TASTY TIDBITSHayward father/son combo clicking at St. Anthony

Wosu earns prestigious NJCU award; Character No. 24; top fives

When he took the job as head baseball coach and athletic director at St. Anthony, leaving his beloved alma mater Marist in the process, Ron Hayward knew one thing.
Hayward realized that he was going to mentor his son, Elliott, throughout his high school career.
“Because he is my son, I know what he’s worked on becoming all his life,” the elder Hayward said. “In the back of his mind, I know he wants to prove that he’s better than his father.”
Ron Hayward was a phenomenal baseball player during his days at Marist and later became the head coach there, leading the Royal Knights to the 2012 NJSIAA Non-Public B state championship.
So Elliott had some trepidation entering St. Anthony, knowing he was going to have to play for a demanding father. It’s a scene that has been played out at the school in another venue, with Bobby and Danny Hurley having to play basketball for their Hall of Fame coach father Bob.
“At first, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Elliott, still just a freshman. “He’s my dad, so I was a little nervous. I know the expectations of me were very high. But if I did my job and played hard, I wouldn’t have anything to worry about.”
The younger Hayward has been absolutely brilliant for the Friars, a team that is filled with freshmen. He’s hitting .471 with 24 hits in 51 at-bats, scoring 11 runs and driving in 12. He has also collected 25 stolen bases, showing off his blazing speed.
“Watching him in the field is amazing, because he fields everything and gets to everything,” Hayward said. “He holds centerfield like he’s an upperclassman.”
Elliott Hayward is also fortunate to have a pretty talented tutor. He speaks on a regular basis to Lance Johnson, the former New York Mets All-Star centerfielder who led the National League in hits (227) and triples (21) in 1996.
“They talk a couple of times a month,” the elder Hayward said. “He constantly tells Elliott one thing, to be aggressive. He says that you shouldn’t worry about being aggressive out there. That’s what makes you a cut above everyone else.”
“He tells me that if I just do my thing, everything else will be fine,” the younger Hayward said of his chats with the man known as “One Dog” when he was with the Mets. “I just have to keep working hard.”
“I just hope he keeps the same level for four years,” Hayward said. “He’s blessed with everything he has going for him. He has an advantage over me. I didn’t meet Ed Ford until I was 12 years old.”
The late local baseball guru had a close tutorial friendship with Hayward over the years and the two worked diligently with the intent of helping Hayward become a professional baseball player. Ron Hayward was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2000.
“If he fails now, it’s his fault,” the elder Hayward said.
The young Friars are 8-16 this season, but knocked off Hudson Catholic in the tournament that bears his mentor’s name. They will head to the NJSIAA Non-Public B North state tournament this week, more than likely against St. Mary’s of Rutherford…
One of the most impressive outings of the week last week was from John Casella of Hoboken, who went 3-for-3 with three RBI at the plate and scattered five hits on the mound in getting the win for the Redwings (one word) over Snyder…
And how about last week’s Reporter Athlete of the Week Brian Rodriguez of Weehawken having a little flair and certainly debunking any thought of an AOW jinx. Rodriguez collected the 100th hit of his career and made that hit a grand slam in a win over Paterson Charter. Rodriguez had seven RBI in the game. That’s pretty impressive…
Congrats to New Jersey City University basketball player Chinwe Wosu, who was recently presented with the Thomas M. Gerrity Scholar/Athlete of the Year award. Wosu, who graduated from University Charter and was first cut from the NJCU basketball team as a freshman, becomes only the second basketball player ever to receive the school’s top athletic award…

Sports characters in Hudson County history

Continuing with our new weekly series honoring the 25th anniversary of the Scoreboard column appearing in the Hudson Reporter Newspapers, we’ve selected the Top 25 sports characters covered over the last 25 years at the Reporter.
This week, it’s No. 24, namely Joe Reinhard of Hoboken baseball.
Reinhard was the coach of the Hoboken Ambassador baseball team that went to Russia to play and was also a fixture with youth baseball in Hoboken for many years. He was a very good coach for some very good teams over the years.
But Reinhard was also known for his boisterous approach in everything he did.
You could hear Reinhard from blocks away and his voice was extremely distinctive, with his “Put it in the books” scream long before Howie Rose started his rendition in covering Mets games on the radio. You knew it was him as soon as he opened his mouth. You didn’t even have to turn around to see if it was Reinhard or not. You just knew.
And there’s no question that he rubbed the opponent the wrong way. Reinhard would also be a fixture at all Hoboken High School games and get in the collective heads of teams that the Redwings (one word) would face.
Reinhard moved to the Jersey Shore a few years back and has not been heard from in a while, which has probably made a lot of people in Hudson County very happy. He was good for firing off an insult or two this way and there was no need to see where it came from, because it was all Reinhard…

The finals

The Hudson County softball tournament semifinals were slated to pit defending champion North Bergen against Hoboken and Kearny against Hudson Catholic. Who’s going to win? It’s anyone’s guess the way the teams have been playing recently. North Bergen lost to Ferris Wednesday in a wild 13-12 slugfest. Hudson Catholic knocked off Kearny, 16-4, in a regular season game Monday. It’s so totally bizarre.
Anyway, we’re going to guess that North Bergen and Kearny will face in the finals on Saturday, with North Bergen winning. As for baseball, it should be Memorial upending the top-seeded Marauders and A.J. Candelario and Bayonne knocking off the Soaring Eagles of Union City, then Memorial winning the county title. Just a thought.
Hudson Reporter High School Baseball Top Five: 1. Union City (18-6). 2. St. Peter’s Prep (17-7). 3. Memorial (16-7). 4. Bayonne (15-11). 5. North Bergen (12-11)…
Hudson Reporter High School Softball Top Five: 1. North Bergen (20-4). 2. Hudson Catholic (16-8). 3. Bayonne (15-6). 4. Hoboken (12-9). 5. Weehawken (13-8)…–Jim Hague

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

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group