SUMMIT, NJ - Good hitting coaches -- and metaphor-using business consultants and life coaches, for that matter -- are frequently saying, 'Keep your eye on the ball'.
For faithful of the Maroon & White, that directive this spring can be expanded to, 'Keep your eye on Summit Varsity Baseball,' as the Hilltoppers return a solid, senior-centric nucleus looking to build on the team's 2016 success.
The combinations of experience and young talent along with pitching and hitting prowess, bolstered by a sound defense, means it should be bright season at Memorial Field.
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Summit is coming off a 14-11 record last season, with losses to a top-notch Westfield nine in the Union County Tournament and a narrow defeat to South Plainfield in the State Sectional tournament.
The Hilltoppers' talented returning core includes senior captains Matt Murdock -- who batted .370 and led the team in hits, walks earned and runs batted in (RBI) last season -- and Grant Douglas -- who hit at a .362 clip and smacked a team-leading 11 doubles -- along with junior captain Andrew Miller, who hit .310 and was second on the team in doubles with seven.
Pitching looks to be a potential strength for Summit, as seniors Will Schaeffer -- who posted a stingy 2.71 earned runs average (ERA) and 'K'd' 38 batters -- Matt Mormile -- who compiled a 1.38 ERA in more than 20 innings pitched -- and Ben Lim -- owner of a 1.47 ERA and who fanned 26 opposing batters -- all return. Senior catcher Owen Wilkins, as well as outfielder David Medina and second baseman Kunal Sengupta will provide great defense and power to the team.
Junior pitcher Patrick Smolyn and his classmates Miles Dewald and Greg Vlass look to contribute to the team’s offensive and defensive success.
Newcomers like Sophomores Matt Reddy, Trevor Mutolo, Justin Weiss, and Mike Competiello look to bring a fresh, exciting feel to the team with their talent and commitment.
As is becoming the norm for many Summit teams a very tough schedule awaits, with teams like Union County runner up Scotch Plains Fanwood, Westfield, North 2 Group 3 champions Cranford, and reigning Union County champs, Governor Livingston, all on the slate.
"With much of our lineup returning, we hope to be strong offensively," said Head Coach Kevin Zaleski. Leading the way should be Captains Matt Murdock, Grant Douglas, and Hunter Miller. We will need Will Schaffer and Ben Lim to bolster the top of our rotation and other pitchers to step-up for us, as we lost over 80 innings from our graduating class. We have a tough schedule and I am confident if we play to our capabilities, we should be a very competitive team.
Summit opens its season with a five-game 'homestand' beginning April 1 versus AL Johnson at Memorial Field. First pitch is at 12 p.m.
2017 Summit High School Varsity Baseball Team
Grant Douglas #7 - Senior - First Base / Pitcher
Ben Lim #33 - Senior - Third Base / Pitcher
David Medina #29 - Senior - First Base / Pitcher
Matt Mormile #14 - Senior - Outfield (OF) / Pitcher
Matt Murdock #6 - Senior - OF / Pitcher
Will Schaffer #3 - Senior - First Base / Pitcher
Kunal Sengupta #1 - Senior - Pitcher
Owen Wilkins #21 - Senior - Catcher
Anthony Cusumano #5 - Junior - Infield / Pitcher
Miles Dewald #12 - Junior - Catcher
Andrew Miller #8 - Junior - OF / Pitcher
Pat Smolyn #17 - Junior - OF / Pitcher
Greg Vlass #15 - Junior - Second Base
Trevor Mutolo #24 - Sophomore - OF / Pitcher
Matt Reddy #18 - Sophomore - Shortstop / Pitcher
Justin Weiss #32 - Sophomore - Catcher
Mike Competiello #35 - Sophomore - Infield / Pitcher
Head Coach - Kevin Zaleski, 11th year
Assistant Coach - Jon Hornung
Assistant Coach - Bob LoDolce
JV Coach - Will Hannis
Freshman Coach - Kevin Sirkin
2017 Regular Season Schedule
Home Games in BOLD - played at Memorial Park
Apr. 1 @ 12 p.m. v. Arthur L. Johnson
Apr. 3 @ 4 p.m. v. Watchung Hills Regional
Apr. 4 @ 4 p.m. v. Union Catholic Regional
Apr. 7 @ 4 p.m. v. Plainfield
Apr. 8 @ 2:30 p.m. v. Linden
Apr. 11 @ 4 p.m. @ New Providence
Apr. 12 @ 4 p.m. @ Rahway
Apr.. 13 @ 4 p.m. @ Governor Livingston
Apr. 18 @ 4 p.m. v. Cranford
Apr. 19 @ 4 p.m. v. Hanover Park
Apr. 20 @ 4 p.m. v. Hudson Catholic
Apr. 22 - Union County Tournament @ 4 p.m., Opponent / Site TBA
Apr. 25 @ 4 p.m. @ Arthur L. Johnson
Apr. 27 @ 4 p.m. @ Union Catholic Regional
Apr. 29 - Union County Tournament @ 9 a.m., Opponent / Site TBA
May 2 @ 4 p.m. @ Elizabeth
May 3 - Union County Tournament @ Time TBA, Opponent / Site TBA,
May 5 @ 4:15 p.m. v. Pingry
May 6 - Union County Tournament @ 9 a.m., Opponent / Site
May 7 @ 11 a.m. @ Parsippany
May 8 @ 4 p.m. @ Bernards
May 9 @ 4 p.m. @ Linden
May 11 @ 4 p.m. v. Westfield
May 13 - Union County Tournament Championship @ 11 a.m. @ Union High School
May 15 @ 7 p.m. v. Oratory Prep
May 17 @ 4 p.m. @ Scotch Plains-Fanwood
May 18 @ 4 p.m. v. New Providence
TAPinto Summit's Kyle Standing is a Summit High School sophomore.