Montclair’s summer goal: improve baseball fundamentals – NorthJersey.com
Montclair High baseball has some reloading to do with the graduation of top seniors who had been a big part of the program the past four years. However, there is plenty of youthful talent on hand to continue putting in the necessary work this summer while eyeing a bright future for the Mountie diamond squad.
“We are a team in transition,” said MHS co-head coach Ron Gavazzi. “Players returning in the program and baseball players entering the high school are all collectively great kids!
“They do what is right, they focus on their academics, and they love baseball. All of them have given this program a great opportunity. It allows us coaches to be the best versions of ourselves, which in turn allows us to get the most out of them in regards to reaching their full potential.
“As a coaching staff we are so excited about every kid that is in the program. That speaks volumes for their character.”
MHS finished 13-15 but played everyone to a highly competitive level, including reaching the semifinals of the Greater Newark Tournament, and the program continues to thrive under the tutelage of Gavazzi, longtime right-hand man and co-head coach Anthony Genchi and a solid group of veteran assistants.
As the summer gets into full developmental mode, basics of the game will continue to be emphasized as there is also more time to hone certain skills and work on other areas of one’s game.
“Our main goals are to improve our fundamentals,” stressed Gavazzi. “Baseball is a game that requires countless hours of practice and we are looking forward to putting in the time that is needed. Also, we want to compete harder against the game and understand the tactical and schematic aspects of the game so we can process situation quicker so we can perform better.
“We will continue our strength and conditioning program. Lastly, we want to have fun and enjoy each other as we build on all of our relationships.”
All the different age groups will remain active league-wise with a very strong Montclair-oriented direction to the summer diamond happenings.
“We currently have six teams playing from the seventh to 11th grade,” continued Gavazzi. “Most of our teams are running through the Montclair Baseball Club, headed by president John Burke, who has been an outstanding leader. He has been a pleasure to work for and with. He is a true professional, and is 100 percent in it for the kids. I admire his work ethic and commitment.”
Among the key youngsters who MHS will look to next spring is sophomore outfielder Kyle Miller, who was selected to play in Monday’s (June 19) Essex-Union Underclassmen All-Star Game at Kean University’s Jim Hynes Stadium.
He batted a solid .375 (30-for-80) with 19 runs and nine sacrifices as a leadoff or No. 2 hitter in the lineup for the Mounties.
Other key underclassmen due back in 2018 are junior second baseman Danny Banks and sophomores Conor McGrath (pitcher-shortstop), Evan Chaladoff (pitcher-outfielder-DH), Clyde Hunter (catcher) and Alex Borelli (infield).
Among the graduating MHS seniors who shined in 2017 were outfielder John Lewis II, who batted .400 with six doubles, two triples, a home run and .633 slugging percentage. He also committed just one error.
The grandson of the late, great Mountie star Aubrey Lewis will play both football and baseball at Wesleyan. He also recently played for the East in the 24th annual Paul Robeson East-West All-Star Football Classic.
First baseman Dylan Wright (.325 BA, seven doubles, two triples, a homer, team-leading 26 RBI and 18 walks) and pitcher Henry Brooks were among the other top graduating seniors this past spring for the Mounties.