The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

Baseball Knights enjoy a pitch-perfect season

Photo courtesy of Ian Dubac of Ian Matthew Photography
The baseball Knights hope to keep their momentum up as they go on to face Ramapo in the third round of the state tournament.

The West Essex Baseball Knights had a hot start to the season and were able to consistently keep producing, leading them to a 23-4 record. Multiple veteran players, including senior Devin Fogg and juniors Joe Panzarino and Chris Murano, have had a big impact on the team’s success this season, bringing their dominant pitching and power-hitting to the plate every game. As of May 29, the Knights have a 12-0 record against all divisional teams, are currently at the top of the Liberty division and have outscored opponents 183-85. Panzarino currently leads the team in Runs Batted In (RBIs), with a whopping 27 while Fogg leads the team with 33 hits. 

Along with their power-hitting, the Knight’s pitching has also remained a dominant part of the team. In 51 innings, Murano has a team-leading 68 strikeouts while pitching a 1.78 Earned Run Average (ERA). In a 10-0 win against Payne Tech, sophomore Caden Lozito threw a five-inning perfect game, striking out 13 batters. 

“Our pitching has been really solid and has been able to keep us in games,” sophomore catcher Colin Fogg said.                                 

Having graduated only two seniors last season, the Knights had great chemistry to build off of going into this season. Outfielder Devin Fogg and first baseman Shaun Bertonaschi, two of the senior team leaders, credit the teams’ immense success to the seasoned players and the strong bonds they share.

“Most of the starting lineup has been on varsity for a year now so that experience and everyone’s want to win has really helped us,” Fogg said.

With momentum coming off his first year, head coach Joseph Cardinale hopes to continue bringing his 10-plus years of coaching experience to the players on and off the field. In just two years in the role, Cardinale has made a huge impact on the team, coaching them through two winning seasons He says that his relationship with the team on and off the field is one of his favorite parts of his job. 

“Seeing our guys grow as student-athletes has been one of the most rewarding things so far,” Cardinale said. 

The Knights went into the NJSIAA tournament as the third seed and won in a close 2-0 game in the first round against the number 14 seed Garfield. In the second round, they beat number 11 seed Montville in extra innings. Senior Shaun Bertonaschi hit a walk-off single in the 8th to drive in Devin Fogg and win the game 5-4. Both coaches and players have been an instrumental part of the team’s success on and off of the field. 

“This has been a great season and we are hoping to make a deep run in the state tournament. We made solid additions, like Coach Firavanti, who has helped us in many aspects, including our success,” sophomore Jackson Lodgek said. 

The Knights hope to keep playing their best baseball throughout the state tournament. The team has had an incredible season and continuous solid pitching performances. The Knights walk away from this season with their heads held high, proud of their successful season and excited for next season. 

Behind the Bylines
Brooke Cheifetz
Brooke Cheifetz, Visual Media Editor
Brooke Cheifetz is a 2024-2025 Visual Media Editor for the Wessex Wire. She enjoys playing soccer, watching the New York Yankees and New York Jets, and spending time with her friends. She loves listening to music, especially Luke Combs, Harry Styles, and Taylor Swift.
Justin Misher
Justin Misher, Sports Editor
Justin Misher is a 2023-2024 Sports Section Editor for the Wessex Wire. He enjoys watching the Knicks, Giants and Mets, hanging out with friends and going down the shore. His favorite food is steak and his favorite TV show is Friends.
More to Discover