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River Dell High School graduate Steve Yelin enjoying breakthrough season on William Paterson University baseball team

Hailing from River Edge and graduate of River Dell High School, Steve Yelin said working out was the key to his success on the baseball diamond. “My father is big into working out, has me doing squats and deadlifts all the time. He told me take 10 swings a day and focus on your bat speed”


While attending River Dell High School, Yelin not only played baseball but varsity football in his senior year where the Golden Hawks won a state title after 10 years. “It meant everything winning a state title in football, I really did not want to play my senior year but wanted to get into shape having gained some weight and Coach Nimphius told me to play football and said you could lose some weight and be in shape to play baseball at FDU next year”


“As I started playing I grew a passion for the sport, the different movements, in football you focus on the cuts and helps out with moving around in baseball. think Coach Nimphius is one of the greatest coaches I have ever played for. The way he prepares for games and practices are so good”


In his sophomore and junior years, Yelin was named to the 2nd Team All-Bergen County Team and senior year 1st Team All-Bergen County. “River Dell High School was so much fun for me, Yelin said. Coach (Brandon)Flanagan a player’s coach, very easy to talk with and never stressed out playing for him. He always got the best out of us, only me and Garrett DeMarrais are the only two playing college baseball”


“It’s pretty tough to go into the county tournament being a top four against Catholic schools. We may have been the most talented group of guys but worked hard and played together. River Dell has made a name for being one of the best high schools in Bergen County, not easy with Pascack Hills, Ramapo and all the Catholic schools. We’re trying to do our best day in and out but it’s tough when they get players from everywhere and we’re limited to two towns”


“To see the towns of River Edge and Oradell coming together is pretty unbelievable and you kids bonding together and is a good atmosphere. I have to give credit to my best friend Dave Estevez who is always at my house and love him more than anything. Brandon Martinez is one of my close friends from River Edge, a few years older than me and went to Ramapo College. He worked his butt off, didn’t get drafted but really admired his game”


Yelin’s stay at FDU(Fairleigh Dickinson University) would only last one year where he collected 13 hits in his freshman year but did not want to dismiss the impact the school had on his career in athletics. “I want to thank FDU first of all for giving me the first offer. I was looking at plenty of Division I schools and going to camps and showcases. They were the first to give me that offer, tough being a Division I school in the Northeast and playing these schools from down South. It’s tough winning games, not like I was getting benches but I wanted to win”


During his search for a new school, Yelin found a comfort level with William Paterson University as many of his friends were on the baseball team. “The coaches at WPU said they were building their team and invited me to come here. I played with a lot of these guys in high school and we joke around with guys from different counties on which one is better. Having a lot of friends made me feel more comfortable coming to a new school and it’s not that easy transferring to a new school where you don’t know anyone”

While preparing for the 2019 Pioneers season, Yelin increased his training regimen. “In the off-season I hit four or five times. I want to thank Garrett Teel, a good friend of mine for letting me use his facility, he gave me the code and I went in to get my work done and my Dad came in and pitched to me. I want to give a lot of credit to my father, after work he would go to the batting cage with me and spend hours taking a few rounds in”


19 games into this season the hard work is paying off immensely for Yelin. Despite his batting average dipping under .400 at .397 after a recent doubleheader against Rutgers-Camden, still good for third on the team and tied for eighth in the NJAC(New Jersey Athletic Conference). Leading the team in home runs with two, tied for the RBI with 19, second in hits with 31 and first in total bases with 51. Yelin’s .654 slugging percentage is second on the squad and third overall in the conference. Currently, Williams Paterson has an overall record of 14-5 and 1-1 in the NJAC.


“Coach (Mike)Lauterhahn is very player friendly and never too serious. You could always talk to him, I’m never trying to do too much, our hitting is very good, keeping it simple and good things are happening. “I’m not focused on the state but winning, helping my team and doing my best”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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