Prep’s Cooney, NB’s Avella snare Reporter MVP honors

Rare trio of baseball coaches; Eagleson top softball coach

The 2015 Hudson Reporter All-Area Baseball and Softball Teams represent the very best that Hudson County has to offer in both sports. Once again, the All-Area teams are packed with talented athletes who made their collective marks on diamonds all over the county – and beyond.
The All-Area Baseball Team features eight players who make a return appearance on the squad. St. Peter’s Prep standouts Corey Caddle, Nick Camilleri and Antonio Velardi all made the All-Area squad a year ago. Teammate Mike Marino makes a return visit, but he was on the squad in 2013 as a sophomore. Dan Cooney and Kyle Bowes make the All-Area contingent this year for the first time, giving the Marauders, the top team in the area in 2015, a total of six honorees.
The other return honorees are A.J. Candelario and Jesse Matos of Marist, as well as Manny Cruz and Dany Perez of Union City.
Memorial had a fine season and was rewarded with five members of the All-Area squad, a nice return to glory for the storied Tigers’ program.
Caddle, the versatile outfielder, who is already enrolled at Fordham and will play football for the Rams this fall, was named the Hudson Reporter Player of the Year for helping the Marauders tie a school record for wins in a season with 26.
Candelario, the flame-throwing junior right-hander for the Royal Knights, is the Hudson Reporter Pitcher of the Year. Candelario posted a 7-0 record on the hill this season. He allowed just two earned runs in 53 innings, posting an 0.33 earned run average. He struck out an astounding 120 batters and walked just 24. In each of Candelario’s eight starts this season, he struck out at least 10 batters and had a season-best 17 in a victory over Monroe.
Cooney, the Prep talented senior pitcher/outfielder, was selected as The Hudson Reporter Baseball Most Valuable Player for 2015. Cooney posted a 6-1 record with a 2.13 earned run average on the mound and batted .440 with 27 RBI at the plate. Cooney was perhaps the main reason why the Marauders won their second Ed “Faa” Ford Memorial Hudson County Baseball Tournament championship in the last three years.
When it comes to selecting a Coach of the Year this season, there’s a rarity, a three-way tie for the honor. There are three men who have given so much to the sport of baseball over the last 30 years or so and they all had to face adversity right before the first game of the season.
Ferris’ veteran Hall of Fame coach Mike Hogan underwent surgery to battle prostate cancer right before the first pitch of the season, yet returned to action as soon as possible.
St. Anthony head coach Buddy Matthews, in his swan song as a baseball head coach after 30 years between Hoboken and St. Anthony, suffered a seriously torn hamstring that required reconstructive surgery while pitching batting practice. Matthews fought through some post-surgery complications and made a triumphant return to the Friars’ dugout within a few weeks of the surgery.
And St. Peter’s Prep head coach Pat Laguerre suffered a heart attack just two weeks before the season opener, yet was back in the dugout and the coaching box within weeks of the attack, leading the Marauders to the Hudson County tourney title.
All three men displayed incredible dedication and courage to make a return to coaching soon after their respective illnesses and injuries and are deserving of a share of the Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year honors.
On the softball side, an incredible total of 12 players were selected to the Hudson Reporter All-Area squad for a second straight year.
The repeat honorees are talented twins Sophie and Samantha Chong of Weehawken, Christina Mezey and Alexis O’Callahan of St. Dominic Academy, Kristen Barrera, Autumnn Peterson and Mackenzie Brown of Bayonne, Julia McClure and Kendall Caruso of Secaucus, Alizea Henriquez and Naomi Olacio of Hoboken and Victoria Avella of North Bergen.
Four players, namely McClure, Caruso, Olacio and Brown, were also named in 2013, while the latter two, Olacio and Brown, earn the rare distinction of being selected to the Hudson Reporter All-Area team for all four years of high school. It’s quite an impressive feat to say the least.
For a second straight year, the Hudson Reporter Pitcher of the Year is senior Mezey of SDA, who won 17 games on the mound, pitched to a miniscule 1.12 earned run average and struck out a county-best 228 batters. For good measure, Mezey also batted .421 with four homers and a county-best 41 RBI.
The Hudson Reporter Player of the Year is sophomore Sophie Chong of Weehawken, who also eclipsed the 200 strikeout plateau with 209, while batting .463 with 44 hits and 21 RBI.
The Hudson Reporter Most Valuable Player is North Bergen junior pitcher Victoria Avella, who posted a 21-8 record on the mound with a 2.32 earned run average and 185 strikeouts in 175 innings pitched. Avella also batted .395 with seven doubles, two triples, one homer and 19 RBI, leading the Bruins to the Hudson County Tournament title.
And for leading the Bruins to their 14th Hudson County championship under his legendary tutelage, Tom Eagleson of North Bergen has been selected as The Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year.
All in all, it was a fine year for baseball and softball in the county. – Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached at

2015 Hudson Reporter All-Area Baseball Team

Pitcher-A.J. Candelario, Marist
Pitcher-Antonio Velardi, St. Peter’s Prep
Pitcher-Oliver Molano, Weehawken
Pitcher-Justin Vasquez, Union City
Pitcher-Chris Rey, Memorial
Catcher-Nick Camilleri, St. Peter’s Prep
First Base-Jesse Matos, Marist
First Base-Mario Palos, Memorial
Second Base-Mike Marino, St. Peter’s Prep
Shortstop-Victor Guzman, Memorial
Shortstop– Brian Rodriguez, Weehawken
Shortstop-Dany Perez, Union City
Third Base-Ohanny Jesurum, Weehawken
Outfield-Corey Caddle, St. Peter’s Prep
Outfield-Kyle Bowes, St. Peter’s Prep
Outfield-Manny Cruz, Union City
Outfield-Giovanni Palos, Memorial
Designated Hitter-Anthony Ramos, North Bergen
Designated Hitter-Derrick Fernandez, Memorial
Utility-Elijah Pereira, Ferris
Utility-Dan Cooney, St. Peter’s Prep
Utility-Dominick Rosales, University Charter
Utility-Jaylen Paula, Ferris
Utility-Adalberto Colon, Dickinson

Player of the Year: Corey Caddle, St. Peter’s Prep
Pitcher of the Year: A.J. Candelario, Marist
Most Valuable Player: Dan Cooney, St. Peter’s Prep
Coach of the Year: tie between Mike Hogan, Ferris; Buddy Matthews, St. Anthony and Pat Laguerre, St. Peter’s Prep

2015 Hudson Reporter All-Area Softball Team

Pitcher-Christina Mezey, St. Dominic
Pitcher-Victoria Avella, North Bergen
Pitcher-Sophie Chong, Weehawken
Pitcher-Alyssa Voli, Secaucus
Catcher-Elisa Lopez, North Bergen
Catcher-Samantha Chong, Weehawken
First Base-Jessica Tyll, Hudson Catholic
First Base-Sophia Pardo, Memorial
Second Base-Arianna Diaz, North Bergen
Shortstop-Naomi Olacio, Hoboken
Shortstop-Mackenzie Brown, Bayonne
Shortstop-Jillian Ward, Hudson Catholic
Third Base-Elenis Garcia, Union City
Third Base-Kendall Caruso, Secaucus
Outfield-Autumnn Peterson, Bayonne
Outfield-Xiomara Taylor, North Bergen
Outfield-Mary Kate Cannito, St. Dominic
Designated Hitter-Kaitlyn Almonte, Memorial
Designated Hitter-Alexis O’Callahan, St. Dominic
Designated Hitter-Alizea Henriquez, Hoboken
Utility-Julia McClure, Secaucus
Utility-Miyoksi Suarez, Hudson Catholic
Utility-Jaylene Sierra, Ferris
Utility-Kristen Barrera, Bayonne

Pitcher of the Year: Christina Mezey, St. Dominic
Player of the Year: Sophie Chong, Weehawken
Most Valuable Player: Victoria Avella, North Bergen
Coach of the Year: Tom Eagleson, North Bergen

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