UNION – It was not a memorable season for the Kearny High School baseball team. The Kardinals uncharacteristically won only six games.
Usually, teams that win six games don’t get recognized for any postseason All-Star teams or games.
But David Duran was fortunate enough to get the chance to play in last Saturday’s New Jersey Quad-County Underclassmen All-Star Game at Kean University.
The Kardinal standout infielder, who was also a fine wrestler in the winter, was selected to play with the Hudson County All-Star team, with the best underclass performers in the county.
“I didn’t know I’d be in an All-Star game,” Duran said. “Honestly, I was really excited to play in the game.”
Duran played four innings at second base and got two at-bats in the Hudson County 13-2 victory over the Essex County All-Stars.
“It was great,” Duran said. “It felt good to win. I wish I could have gotten more of my teammates to play with me. But I was happy to represent Kearny.”
Duran said that it was fun to play on a team with guys that he played against all season long.
“I’ve played with practically all of them,” said Duran, who plays travel baseball with the West New York Tigers, a team that features a lot of the Hudson County All-Stars. “I’m close with practically all of them.”
Duran plays all summer and fall with the Tigers.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Duran said.
Duran said that he was a little apprehensive about the All-Star game.
“I was a little bit nervous,” Duran said. “But then I started taking infield (practice) and it went away. I then felt comfortable.”
While Duran was on the victorious side, three members from Nutley High School were on the wrong side of the defeat.
Nutley standouts Lou Raffaele, Trevor Santos and Kevin Hogan were selected to play for the Essex County All-Stars. Belleville head coach Joe Sorce was one of the Essex County coaches.
Although the outcome wasn’t appreciated, Raffaele was glad to be a part of the game.
“It was a great honor,” said Raffaele, the Maroon Raiders’ standout sophomore catcher. “I was glad to represent my school and town. I was really excited to be a part of the team. It was actually one of my goals. I was really excited for the opportunity.”
Raffaele said that it was great to play again with Santos and Hogan.
“Trevor and I are really close friends, so it was great for us to be on the team together,” Raffaele said.
Raffaele will certainly catch the eye of college recruiters over the next two years.
“I really like that,” Raffaele said. “It’s another one of my goals. I would love to be play (NCAA) Division I baseball one day. I want to go to a good school, get a good education and play some baseball in the future.”
All in all, Raffaele will take the honor of being selected to the Underclassmen All-Stars.
“It was an honor to play with those guys,” Raffaele said. “I feel like there’s always room for improvement. I’m going to work to get a higher batting average and of course, work on my defense. But this was fantastic.”
Santos and Hogan were not available for comment for this story.
Duran agreed with Raffaele.
“It was a great experience,” Duran said. “Hopefully, this will lead to college. I would love to play baseball somewhere. I still think of myself as being more of a baseball player.”
And maybe next year, the Kardinals will be more of an improved team with Duran leading the way.
Kearny second baseman David Duran was selected to the New Jersey Quad-County Underclassmen All-Star Game at Kean University. Photo by Jim Hague
From left, Nutley catcher Lou Raffaele, pitcher Trevor Santos and first baseman Kevin Hogan represented the Essex County All-Stars at the Quad-County Underclassmen Game at Kean. At far right is Belleville head coach Joe Sorce, one of the Essex County coaches. Photo by Jim Hague
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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.”