Jayden Bloch: More Than Just a Player


courtesy of Jayden Bloch

Senior Jayden Bloch prepares to deliver a pitch for NJ Marlins.

Christopher Digricoli, Staff writer

The crack of the bat sounded and immediately the crowd erupted into cheers. When the ball finally landed in the crisp black night, senior Jayden Bloch was rounding second, pumping his fists in excitement. Bloch hit his second home run in as many games, another accolade to add to his already impressive trophy case. 

Bloch started playing baseball in the spring of 2011 when he was in third grade. When asked why he chose baseball, Bloch said, “At the time I wasn’t playing any sports. I grew up always watching sports with my dad and at one point I asked if I could play one. The time I had asked just happened to be spring so I started with baseball and it stuck. I also really liked the way catcher’s gear looked which convinced my 8-year-old self even more.”

As he continued to play baseball with Hillsborough Recreation and travel ball, he developed a love for the game that can only be shown through the countless hours of work he has put into perfecting his craft. Whenever practice ended, Bloch could always be found taking extra reps in the batting cage or attempting to learn a new pitch to add to his selection. 

By the time he was in seventh grade, he already had the eyes of varsity head coach Eric Eden. When Eden showed up to the game Bloch pitched in, he was astonished to find out that he was only 12 years old. 

“He then came up to me after the game and told me he wanted to turn me into a varsity pitcher,” Bloch said. “At that moment I decided to take baseball very seriously as I knew I had potential with it.”

Before the start of the eighth-grade season of travel ball, Hillsborough did not have a team so Bloch needed to find a local team quickly. Luckily, his coach at the time recommended the club team, the Blue Jays out of Flemington to join. Just like in travel, Bloch shined with his new team and could not wait to take his talents to the next level, high school baseball.

Jayden spent freshman year at the freshman and JV level. Varsity and JV already had catchers so Bloch was set to pitch and play first base with the freshman team. When sophomore year rolled around, Jayden was primed for the starting catching position at the varsity level and did not disappoint.

Bloch batted .286, drove in 12 runs, and had an on-base percentage of .482, as well as being voted to the Skyland All-Conference Team. In addition to his impressive season with the Raiders, Bloch joined a new club team, the Marlins, out of Flemington as well.

“I needed a team where I could get exposure to play in college and their website proved that they got guys committed,” Bloch said. “They also came out and scouted me so they showed interest in me and my potential.” 

And exposure is what he got, letters and calls from Rutgers, NYU, Salem State, and many more. As senior year approached, with his junior season canceled due to COVID-19, Bloch started thinking about which school he wanted to attend. The choice was hard, he liked Rutgers because it was close to home and his mother works there but ultimately Salem State was the winner.

“Salem State had a coach where he seemed really connected to the players,” he said. “He obviously wasn’t in it for the money and he seemed to put the players’ opportunities above everything else. Every other coach tries to sell you the program while Salem seemed to sell itself.”

Salem State’s coach expressed that Jayden would most likely pitch for the Vikings but Bloch may have forced himself into the lineup with his recent successes at the plate, possibly becoming a rare two-way player.

With his college set and his senior season of Raider baseball hopefully ahead of him, Bloch is comfortable with his future. He especially can not wait to help lead the Raiders this coming spring back to the championship game, the only thing left to put in his trophy case.