Milo Freeman, pictured here is pitching last year for the Millers. Milo will be a junior this year and hopes to continue his pitching career. Credits: Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger
David Talpalar is shown pitching a shut out last season versus Seton Hall Prep Credits: Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger
The Miller's take batting practice during a pre season practice this year Credits: Aaron Friedman
The Miller's have an afternoon practice last week to get ready for their fast approaching season Credits: Aaron Friedman
Millburn High School Baseball Team Prepares for Season
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 • 5:49pm
MILLBURN NJ- With high hopes for the approaching season, the Millburn boy’s baseball team has been working hard to get things into full swing. With the addition of some new coaches and a great core of upperclassmen to lead this year’s team, the boys aim for a very high degree of success, hoping to surpass the high bar that was set last season. The impending goals for the team are to have strong senior leadership, have an up-tempo work ethic and to make a run deep into the playoffs.
Last year, the Millburn Millers varsity baseball team ended their season with a heartbreaker loss to Mendham in the NJSIAA Quarterfinal Round of the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 state baseball tournament. Led by head coach, Brian Chapman, the Millers seek to surpass 2012’s 17-9 overall record, which put them in second place behind Seton Hall Prep in the Super Essex American Baseball Standings last season.
As the Millers approach their season, they are highly focused and well prepared. The baseball team has consistently managed to have a frequent and long practice schedule, where a hard work ethic is required. The boys started off their season with a scrimmage March 8th in Springfield against Dayton High School.
The team’s first regular season game will be on the road in West Orange against West Orange High School on April 2 at 4 PM. This will warm the team up for the Millers' home opener on April 3 versus Bloomfield, which will also take place at 4 PM. These much anticipated matchups will be followed by a two-game stretch for Millburn during which their games will be played on opposing teams' fields, including their rival Livingston in Livingston on April 5 and St. Mary’s in Rutherford on April 6.
When asked about the impending season, head coach Brian Chapman said, “We have a lot of returning players from last year and expectations are high this season. With that said, we are really trying to keep our focus on the task at hand. Our goal is to improve every day and to put all of our energies into whatever we are doing at that moment. In addition, we have a lot of healthy competition for some jobs that were left open by the graduation of last year's seniors. We are using the month of March to help us determine who will win those jobs. Our goal is to be competitive in every game and, hopefully, we will realize our potential by the end of the season.”
Coaches Dave Drechsel, Chris Drechsel, and Tyler Pittenger will be assisting Head Coach Brian Chapman with the varsity squad this season. The junior varsity team will be lead by Coaches Cantagallo and Kropa. Lastly, Coach Weber and volunteer coach, Chris Myers will lead the freshman team.
Though the baseball team does not name captains, they are expecting great leadership from their numerous returning players. One senior who will provide the baseball team with his experience and personality is Benji Dweck. Last season, Benji had a part-time role but he hopes to accomplish a starting position possibly in left field this season. When asked how his team is preparing for the season, Dweck said, “Pre-season has been hard work. We have 12 returning players, so we have high expectations. At the same time we are setting high goals for ourselves. Six of the returning players are seniors and we expect leadership from every one of them. We have 5 juniors and 1 sophomore returning and we are expecting a lot from them. We have an extremely tough schedule and we switched into group 4 for our state tournament play so we really don't know what to expect. Being that we play in a top conference in the state, we cannot take anything for granted. Our first game is April second against West Orange and we have a lot to improve on within the next month. This year should be exciting and I can't wait until the season starts.”
Another senior leader, who the Miller’s hope will fill a critical role this year, is Pitcher/First Baseman Ian Riddell. Riddell has gone 10-1 on the mound in the past two seasons and will have an opportunity to pitch in college but he is undecided where he will play at this point. When asked about his expectations for the coming season, Ian said, “We have a young team, but we are all very talented ballplayers. Something I have noticed is that we have great team chemistry and are all excited to show up every day and work hard on becoming better individually and as a team. I am excited to see how we come out this year, especially since we are returning most of our starters and basically our entire pitching staff.”
The Miller’s will strive to accomplish the goals that they have set for themselves this season. The Millburn Millers baseball team always provides the town with excitement when playoff time comes around. The Millers would value support from the town, so as the old song goes, "bring your kiddies, bring your wife, you are guaranteed to have the time of your life," this season when watching the high-spirited Millburn Millers baseball team take on the competition.