By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Justin Ely and Tommy Parker are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to managing experience in the Mercer County American Legion Baseball League.
While Parker is set to begin his 27th season as the manager of Princeton Post 218, Ely is beginning his first season as manager of West Windsor-Plainsboro.
Ely, who spent last year as a coach for WW-P, takes over for Don Hutchinson, who managed WW-P for the last 15 years. Ely played at Bordentown High School and Bordentown Post 26 before playing at The College of New Jersey.
“Last year was my first year with Hutch,” said Ely, who has spent the last two springs as an assistant coach at WW-P North High School. “Before last year I coached Junior Legion in Mt Holly.”
Ely was a student teacher at Grover Middle School last year while also coaching at North. In the summer he was part of Hutchinson’s staff as WW-P went 16-11 and advanced to the District 4 tournament.
“While I was at Grover, I met Mike Santoro, the high school coach at North,” Ely said. “He brought me in as an assistant. I was fortunate to meet Hutch and he was nice enough to bring me on to coach with him.”
This will be the first head coaching opportunity for Ely, who is happy to get a chance to work with the players who play for both WW-P North and WW-P South.
“I am very excited,” Ely said. “It helps to build the programs when we are working together in the spring and then summer. It is like we are continuing to build both programs. That is the biggest thing.”
WW-P will have a young team this summer as it looks to fill several holes.
“I think it will be a learning experience for myself and the kids,” Ely said. “We graduated eight or nine players from last year. We have some leaders returning but we’re young with a lot of sophomores and juniors. I think if we can stick together we can shock some people.”
WW-P was scheduled to open the season on Thursday against Allentown. The roster includes Scott Doherty, Ben Goldstein, Chris Gonnella, Jack Lichtenstein, Jeremy Lockwood, Cole Millinger, Alex Mitchell, Jacob Mitchell, Mack Palmer, Drew Panson, Arjun Perri, Matt Phelan, Mike Radey, Alejandro Rivera, Andrew Schoenblum, Sammy Singh, Ryan Strype and Michael Tom.
Princeton is coming off a 4-20 season with hopes of improvement. Parker begins his 27th season as the only manager Post 218 has had in its history.
The Post 218 roster includes Aaron Brock, Cameron Cavanaugh, Aiden Duffy, John Girouard, Ben Grass, Cameron Gray, Markus Hartmann, Chris Iazzetta, Parker Kaufman, Matt Lambert, Daniel Melnick, David Mumme, Mike Pedota, Chris Pontrello, Joe Studholme, Chris Sumners, McGwire Tuffy, and Zach Yoelson-Angeline.
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor