Raritan Softball Rocketing To Success By Casey Krish

HAZLET – The Raritan Rockets softball program is chock-full of a rich and successful history. A program that has not tasted a losing season in more than a decade, and one that expects its girls to compete regardless of the situation.
A trip to Raritan is a night that is circled on the calendar of all A Central opponents. It’s a night any opponent knows that the best version of themselves must take the field; otherwise the result will not go to plan.
So far in 2019, no opponent has had their game plan execute to perfection. The Rockets sit at 10-0 on the season, including an 8-0 record in a difficult A Central division.
“Every day in practice, we stress the little things like being positive, working together, and giving your best effort despite the role you play,” Raritan head coach Marc Rosner said. “We believe most of the teams in our division can compete with the pieces they have. Those tough opponents have prepared us for each game we have coming up leading into the postseason.”
This version of Raritan softball has excelled in the circle, holding its opponents to just 14 runs in its first nine contests. Among those nine games are four shutouts, and another two games in which they held the opponent to just a single run.
Erynn Boyle has been the leader inside the circle in the early going, pitching 61 of her team’s first 66 innings out of the gate. She has only yielded 11 earned runs through the team’s first 10 games.
“Erynn competes each day and loves the game,” Rosner said. “She is a great competitor. She believes in her defense, and the coaches and players believe in her.”
Boyle took on a big role during her sophomore season, pitching to an 11-4 record and 4.32 ERA in 102 innings. Last year she won 15 games and posted a 2.61 ERA in 152.1 innings. Now, Boyle is among the top tier of pitchers in the Shore, with a 1.62 ERA and already 10 wins on the year.
“She wants to make the most of her senior year, along with the other girls,” Rosner added.
While Boyle is suffocating opposing offenses, there requires a cast of talent with the bat – a necessity that is certainly in Raritan’s possession.
Morgan O’Donnell has spearheaded an offense that through the first 10 games is averaging just below eight runs a game. O’Donnell leads the team in hits (19), runs batted in (12) and batting average (.487). She has also blasted two home runs.
But the Raritan lineup in not a one-woman show. Lilly Tomasiello (.483), Kristen Tigar (.448), Emma Springstead (.444) and Taylor Calicari (.410) have all been regulars penciled into the lineup card each day currently hitting above .400.
While the number of bats producing at high clips stands out in the box score, Rosner has seen firsthand the depth his group has to help fuel the success.
“All those girls have come up with big hits or made big plays, but as a whole, everyone has contributed from top to bottom to help score runs,” he said. “It’s been a team effort.”
“We tell the girls to make the most of their reps in practice and execute when their time comes,” he continued. “They have done that offensively and that attitude and urgency has translated to other aspects of the game.”
Raritan has a rich tradition of success and that mantra is on full display once again with this group. Raritan has not tasted a losing season since at least 2004 and this year is shaping up to be the same. The Rockets have a perfect record through their first rotation through the A Central schedule, and have picked up impressive non-divisional wins against Colts Neck and Toms River South.
“The success of this program starts with the players,” Rosner said. “We have a strong middle school program and they receive good coaching that prepares them for this level.
“It is the players buying in to what is preached here and doing whatever they can to contribute to the team,” he added. “It is all about the team here and the girls understanding that we are playing and competing for the chance to win championships, and this group certainly wants to do that.”
The path to championships is made easier with a core of players who gain valuable experience at the varsity level. Currently, Raritan is a junior-heavy squad with aspirations to win now rather than later. There are only four seniors on roster this year, led by Boyle, who has three seasons of varsity time under her belt. Brooke Brady, Gianna Simon and Gabbie Zweidinger are also upperclassmen providing older leadership to the mix, as well as producing when called upon.
The start that Raritan has had to the 2019 season is certainly humbling, but there is more business to handle as the calendar flips to May. The first item on the check list is winning the Shore Conference A Central division, but Rosner certainly knows the challenges of having to now go through the rotation a second time.
“Manasquan has a young core, and Holmdel and Red Bank Catholic have solid senior pitching and experience in the lineup,” he said. “Shore and Monmouth Regional have solid pitchers that also possess strong bats. They have certainly shown that when we played them.”
After wrapping up the divisional circuit, the focus shifts to the Shore Conference Tournament and NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II state tournament. Last season, the Rockets won a game in each tournament, before taking a top-3 seed to the brink in the second round. This year, the added experience and motivation should provide the club with a reason to believe they can make a deeper run into the postseason this time around.
“We have goals and we are set out to accomplish them,” Rosner said. “It’s one day at a time. One game at a time.”

Table of Contents

About The Author