Highlanders look to better themselves on the diamond

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By Josh Lashley
After finishing last spring with a deceptive overall record of 8-17, having lost several many close contests throughout the course of the 2013 season, the West Milford High School baseball program is ready to build an ample amount of momentum this season.

“Our goals of winning championships in our conference, county and state never change and our players understand that,” West Milford head coach Joe Jordan said. “Our program has always been a top program and we take a lot of pride in keeping it that way by putting ourselves in position to compete for championships on a yearly basis, regardless of some down years that have come along.

“Our team was much better than the record indicated. Our team lost five games by one run and two close losses to two of the top ranked teams in New Jersey, playing a very difficult schedule. We played with a lineup of mainly underclassmen and we hope to overcome the struggles we endured to inexperience last season.”

Student-athletes with varsity level experience hoping to guide the Highlanders toward their goals this year include Chris Boes (senior, outfield/pitcher), John Tierney (senior, short stop), Liam Stewart (senior, third base/pitcher), Harry Van Dyke (senior, catcher), Dillon Forsythe (senior, pitcher), Tom Murphy (senior, outfield), Jon Diamond (senior, second base), Connor Maupai (junior, pitcher/outfield), Dylan Gieger (junior, second base/pitcher) and Sam Yuhas (junior, centerfield).

Newcomers looking to be a positive influence on the varsity roster include Destin Royer (senior, catcher), Brenden Gerity (senior, pitcher) and Derek Sinke (junior, utility player).

“Our leadership starts with our seniors, especially our three players who are three-year starters - Chris Boes, John Tierney, and Liam Stewart,” Jordan said. “These players were part of our Conference and Sectional title team in and have experienced the highs and lows of that season compared to last season. I think many of our seniors have shown great leadership qualities this preseason knowing it's their last chance as a high school athlete to have a season they will want to remember.”

The Highlanders have a home game against Lakeland on Monday, April 7.

“Lakeland, our arch rival, returns two of their top pitchers,” Jordan said. “The rest of the teams in our (Big North Conference Independence Division) such as Wayne Hills, Wayne Valley and Passaic Valley all have good programs and you can never count any of them out.”

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