By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Neither the West Windsor-Plainsboro or Princeton Post 218 baseball teams got off to the kind of start they had hoped for in the Mercer County American Legion League.
But both teams still have hope that with most of the season ahead of them there is time to get headed in the right direction.
WW-P took a step forward on Tuesday with an 11-0 win over Princeton. The win lifted WW-P to 2-4 on the season, while Princeton fell to 1-5.
“We were able to find our approach,” said Matt Phelan, who had a pair of hits, including a triple, and scored two runs in the win. “A lot of guys got hits and we were working counts and got what we were looking for. We did what we wanted to do today.
“Our pitchers so far have been working phenomenally. We go deep in innings and our relievers also do very well. Our defense has been good. We minimize our errors. Today we had the offense to go with the pitching and defense.”
WW-P broke the game open when it scored seven runs in the second inning. Jeremy Lockwood, Mack Palmer and Phelan opened the inning with singles. Alejandro Rivera, Drew Panson and Scott Doherty followed with walks before Jack Lichtenstein delivered a big double.
“Our defense has been great this year,” WW-P manager Justin Ely said. “If we just string it together at the plate, I think we can be very strong. Our pitchers have been ready to go every day. Alex (Mitchell) has been strong for us and was strong at North as well. It’s nice we can count on him as well as the rest of the pitchers.”
Mitchell allowed just two hits over five innings to earn the win. WW-P played six straight days before earning a few days off. The team returns to action on Saturday night at Ewing.
“Playing every day really gets to you sometimes,” said Phelan, who is in his second year with the team. “This is our sixth day in a row. It’s our first long stretch. Last year was a little tough getting used to it as a young 16-year-old. But now I have done it before. I see what you have to go through and I am a lot more comfortable with it.
“I have been feeling good. The team is great. We’ve started a little slow with our hitting, but just like any other season you get through it and do your job. So far it has gone pretty well.”
WW-P’s Legion team brings together players from WW-P North and WW-P South. While they don’t play high school baseball together, they all know each other well enough that the process to come together as a team doesn’t take long.
“We’ve all played Little League and Babe Ruth together so we have known each other forever,” Phelan said. “We love playing together. Being able to come together for the summer is something pretty special.
“When we are on, we are rolling. And based on what we have done in the past we could do some damage. If our bats stay consistent we can go to the playoffs.”
Princeton opened with just one win in its first six games. But Post 218 still feels like it can come together and play well with so much of the season still to be played.
“The message was about stepping up and supporting one another,” Post 218 manager Tommy Parker said. “I have not seen any team this season that we should not have been able to play with. I would say the one truly flat game we had was Bordentown. But other than that game, everyone else we have faced I think we have been able to play with and down the line they will step up.”
Matt Lambert and Girourd had the hits in the loss to WW-P. Princeton was scheduled to play Allentown on Thursday, plays Bordentown tonight and North Trenton on Saturday.
“The talent level is good,” Parker said of his team. “That’s why the post-game speech was about it being on them. They need to bring it and step up. We have some good youngsters. If the team stays loyal and everyone stays together we’re talking about a team that could do tremendous damage.”
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor