SJR 2021 Baseball Preview
By Will Tallant ‘21
It's been over a year since the Green Knight’s baseball team has taken the field, but the long and anticipated wait is almost over. After having the entire spring season canceled last school year due to the coronavirus pandemic and seeing the 2021 season pushed back a month, the new baseball season is now scheduled to start on April 1st. Instead of having an entire month of early practices and tryouts, coach Mark Cieslak and his coaching staff will only have two weeks this year to have their squad assembled. The Green Knights have twenty-two regular season games on their schedule with the season opener set for April 19th, in Montvale against Fair Lawn High School.
The Green Knights most recent season was a Cinderella story back in 2019 when they advanced to the Bergen County Tournament championship game. At the time, the team was relatively young having a slew of sophomores on the varsity roster. Those then sophomores are now the seniors leading the charge for the 2021 baseball team. A group that is loaded with talent and one that has lived up to expectations at SJR.
The current Senior class includes seven Division I bound players around the diamond. These Division I schools include Duke University, Boston College, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Wofford College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and St. John's University.
SJR media recently interviewed co-captain and Duke University commit Jimmy Romano. Romano plays third and first base as well as pitcher and is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but is slated to return back to the mound as early as mid-May. He gave his thoughts on the upcoming season.
SJR: As a captain, what do you expect the overall attitude of your fellow teammates to be?
JR:As a captain, I expect every single player to have a positive and determined attitude. When you walk into the locker room, you should be working to get 1% better everyday.
SJR: What is the plan of attack when it comes to taking down some of the big powerhouse schools in the area?
JR: When it comes to taking down powerhouse schools, we need to focus on the small things. Throwing strikes, limiting strikeouts, having a solid defense. We have the talent to beat any team in the state. We just need to come prepared and be ready to play our hearts out.
SJR: What advice would you give to the underclassmen either on varsity now or working towards making varsity in the future?
JR: One piece of advice I would give to an underclassman is to do it for a brother next to you. When I was an underclassman, it was all about the seniors. Now, being a senior myself, I finally understand the true meaning.
SJR: What is one thing you would like to accomplish at SJR before you start your collegiate baseball career?
JR: Since freshman year, all we ever talked about was winning a triple crown. We were stripped from that opportunity last year and it’s something I want to accomplish this year. We’re gonna bring that hardware back to SJR.
After completely losing last year’s season, this entire program is ready to compete day in and day out once again. One person in particular who can’t wait to hit the field is head varsity coach, Mark Cieslak. Cieslak and his staff strive to get the best out of each and every player in the program. A combination of excellent talent and coaches that are poised for victory every single game. That is the environment Cieslak has created and is the underlying success of SJR’s baseball program. No matter what happens this season, it will truly be a special one for the Green Knights.