By Warren Rappleyea
Sayreville War Memorial High School’s baseball team will have a decidedly young look this spring, but the Bombers, nevertheless, have a group of talented players.
Last season, the Blue and Gray went 12-13. Much of the starting lineup from that team, along with its two top pitchers, Pete Soporowski and Connor Johnson, have graduated. Only three starters remain: outfielder/pitcher Jayson DeMild and shortstop Joe Pollomene, both seniors, and junior catcher Kyle Richards.
DeMild, who will also play first base, could be a key cog in the Bombers offense. After suffering a broken leg during the 2015 football season, DeMild never really got going at the plate last year after leading the team in RBIs as a sophomore. He did post a 2-2 mark on the mound in 18.2 innings.
“Jay can be a leader for us,” Sayreville coach Mike Novak said. “He led the football team to a state championship, and he was part of our basketball team’s good run. I’m hoping he can help carry that winning attitude over to our team.”
Pollomene is coming off a .275 season with a .462 on-base percentage. He spent most of last spring as the Bombers’ second baseman but did play several games at shortstop. Richards took over the catching duties a year ago, and Novak said the junior proved to be a valuable defensive backstop with leadership capabilities who works well with pitchers. Richards batted .257 with five RBIs, and more will be expected with a full varsity season under his belt.
Also back is pitcher Kyle Lewis, who showed plenty of potential last spring. The junior turned in a 2-3 mark with a 3.72 ERA in 26.2 innings of work. Novak expects the left-hander to be the ace of the Bombers’ staff.
Other pitchers include senior Brian Cuadra, juniors Cameron Carey and Nick Miliano, and sophomores Christian Aich, Kunal Vani and Jake Dougherty, who transferred from Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen.
DeMild and junior lefty Drew Zimmerman are the first baseman with Vani and junior Anthony Gambardella competing across the diamond for the third base job. Juniors Anthony Schiena and Tommy Ruck and sophomore Ryan Casano are in the mix at second base. Sophomores Ethan Calcano and Danny McDonnell provide depth behind the plate.
Juniors Tyler Barrierro and Bryan Fernandez and sophomore Dylan McTonic are outfield options for Novak. DeMild and Zimmerman are both likely to see time in the outfield as well.
“I’m not anywhere near having a lineup for opening day,” said Novak, whose team will start the season with a non-divisional game April 1 at Bishop George Ahr High School. “It’s been so tough with the weather. The first week, we were outside a little bit, but we’ve only been on the field once, otherwise we’ve been in the gym or on the turf. Once we get a few scrimmages in, we’ll have a much better idea of where we are.
Sayreville will open Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) White Division play at South Plainfield High School April 3 in the first of a home-and-home series, which concludes the following day.