Wayne Hills Baseball Season Review


By Jack Woodard, Sports Editor

The WHHS baseball team lost to the Northern Highlands Highlanders on May 21 to bring a close to their season.  The Patriots have nothing to hang their heads over, however, as the boys were resilient all year and put together a great season in Coach Illiano’s second year.  The Patriots finished with an overall record of 15-7.  The team was led by seniors Louis D’agati, John McConeghy, Jason Sanfilippo, and Mike Disteso.  Junior A.J. Losito was a stud on the mound this year and sophomore Dean Imparato chipped in to add big hits as well.

The season started with an opening day loss before the Patriots won 9 straight games in an absolutely dominant run, outscoring their opponents 81-29 in that stretch.   The team earned the number 1 seed in the Passaic County Tournament and received a first round bye.  WHHS would be facing Passaic Valley in their first game.  The Patriots had already played the Hornets twice this year, splitting the meetings, but this game was the biggest one yet.  The game was an amazing game to watch, if you’re a fan of defense.  The Patriots came out on the wrong end of a 2-0 final.  The players were disheartened as they knew they were the number 1 seed and had the ability to go farther.  This group did not hang their heads, however, as they knew the NJSIAA State Tournament was coming up.

The tournament WHHS plays in is the Public Group 3 tournament and it is split into four brackets.  Each bracket is a section (North 1, North 2, Central, and South).  There are 16 teams in each bracket.  The style is like the NCAA tournament for basketball as the teams advance and eventually make the Final Four and championship.  WHHS received a 4 seed in the North 1 section and would be facing off against the 13 seed Northern Highlands.  The Patriots battled through another pitchers’ duel and took a 2-1 lead into the 7th inning but could not hold on.  The Patriots ended up losing by a score of 4-2.  This loss was a heartbreaker but overall it was a very successful season for WHHS.

“I’m sad to see our seniors go, we had a great group of guys this year that worked hard and played together as a team.  We managed to win a lot of games, but struggled in the most important tournament games.  Overall, it was a successful season and we’re really excited for next year’s team with some great returning players and we have the potential to build on this season with an even more successful one, thanks to Coach Illiano’s system,” said junior catcher Justin Reicher when I caught up with him.  The returning players will include players with Varsity experience like A.J. Losito, Christian Puntolillo, Justin Reicher and Dom Casamssina.  Reicher also mentioned that he is excited and expects Dean Imparato and Jacob Hogan to play well next year also.

The Patriots may not have got the ending they wanted but it was a great season for our boys in maroon and white and we have more to look forward to next year.