to multiple Essex County Tournament championships, as well as conference and state sectional titles. This year marks his 30th season as BHS coach.
Last year, Bloomfield notched a 17-11 record, finishing in the middle of the pack of their division. The team saw seven players earn All-Super Essex Conference Liberty Division honors.
They concluded 2017 on a high note, taking Mount St. Dominic to extra innings in the semifinals of the Essex County Tournament. The young team then beat Ridgewood in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 quarterfinals before losing by one run to Morris Knolls in 10 innings in the semifinals.
Five of the seven All-SEC division players return this season, including Kristina Collins, Ayana Andrade-Zygmunt, Lexi Corio, Jamell Quiles and Rachel Jones.
Collins, a senior centerfielder, batted .438 and led the team with 42 hits, 12 doubles and 32 runs scored. Senior second baseman Andrade-Zygmunt hit .338 with 18 RBI’s and 26 runs. Quiles, a sophomore third baseman, hit .326 with 25 RBI’s. On the mound, Corio, now a sophomore, posted a 15-8 record with a 2.40 ERA.
The season begins this Thursday, March 29 with an away non-conference game at Bayonne. Play then resumes Tuesday, April 3 at Fort Lee, Wednesday, April 4 at Livingston, and Friday, April 6 at Verona. The first home contest is slated for Monday, April 9 against West Essex.
The Bengals have moved up to the top of the Super Essex Conference in the American Division, where stiff opposition includes Cedar Grove, Livingston, Mount St. Dominic Academy, Nutley, Verona and West Essex.