The season may change, but the accomplishments that they’d like to reach remain lofty for the Vernon Township High School baseball program.
The Vikings’ home opener is scheduled Thursday, April 6 against Newton; both teams are in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Freedom Division.
“As a team, every year our goal is to compete for a division championship and this team is no different,’’ Vernon head coach Stephen Myhren said.
Among the key returning student athletes are seniors Jake Klein (catcher), Derek Laizer (short stop), Robert Nathan (pitcher), Ian Schmid (infielder and pitcher) and Ricky Healy (center fielder) and junior Colin Dignan (outfielder and catcher).
Klein and Laizer made First Team All NJAC Freedom Division in 2022, and Nathan and Schmid made Second Team All NJAC Freedom Division last year.
Promising newcomers to the varsity roster include seniors Anthony Marositz (first base and pitcher), Jake Immesberger (designated hitter), Tyler Bott (outfielder and pitcher) and Ricky DeGraw (utility player); juniors Drew Ebbighuasen (pitcher), Matt McGrogan (pitcher and utility player), Chad Quaranta (first base and pitcher) and Jake Stauffer (utility player); and sophomores Michael Pecoraro (pitcher), Matthew Baumann (infielder) and Aden Karwoski (pitcher and utility player).
“We have four guys that have been major parts of the last two championships in Jake Klein, Derek Lazier, Rob Nathan and Ian Schmid,’’ the coach said. “I’m really looking forward to them continuing their growth as players and leaders.
“Jake Klein is our vocal leader and the guy that makes sure everyone is bought in and putting in their work. Derek Lazier is more of a quiet leader who lets his hard work and play show others how to prepare and take the games/practices seriously.
“Rob Nathan is the leader of our pitching staff and the guy who helps the team get hyped. Ian Schmid is tremendous and steady. He’s kind of a combination of the other guys and makes a connection with all players on the team.’’
Vernon posted a strong overall record of 15-6 and the team was tri-champions of the NJAC Freedom Division in 2022. It advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 sectional tournament before losing to Mahwah last spring. Vernon topped Indian Hills in the first round of the sectionals.
In 2021, the Vikings were champions of the NJAC Colonial Division.
They now compete in the NJAC Freedom Division along with Newton, Jefferson, High Point, Hackettstown and Wallkill Valley.
“Every team in our division is legit and a contender this year,’’ Myhren said. “High Point is returning a lot of key players and doesn’t lose much.’’
We have four guys that have been major parts of the last two championships in Jake Klein, Derek Lazier, Rob Nathan and Ian Schmid. I’m really looking forward to them continuing their growth as players and leaders.” - Stephen Myhren, head baseball coach, Vernon Township High School