Three locals earn berths on state All-Star team



Although he’s already signed his national letter of intent to attend Rutgers in the fall, Anthony Condito didn’t think he was qualified for the New Jersey High School Baseball Coaches Association’s All-Star Classic.

“I didn’t think I had a good year,” said the slugging Nutley outfielder, who deserves his place among the state’s top 100 players, who were scheduled to convene at Diamond Nation in Flemington Tuesday for the annual All-Star get-together.

“I was actually surprised I was picked,” said Condito, who batted .436 with eight homers and 33 RBI for the 20-10 Maroon Raiders. “It’s definitely a good way for me to end my high school career. It was something that I was looking forward to.”

The Maroon Raiders made it to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group III semifinals before falling to Cranford.

Condito was one of three local players to be selected for the game.

Dylan Walicky of Belleville was also picked for the North 2 All-Star team like Condito.

Corey Sawyer of Kearny was picked for the North 1 All-Star team, giving the area three honorees, definitely the strongest contingent of local athletes in quite some time.

Walicky, the slugging first baseman headed to Eastern University in Pennsylvania in the fall, batted .415 with two homers and 17 RBI for the Buccaneers.

Walicky pointed out that it’s usually difficult for a player from a losing team to get selected. Belleville posted a 3-21 record this spring.

“I kind of thought my career was over,” said Walicky, whose twin brother Dustin played with him. “I never thought I had a chance of making the All-Star team, especially coming from a team with a losing record. I never thought it was possible.”

Walicky’s brother is headed to Caldwell University to play, so it means that the twins will be separated in the fall.

“It’s kind of tough to be away from him, because we spent our entire lives together,” Dylan Walicky said. “But maybe this is the best, because we do have to learn to live our lives on our own.”

Walicky said that he is playing for a lot of pride.

“I’m playing for my team,” Walicky said. “It’s more for Belleville, more for the school and the team than it is for myself. I want to show everyone what I can do.”

Walicky said he is also grateful to be getting the opportunity to play college baseball.

“I met a lot of high school baseball players who never get a chance to play in college,” Walicky said. “I think of that a lot. I’m just grateful and want to see how it all goes.”

Sawyer, who pitched to an 8-3 record and a 1.60 earned run average, had three games of 10 or more strikeouts this season. He’s already signed to attend Seton Hall in the fall.

“I feel honored to be selected to the game,” Sawyer said. “I’m getting the chance to represent Kearny one more time.”
Sawyer also thought his high school career was over.

“I didn’t know I was going to get selected, so I thought I was through,” Sawyer said. “I’m just going there to have some fun and pitch like I did the whole season. I think it’s going to be cool, something I’ll always remember. I’m representing the whole town of Kearny.”

Condito will play in the Bridge League with Ocean and Monmouth County players beginning June 25.

“Being a part of this is really special,” Condito said. “I get to represent Nutley one more time, put that jersey on one more time. It means a lot because I know New Jersey has a lot of baseball talent.”

And three of those talented players are from our own backyard.

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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”