The Middlesex College baseball and softball teams have had historic success in 2022 and have received individual and team recognition on the national level for their accomplishments.
Under the direction of Coach Jim Muldowney, the Colts softball team has a record of 20-4, while Coach C.J. Mooney’s baseball team is 34-16, as of April 29.
Currently, the softball team is ranked No. 11 in the country in the latest NJCAA Division III poll, as of press time, and the baseball team has been recognized among the Top 20 in the NJCAA Division III national poll all season.
In a home game on April 24, the baseball team set a school record with their 32nd win, topping the previous mark of 31 that had stood for 20 years, according to information provided by Middlesex College.
It hasn’t been the only school record to fall this season as many individual players have set school marks. Christian Petrillo, a freshman from North Brunswick, set a school record with runs scored (64) and stolen bases (51). Petrillo’s stolen base total led the nation, as of press time. He was batting .359 on the season and has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his career at Goldey-Beacom College, an NCAA Division II school in Delaware, according to the statement.
“The success we are having on the field is a true testament to the work ethic, character, and mindset of each student-athlete within our program,” Mooney, a former Region XIX Coach of the Year who is in his ninth season at the helm of the Colts baseball program, said in the statement. “We demand a lot of time and sacrifice from our athletes. This starts with our fall semester season in September and continues through our final spring season game in May. It’s very rewarding as a coach to see all their hard work in practice, the weight room, and the classroom translate into success on the field.”
Braden Ramirez, a freshman from Middlesex Borough, has also been having a stellar season. Ramirez has set a school record for home runs (7) and RBIs (58). He was batting .369 and was the first Middlesex College baseball player to top 50 RBIs in a season, as of press time. His RBI total currently is fourth in the nation, according to the statement.
On the mound, righty Gage Bendix, a freshman from Piscataway, leads a strong Colts staff with a record of 7-0 and ERA of 3.25, as of press time.
Patrick Kannaley, a sophomore from Middlesex Borough, was 6-3 with two saves, as of press time. His five complete games are the second most for any NJCAA Division III player in the country and his 76 strikeouts stand fourth nationally and are also a new school record.
The Colts have already qualified for the Region XIX playoffs and have had a number of big wins on the season. They are 9-2 in one-run games and have scored 10 or more runs in a game 19 times.
They also traveled to Myrtle Beach to compete in the Cal Ripken Jr. Experience Tournament in which they won five of six games.
The softball team has also been enjoying a historic season.
“We have a great group of athletes who have been working very hard,” Muldowney, who is an Edison High School Athletics and New Jersey State Coaches Association Hall of Famer, said in the statement. “We have led the country in team ERA and we have been in the top 10 in team batting average all year as well. We are getting production throughout the lineup and we hope to finish strong and make a good showing in the postseason.”
The Colts started their season by winning 13 of their first 14 games on the strength of their pitching and a deep lineup that features a number of key contributors. Currently, Middlesex College is tops in the nation among NJCAA Division III colleges in team ERA at 2.05 thanks in large part to lefty hurler Kaitlynne McCarthy, a sophomore from the Port Reading section of Woodbridge. McCarthy was 13-4 with an ERA of 1.96, as of press time. Her 13 wins are the third most nationally and her ERA ranks fifth. McCarthy has been a workhorse, pitching 106.1 innings (fourth nationally) with 16 complete games (second nationally) as of press time, according to the statement.
Abigail Jason, a sophomore from Edison, currently leads the team with a .462 batting average and 28 runs scored, as of press time.
Catcher Jennah Schiraldo, a sophomore from Carteret, led the Colts with 32 hits and 27 RBIs while also providing outstanding defense behind the plate, as of press time.
Julie Davis, a sophomore from South Plainfield, Olivia Tirso, a freshman from Elizabeth, and Chloe Oblepias, a sophomore from Carteret, were all batting over .400 as well, as of press time.
Middlesex College softball was currently in second place by a half game among the 10 softball teams in Region XIX with a record of 12-3, as of press time. Their overall .814 winning percentage is tops in the region. The Colts had a nine-game winning streak earlier this season and have already qualified for the Region XIX playoffs, according to the statement.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the baseball and softball programs and what they have accomplished so far,” Director of Athletics Rocco Constantino said in the statement. “I’m not just talking about on-field accomplishments either. Coach Mooney and Coach Muldowney create a positive and fun atmosphere on their teams while also stressing academics and community service.
“There are some important games coming up and from what I have seen from our student-athletes, they’ll rise to the occasion,” he continued. “There’s fantastic collegiate softball and baseball being played right in our backyard in Middlesex County and it’s great to see the support we have received from the college administration and our community. We love seeing students from so many different Middlesex County high schools having success here.”