BJ Hough, the first-year coach of the Kittatinny Regional High School baseball team, is ready to hit the ground running this spring.
With a team filled with varsity-tested student athletes, as well as those who are willing to do what it takes to make a positive impact at the varsity level for the first time, the Cougars could find their fair share of success on the field this season.
They are scheduled to host Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Colonial Division opponent Hopatcong on April 13.
“We are hoping to be competitive throughout the season,’’ Hough said.
Among the key returning varsity players are seniors Jackson Choma (pitcher), Anthony DeFalco (pitcher and outfielder), Louie Diani (utility player), Ryan Pensado (outfielder), Aidan Sajdak (second base, Second Team Colonial Division, .333 batting average and 24 hits in 2022) and Aidan Van Hook (catcher and first base); juniors Tyler Chodack (third base and pitcher, First Team Colonial Division, .403 batting average, 31 hits and 22 RBIs in 2022), Evan Rodriguez (short stop, Second Team Colonial Division, .357 batting average, 25 hits and 22 runs scored in 2022) and Brady Strong (first base); and sophomore Eddie Deckert (pitcher and outfielder, 42 strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched in 2022).
Newcomers hoping the make their presence felt on the varsity roster include juniors Cole Davis (outfielder and pitcher) and Tucker Lockburner (pitcher); sophomores Preston Gratcofsky (utility player), Jackson Hughes (utility player), Aiden McClain (utility player), Sebastian Orrico (outfielder and pitcher) and Paul Trotter (catcher); and freshmen Gage Ingalls (utility player) and Aiden Prtorich (pitcher and catcher).
“Our six seniors will need to provide and show strong leadership qualities for us to be successful,’’ the coach said. “The qualities I hope they can provide will allow our younger players to feel comfortable and contribute.’’
The Cougars posted nine overall victories and they were 6-4 as third-place finishers in the Colonial Division last season. Wallkill Valley won the Colonial Division crown with a 10-0 league record.
Kittatinny advanced to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North 1 Group 1 sectional tournament, where the team was defeated by Hawthorne last spring.
The Cougars compete in the Colonial Division along with Morris Tech, Sussex Tech, North Warren, Lenape Valley and Hopatcong.
“We would like to be competitive in each of our division games,’’ Hough said. “There are some good coaches who have some solid players in the Colonial Division. The division is pretty much up for grabs.’’
Our six seniors will need to provide and show strong leadership qualities for us to be successful. The qualities I hope they can provide will allow our younger players to feel comfortable and contribute.’’ - BJ Hough, baseball coach, Kittatinny Regional High School