By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
The Harrison High School baseball team enjoyed another year of success in 2012, winning 17 games and advancing in both the Hudson County and NJSIAA North 2, Group I state playoffs.
But several members of that team have moved on thanks to graduation.
“We lost seven players to graduation,” said third-year head baseball coach Sean Dolaghan. “We lost all our starting pitchers. We had so much pitching depth last year, so it’s extremely tough to lose that many.”
Gone are standouts like Anthony Ferriero and Felipe Flores, who have both joined the pitching staff at FDUFlorham. Jairo Quintanilla and Sean Byrne have also moved on to college.
“It’s not easy replacing them,” Dolaghan admitted.
However, Dolaghan doesn’t have his head between his legs, sobbing about the upcoming season, which begins April 1 against Leonia.
“We have some good young arms that are ready to step in,” Dolaghan said.
Dolaghan is high on the potential of his young staff.
One of those young hurlers is junior Sebastian Sanchez.
“I’m looking for him to be the ace,” Dolaghan said. “He has a good fastball and a good change. He throws strikes and that’s important. He’s always in the zone and keeps the ball down.”
Sanchez missed most of last season due to a hip injury, but he’s back and healthy.
Another of the young arms is the coach’s cousin, Tom Dolaghan.
“He throws strikes as well,” the coach Dolaghan said. “He’s grown a little, got a little stronger and has more pop on his fastball. He also throws a knuckleball and it’s not bad. It has a lot of movement.”
Junior Moises Roque will also be a member of the staff.
“He might throw harder than anyone else,” Dolaghan said. “If he could just throw strikes more consistently. He has to work on that. He’s very raw, but has a lot of talent.”
Sophomore Joshua Williams is another quality hurler and the team’s lone southpaw.
“He doesn’t throw super hard, but he keeps batters off balance with his off-speed stuff,” Dolaghan said. “He has a nice changeup and throws strikes.”
Emil Zorrilla is the one that the Blue Tide pitchers will be throwing to and Zorrilla is all that and more. The senior made All-State Group I last year and batted .425.
“He can smash the ball, but he’s much better defensively,” Dolaghan said. “He’s a great defensive catcher. No one can bother to attempt to steal on him. He handles the pitchers, has a great arm and gets to the ball. He’s definitely amazing.”
The first base duties are being shared by Joshua Williams and junior Rickey Dasilveira.
At second base, Dolaghan can choose from either Kishan Patel, a junior, or promising freshman Marquis Valentin.
“Marquis can hit,” Dolaghan said. “He’s a player. He’s just a little rough around the edges.”
There will be a rotation of players at shortstop and third base, depending upon who is pitching.
Dolaghan and Roque will share shortstop duties, while Sanchez and Roque will be at third base.
“We’ll rotate them around,” Dolaghan said. “But our pitchers all hit. Roque will be our leadoff hitter and Tommy (Dolaghan) will bat second.”
Alex Ruccatano, a senior, is in left field.
Junior Adam Huseinovic remains in center field and will be the Blue Tide’s cleanup hitter.
“He’s been with the varsity since he was a freshman,” Dolaghan said. “We’re going to rely on him big time. He’s our X factor. If he has a good year, we will, too.”
The right field duties are up in the air right now, between seniors Daniel Rueda and Anthony Williams, the brother of Joshua, and Freddy Alcala and junior Justin Thomas.
Sophomore Miguel Zorrilla, the brother of Emil, will stay with the varsity and may serve as times as the designated hitter.
But Dolaghan likes the makeup of his team.
“We definitely have a good chance to be pretty good,” Dolaghan said. “We have a couple of guys who can hit the ball and our pitchers are solid. I think a lot of what we do will be defensively. But I like our chances a lot.”
The Blue Tide begins the season with Leonia on Monday, Lyndhurst on Wednesday, then independent games against Snyder of Jersey City and Science Park of Newark.