March 27, 2024

Starting 2024 Season with a Gauntlet of Tough Foes, Hun Baseball Looking to Develop Early Momentum

WILLPOWER: Hun School baseball player Will Kraemer makes contact in a game last spring. Junior infielder Kraemer, who hit .333 last year, will be looking to have another strong season for the Raiders this spring. Hun gets its 2024 campaign underway by playing at Lawrenceville on March 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Hun School baseball team opens its 2024 season this week, it is facing a string of early tests.

“This is probably the most challenging schedule we have had, especially in the beginning of the year, that first week is a gauntlet,” said Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto. “We start off at Lawrenceville (on March 28) and then we play St Peter’s (on April 1) and then we play Pennington (on April 3) and then we play the Hill School (Pa.) (on April 5). Those are going to be some really difficult opponents and then we go down to D.C. and play a doubleheader (on April 6) against two of the better teams in that area, Landon School (Md.) and Jackson-Reed High School (Washington, D.C.). Having success in that first week will be a huge jump off point and catalyst. Either way, we will learn a lot about ourselves as a team.”

With Hun coming off a 16-7 season in 2023 that saw it win the Prep A state title, Monfiletto believes the Raiders can enjoy another successful spring.

“We have a lot of experience coming back, we have some guys that played in some really big games for its last year that are coming back in the lineup,” said Monfiletto, whose team went on its annual preseason trip to Florida earlier this month where it faced several formidable New England prep school teams featuring a number of Division I commits.

“We added a couple of new pieces in Sam Wright and Carter Klein, our two postgrads, and some freshman and sophomores,  players that are going to contribute for the first time this year.”

Monfiletto believes a number of guys will contribute to Hun’s mound corps.

“I would say our arms looked very, very good, that was reassuring,” said Monfiletto, whose pitching staff includes senior Charlie Batista, senior Lucas Henderson, senior Ryan Greenstein, senior Gabe Jacknow, sophomore John Rossman, sophomore Asher DeLue, and sophomore Aidan Heaphy along with post-grads Wright and Klein. “They all looked good, healthy and strong. They have gotten better.”

The Raiders should be strong offensively as they boast punch throughout the order.

“We could score a lot of runs, I would like that to be a little more consistent,” said Monfiletto, whose batting order will feature junior Nico Amecangelo, senior E.J. Balewitz, junior Will Kraemer, senior Tyler Tucker, senior Deacon Bowne, senior Mike Olender, and sophomore T.J. Francis in addition to Wright, Batista, Henderson, Greenstein, Rossman, and Klein.

“I think we definitely have the potential to do that. We are going to see a lot of really, really strong arms. I hope we will improve with that experience of seeing those arms throughout the year. It was good to see that in Florida and to see what kind of challenge that is going to bring. I think top to bottom we run the bases well.”

Monfiletto will be utilizing different combinations on defense depending on who is pitching on a given day. “We will see what the best mixture is,” said Monfiletto. Bowne is a fixture at catcher and the squad’s returning infielders include Tucker, Kraemer, Amecangelo, Henderson, Greenstein, and Balewitz with the addition of freshman Jackson Staples. The outfield will feature Wright, Batista, and Olender along with Francis, Staples, and junior Antonio Destribats.

In Monfiletto’s view, Hun has the talent to compete with any of its formidable foes and contend for more titles.

“I think as long as our pitching stays consistent and we throw strikes, we will be in every single game,” said Monfiletto. “We have a good amount of good arms which I am really excited about and we have an outstanding catcher. We are able to put runs across the plate. Our ability to play defense and adjust offensively will be two of the major keys to our success this year. If we are facing a really good arm, how do we get on base, how do we move runners, and how do we score when our bats aren’t hot? Then if our bats start to get hot, how do we keep the foot on the gas?”