LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston High School baseball team will open its season Monday at home on the Livingston Memorial Oval against Newark Academy.
It would mark a triumphant day, win or lose, after the early days of the pandemic wiped out the entire 2020 spring season for all high school sports.
"Like most teams who lost the 2020 season, we are a work in progress," said veteran Livingston head coach Mickey Ennis.
The Super Essex Conference schedule than the Lancers play tends to be pretty unforgiving, but Livingston has also been a tough opponent for plenty of Essex County foes, too, in recent seasons.
"We are looking for leadership from a heavy senior group," said Ennis. "The lineup is well-balanced."
Senior Robert Sayle, a utility man who will play somewhere in the outfield or infield when he isn't pitching, is planning to continue playing baseball at Ramapo College. Sayle saw extensive varsity action as a sophomore in 2019 and batted .333 for Livingston, which had a 14-10 record two years ago.
Senior shortstop David Cotugno--the quarterback on the Livingston football team the last two autumns--is the other Lancer with significant varsity experience. He had seven runs batted in (RBI) in 38 at-bats as a sophomore.
Additional seniors expected to play big roles this season include first baseman Mike Ilaria, infielder/pitcher Nick Murray, catcher Chandler Powers and outfielders Chris Battista, Anthony Barbella and Vince Napolitano.
"We have decent team speed," said Ennis. "The keys will be pitching and defense."
Sayle and Murray are certain to take turns on the mound for a pitching staff that Ennis is still in the process of figuring out. Sayle, who pitched 11 1/3 innings two seasons ago, is the only Lancer who has ever thrown a varsity pitch. Juniors Brandon Kenney and Ben Hauser are other pitchers likely to get quite a few innings, with sophomores Jon DePalma and Daniel Levin also possibly in the mound mix.
DePalma also plays middle infield and Levin can play third base. Another sophomore being considered for a varsity role is catcher Myles Seid.
It won't take long for Livingston to face a real test, as the Lancers will follow their Monday opener against Newark Academy with a road game against traditional power Millburn on Wednesday. The first weekend of the regular season, Livingston will be participating in the Autism Awareness Tourney, playing Gill-St. Bernard's on Sunday, April 25 in North Brunswick.
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