TASTY TIDBITSDickinson’s baseball team on a roll

New feature honoring 25 years at Reporter; top fives

The high school baseball season was only a few weeks old, but the Dickinson High School squad was already in a deep rut.
The Rams had lost seven of their first 10 games and had no real hope in sight.
Except for veteran head coach Danny Suarez, who kept the faith that his team would eventually improve.
“I think in the beginning of the season, we were starting to press a little,” Suarez said. “We knew that we were creating a buzz around the county, but we just didn’t know how to close out games. We would play teams great for five good innings, but couldn’t finish the games. We were ahead of good teams like Union City and [St. Peter’s] Prep and just not close it out.”
But things dramatically changed and now the Rams are on a hot streak. They recently had an eight-game winning streak snapped Tuesday by Hudson Catholic, but the Rams are now a respectable 11-9.
“Now, we’re just as good as we thought we were going to be,” Suarez said. “We’re finally finishing games.”
One of the major keys to the Rams’ success has been the team’s excellent pitching.
“I thought our pitching has been pretty good all year,” Suarez said. “But now the pitching is keeping us in close games and we’re winning those close games we lost earlier. We made defensive mistakes that we’re not making anymore. We’ve made strides late in games to win games.”
The Rams have been paced by two excellent starting pitchers in senior Jaylen Paula and junior Julio Suarez, Jr.
Paula is the team’s resident power pitcher. He has a 3-2 record thus far, with his two losses coming at the hands of Union City and St. Peter’s Prep.
“He’s struck out a lot of batters,” Suarez said. “He’s a good power pitcher.”
Suarez, Jr., the cousin of the head coach, is more of a finesse pitcher. He has a 4-1 record with his lone loss coming at the hands of Memorial.
“He’s your prototypical spot-on pitcher,” Suarez said of his cousin. “If he hits his spots, he’s going to be tough to beat. If he doesn’t, then he’s very hittable. He’s not a thrower. He’s a pitcher. He’s up and down in the strike zone. He fundamentally knows what he has to do to be a winning pitcher.”
Junior right-hander Jose Fontan has two wins as the team’s No. 3 starter, but gained a save in the team’s win over Weehawken to advance in the Ed “Faa” Ford Memorial Hudson County Baseball Tournament.
“The kid is a gamer,” Suarez said. “He gives us everything he has.”
Sophomore left-hander Matt Burzynski has a 3-0 record and has to be considered as one of the Hudson County’s favorites.
The catcher is junior Edwin Garcia, who leads the Rams in RBI with 19.
“He’s our No. 4 hitter,” Suarez said. “He’s hitting .327. He’s also an excellent defensive catcher.”
Sophomore Adam Swift is the first baseman.
“He’s hitting .367,” Suarez said. “He’s too important for us not to have in the infield.”
Swift has also served as a relief pitcher and spot starter.
Freshman Roberto Gonzalez is the starting second baseman.
“I had no hesitation putting him there,” Suarez said. “He’s definitely varsity ready defensively. He just needs to hit a little more.”
Sophomore Timothy Bracero is the team’s shortstop. He started at second base for the Rams last season.
“I think we have one of the best infield combinations in the county,” Suarez said. “He pays attention and listens to what we say. He’s very solid.”
Junior Kelvin Araujo is the third baseman.
“He started the season tearing the cover off the ball, but he’s slowed down a little now,” Suarez said. “He’s still hitting .286 after the hot start.”
Junior Jonathan Dominguez is in left field, with junior Donovan Figueroa in center. Figueroa is batting .340.
Senior Adalberto Colon is the right fielder and leadoff hitter. Colon is batting .370 with 26 stolen bases.
Colon was one of the team’s top starting pitchers, but a lack of control and command forced him to lose that position.
“We have some depth in pitching,” Suarez said. “We needed him in the outfield.”
Senior Ivan Lozada is a designated hitter along with Paula.
“I really think we’ve become a team,” Suarez said in the middle of the winning streak. “They pick each other up. We have a motto, ‘Staying on the path,’ and we’re doing that. They believe in staying on the path. They have the feeling of being a championship team now. We believe we can make it there and that will help us in the postseason.”
The Rams will face Kearny in the Hudson County Tournament quarterfinals this weekend…
Last week represented a milestone for this reporter at the Hudson Reporter Newspapers. It was the 25th anniversary that the Scoreboard column first appeared in the Reporter’s pages. It was a vivid memory having former Reporter editor Ilene Stern come up with the name of the column and it has remained strong all this time.
In honor of the 25th anniversary, we’ve decided to honor the top 25 sports characters that have appeared in these pages. These are not necessarily the best coaches or players, but characters that were certainly memorable and definitely made a mark here.
So we will start off with No. 25, Turk Jordan, Weehawken: Turk was the long-time Weehawken Recreation director and former Weehawken High girls’ basketball coach who was known for his flamboyancy, complete with his ever-so-recognizable toupee and his propensity for not wearing a shirt, displaying his bare, hairy chest.
Turk was always also convinced that everyone and anyone was out to get him, but he was a beloved character in Weehawken who has sincerely fallen off the face of the earth in recent years.
Turk was clearly one of a kind with his antics and his looks, but he truly cared about the kids of Weehawken from his toes to his ridiculously topped head.
OK, next week, No. 24 all the way to No. 1. Ah, the people you can only meet in Hudson County sports…
Hudson Reporter High School Baseball Top Five: 1. Union City (16-5). 2. St. Peter’s Prep (15-7). 3. Memorial (13-7) 4. Bayonne (12-10). 5. Dickinson (11-9).
Hudson Reporter High School Softball Top Five: 1. North Bergen (17-3). 2. Hudson Catholic (12-8). 3. Bayonne (13-6). 4. Hoboken (10-7). 5. Weehawken (13-7).—Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group