Augello named new Hillsborough High School varsity baseball coach

The Hillsborough High School baseball team comes out to home plate to congratulate teammate Ryan Hvozdovic for hitting a home run during last summer's Last Dance World Series. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
×
The Hillsborough High School baseball team comes out to home plate to congratulate teammate Ryan Hvozdovic for hitting a home run during last summer's Last Dance World Series. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

HILLSBOROUGH – Thomas Augello was officially approved at the Hillsborough Township Board of Education meeting on March 8 to become the new coach of the Hillsborough High School varsity baseball team.

A fifth grade teacher in the Hillsborough Township Public Schools the last three years, Augello brings a lot of experience from coaching baseball at the amateur level around the state and was the varsity baseball coach at Hillside High School.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of a top program,” Augello said about being named the new Hillsborough High School varsity baseball coach.

“It’s a great feeling. I’m really excited to get out there and start the season.”

This will be Augello’s first official season with the Raiders. He was scheduled to be the coach of the program’s freshman squad last spring, but that was derailed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Augello takes over for Eric Eden, who had been the head coach of the Raiders since 2014.

Eden is a graduate of Hillsborough High School and after playing baseball professionally, came back to his old stomping grounds to be part of the program again in 2012.

He helped lead Hillsborough to its second straight Somerset County Tournament title in 2014.

Eden was named Skyland Conference Coach of The Year for his efforts during his last full season at the helm in 2019, paving the way towards the Raiders going 16-6 and winning the conference’s Delaware Division crown.

The Hillsborough native stepped down from his post at the beginning of 2021 after taking a new position as an account manager at a local vitamin company.

Eden said his new job would make it difficult for him to fulfill his coaching duties to the fullest and that the best decision for his family and the program was for him to step away to let someone else take over the coaching duties.

“It’s a tough decision but it’s what’s best for my family,” Eden said. “I really appreciate all the support from the players and their parents since I made my decision. Every year I had an outstanding group of young men. I’m honored to have been a head coach of this program.”

Eden believes the program is in good hands with Augello and said he will continue to work with the program and the township’s Hillsborough Baseball League in his spare time.

Augello added that Eden has been “phenomenal” in the coaching transition and has helped him get everything set up for the Raiders to have a successful season this spring.

The Raiders have a good core group of talented players that will lead the way for them this spring in junior Ryan Hvozdovic and seniors Luke Crawford, Jayden Bloch, and Vinny Versaci.

Augello said the team will lean on the leadership of those players to begin the season with the rest of the roster being less experienced at the varsity level and losing a season of high school baseball last year due to COVID-19.

Having no spring season on the diamond last year really has “pumped up” the excitement of the players and coaches going into this season, said Augello.

From team Zoom meetings to offseason workouts, Augello knows his players are excited for the opportunity to get back on the diamond this spring.

“There’s a lot of excitement going into this season for both the players and coaches,” Augello said. “You can see how pumped up the kids are during our Zoom meetings and when they send in a videotape of them hitting and throwing to our coaches to help them with their swinging and pitching mechanics. It’s been a good start so far.”

Pitchers and catchers will start practices on March 26. The first full-team practice will commence on April 1.

Hillsborough is scheduled to open up the season on April 20 against Montgomery High School.