All is back to normal for the Jackson Memorial High School baseball team.
After two season when the Jaguars finished with records below .500, Jackson Memorial returned to its winning ways this spring.
Jackson Memorial won the South Jersey, Group 4 state sectional tournament and advanced to the Group 4 semifinals when its season came to an end with a 3-1 defeat to Hunterdon Central Regional High School on June 5 at Rider University in Lawrenceville.
The setback left Jackson Memorial with a 25-7 record.
Jackson Memorial coach Frank Malta reflected on his players and the 2018 season.
“First off, we had a great group of seniors that led the way for us,” Malta said. “Our last two years here did not go that well. They led the way for us and showed the younger guys how to play. We had a few juniors and like six sophomores in the rotation as well, so they got to get some big game experience this year. So, that’s the positives.”
Malta loved that the team embraced trying to rebuild a strong Jackson Memorial tradition. The Jags had won 20-plus games every year from 2008 to 2015, except in 2013 where they went 15-3. In 2016 and 2017, the Jags sufferd losing seasons and didn’t make dents in the postseason tournaments.
“I think one of our big things this year was rebuilding our chain,” Malta said. “From like 2007 to 2015, we won a lot of games. So, we wanted to get back to that. So, now, we’re telling the younger guys that it’s their time now. The seniors showed you the way, now it’s your turn. We had a fun group. A lot of characters, and a lot of great personalities. We had something great with these group of kids. They really got it and played the right way. Didn’t want the season to end. Even if we kept winning, eventually, the season would have ended, and that would have stunk. That’s how great this group was.”
Besides losing a bunch of seniors, Malta is excited about the young talent he has coming back next year, stating that they will be ready to continue the rebuilt tradition of winning.
“There’s a lot of them,” Malta said. “Carmine Petosa first baseman. He’s a verbal to Wake Forrest [University] already. So, looking forward to seeing him next year and his progress. Outfielder Alex Iadisernia will be a senior and is committed to Elon [University]. Ryan Lasko is a center fielder and he has a lot of upside and ability. Jake Wendell is our third baseman. He’ll be a junior and I want to see him develop his power. He’s already a great hitter, so it’s going to be fun watching him the next two years as well.”