BELLEVILLE, NJ – Despite brutal weather conditions during the month of March, the Belleville High School varsity baseball team was able to get in as much training as possible during the preseason.
Though they are dealing with a few injuries, the Bucs are looking forward to having a successful season this spring.
“We were very fortunate to get in six scrimmages with the bad weather we had,” said BHS head coach Joe Sorce in an email to EssexNewsDaily.com. “Four of those six were on turf. We have made a lot of progress in March despite the rough weather.
“Unfortunately we are starting the season very banged up. Junior shortstop/third baseman Chris Amparo is out with an ankle injury, Sophomore right fielder/pitcher Anthony Liggins is out with an injury, as is junior pitcher Owen Cuevas. Senior righty Justin Klus will return from his injury on Monday (April 2). Amparo, LIggins, and Cuevas will hopefully be back around April 10.”
The Bucs, coming off a 9-18 season last spring, will open the season April 2 at home against Montclair Kimberley Academy.
The Bucs boast a solid pitching rotation.
“Junior righty Sebastian Alverio and senior righty Dan Pinedo, along with the return of Justin Klus, gives us three guys that we have confidence in at the top of our rotation,” said Sorce, noting Alverio will be the opening-day starter.
Offensively, Derek Lombardi, a junior catcher, has shown improvement.
“Derek has made great strides from last season,” said Sorce, noting Lombardi also will pitch.
Junior Brian Defreites has been playing the bulk of the innings at shortstop and working well with sophomore second baseman Jiustino Cecere, Sorce said.
“They have been a solid 1-2 punch at the top of our lineup,” added Sorce.
Junior Joe Monroig is strong defensively at first base, while freshman Kevin Arroyo has a chance to see meaningful innings on the mound, according to Sorce
Sophomore Albert Carrero brings versatility and will contribute at third base, behind the plate and on the mound.
The Bucs compete in the Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division, which is the second highest division of the conference. The other teams in the division are Verona, West Essex, Science Park, Cedar Grove, West Orange, Bloomfield, MKA, and Glen Ridge.
Following the season opener, the Bucs will visit West Orange on Wednesday, April 4, at 4 p.m.; host Science on Friday, April 6, at 4 p.m. and host Verona on Saturday, April 7,at 11 a.m.
Here is the rest of the schedule:
April 9, Glen Ridge, 4 p.m.
April 11, at Bloomfield, 4 p.m.
April 12, at Linden, 4 p.m.
April 13, Cedar Grove, 4 p.m.
April 14, at West Essex, 4 p.m.
April 16, Montclair, 4 p.m.
April 17, at Orange, 4 p.m.
April 18, at MKA, 4 p.m.
April 20, West Orange, 4 p.m.
April 21, Roselle Park, 11 a.m.
April 23, at Science Park, 4 p.m.
April 25, at Verona, 4 p.m.
April 30, Bloomfield, 7 p.m.
May 2, at New Providence, 4 p.m.
May 7, at Cedar Grove, 4 p.m.
May 9, Bloomfield Tech, 4 p.m.
May 11, at Glen Ridge, 4 p.m.
May 14, West Essex, 4 p.m.
May 15, Lodi, 7 p.m.
May 18, at Kennedy Iselin, 7 p.m.
May 22, Nutley, at Jackals Stadium, Little Falls, 7 p.m.