Play ball! Bloomfield HS baseball team seeks fine season

Senior-laden Bengals boast quality pitching corps; 2019 campaign begins April 1 at Cedar Grove

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BLOOMFIELD, NJ – The Bloomfield High School varsity baseball team boasts a senior-laden roster, looking to continue making strides this season.

The Bengals will open the season April 1 at Cedar Grove.

Under longtime head coach Mike Policastro, the Bengals have 16 seniors.

The returning starters from last year’s 12-12 team are junior shortstop Vinny Torrisi; senior co-captain and right fielder Kyle Tice; and senior first baseman Rob Reboa.

BHS has several players vying for playing time.

Senior co-captain Guillermo Gonzalez will man third base.

The second base position is a battle between senior Jon Guglielmino, senior Robert Gilmore, junior Brandon Estelle, junior Christian Parisi and freshman Liam Hempstead.

The outfield also features several candidates. They include seniors Anthony Russo, Jon Gonzalez, Jesus Mendoza,  Fernando Breijo, Kyle DiMatteo, Anthony Rosamilia, and Jalen Spence; junior Jordan Mosley, Parisi; and freshman Nico Ong.

The catching position is a battle between five players: senior Willie Gonzalez, junior Xavier Nieves, sophomore Jacob Munoz, sophomore transfer Dillon Jennings from Cedar Grove, and  Ong.

Jennings will have to sit 30 days per the state transfer rule and will be eligible May 1.

“There are many position battles going on at this time and we have only been able to get outside for two days so far,” said Policastro in a March 13 email to The Independent Press. “We have a long road ahead, before we pick starters, ect.”

Policastro said the team’s pitching should be a strength. BHS returns Gilmore, who was 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA last year, and will be  the team’s ace. DiMatteo went 2-2 last year and will be returning to the rotation for the third year in a row, while Darmany Rivas saw some time on the mound last season and has stepped up. Rivas appears to be the team’s No. 3 starting pitcher.

Policastro said the team has several pitchers looking to fill the No. 4 spot in the rotation. They include Tice, Breijo, senior Ryan Alvarez, Guillermo Gonzalez, senior Kamran Khan, junior  Jason Torres, junior Hilbert Nina Deleon, Parisi, and sophomore Andre Dean.

The Bengals last week were hoping for warmer weather in an effort to train outdoors more frequently.

Policastro cited key factors that will help determine the team’s fortunes.

“Only time will tell how good we can be, but it starts with the pitching,” said Policastro, a 1989 BHS graduate who has been at the helm since 2007. “We need to do the little things that will help us win games, mainly getting bunts down, moving guys over, having quality at-bats.”

NOTES – Following graduation, Policastro played at Fairleigh Dickinson University from 1990-93. He was inducted into the FDU Hall of Fame in 2016. A first baseman, Policastro had a career  .342 batting average that ranks eighth in program history, along with 118 RBIs and 101 runs scored. He also had 38 doubles and 25 homers in his career, which rank No. 8 and No. 3 respectively in program history.

In his junior year, he had a .404 batting average with nine home runs and 44 RBIs, while

hiting 14 doubles to earn his second of three All-Northeast Conference selections. Policastro signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent.

BHS schedule

April 1, at Cedar Grove, 4 p.m.

April 3, Verona, 4 p.m.

April 5, Nutley, 4 p.m.

April 6, Lyndhurst, 10 a.m.

April 8, at Newark Academy, 4 p.m.

April 10, Caldwell, 4 p.m.

April 11, Montclair Kimberley Academy, 4 p.m.

April 13, at Bayonne, 7 p.m.

April 15, at West Orange, 4 p.m.

April 17, Cedar Grove, 4 p.m.

April 18, at East Side, 4 p.m.

April 20, Old Tappan, noon

April 22, at Verona, 4 p.m.

April 24, Glen Ridge, 7 p.m.

April 26, at Millburn, 4 p.m.

April 27, South Plainfield, 7 p.m.

April 29, Newark Academy, 4 p.m.

April 30, at Mendham, 4 p.m.

May 1, at Belleville, 7 p.m.

May 6, at Caldwell, 4 p.m.

May 7, Morris Knolls, 4 p.m.

May 13, at Montclair Kimberley Academy, 4 p.m.

May 15, West Orange, 4 p.m.

May 16, Roxbury, 4 p.m.

May 17, at Wayne Valley, 4 p.m.