ORANGE, NJ – The Orange High School Tornadoes baseball team got a taste of championship success for the first time in a decade last year with a 2018 co-division championship, and the momentum has already trickled into this season.
“We’re excited for the year,” said head coach Wally Boyett (75-91). “We did a little winning last year, so guys really believe we can win this year.”
Orange competes in a reconfigured Super Essex Conference-Independence division, which features the likes of Science Park, Newark Tech, Shabazz and East Orange among others.
“We don’t feel a difference between us and the other teams,” said Boyett. “Everyone has pitching, everyone has guys. There’s no room for letdowns in our division; a couple of bad losses and you’re sitting in fourth place.”
The Tornadoes will rely a lot on junior ace pitcher/infielder David Johnson-Guzman. Johnson-Guzman hit .317 last year (.374 division) with 19 hits, 25 runs and 16 RBI. As a pitcher, he was 3-0 with a 2.72 ERA in the division. “He’s still young and he needs to be more consistent,” Boyett said. “But in my opinion, he’s a really talented player who can pitch and hit as well as anybody.”
Key returning players include junior shortstop/catcher Anthony Ozoria (.297, 19 hits, 31 runs); junior centerfielder Devon McKay (.281, 16 hits, 22 runs) and junior pitcher/first baseman Ryan Delgado (3-1 with 34 strikeouts). “These three players gained a lot of experience at the varsity level last year and we expect their development to continue,” said Boyett.
Also returning are junior outfielder/pitcher Steve Lazarre; junior third baseman Randy Crisostomo and senior outfielder Edrich Collin. Newcomers include senior outfielders Kenos Jean Charles and John Zuniga; junior pitcher/catcher Carfred Rodriguez; junior infielder Jarred Collins, sophomore infielder Joey Khoury and freshmen infielder/pitcher Eczequiel Mosquea and infielder Oscar Ramirez.
Boyett said he sees something different in this year’s team and he’s excited to see what happens on the field. “Our guys are more accountable and committed this year,” said Boyett.
In addition to Boyett, the Tornadoes coaching staff includes assistants Jorge Rodriguez and John Boykin.
Orange opens the 2019 season at home Monday, April 1 at 4 p.m. against East Orange Campus.
Orange and East Orange Campus shared the divisision title last season.
They also will meet in their annual Unity Cup Game on April 17 at EOCHS.
Photos by Steve Ellmore