By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
The West Windsor 11-year-old all-star baseball team didn’t let one rough night spoil a special tournament run.
After falling to Nottingham, 12-2, on Tuesday in the District 12 tournament, West Windsor bounced back the next night and won the winner-take-all championship game, 10-1 to capture the district title and advance to the Section 3 tournament that begins this weekend at Sunnybrae.
“We wish we could have done it Tuesday,” West Windsor manager Mick Callahan said. “I was nervous. To beat a very good team twice is tough and to beat them three in a row is big task for anybody. We came into Tuesday knowing win or lose that we understood we had Wednesday as a fall back.
“I didn’t expect to lose the way we lost. That team just pounded the ball that day. After the game we told them we just needed to come back and have role reversal the next day.”
West Windsor did just that as starting pitcher Jason Carroll got the job done on the mound and the offense came through with 10 runs which was more than enough offense.
Jason had no fear,” Callahan said. “He was painting the zone inside and out. He was on fire and did a great job.”
West Windsor had beaten Nottingham earlier this summer in the West End tournament and then posted a 5-4 win earlier in the District 12 tournament before the final two games this week.
“We beat them in the West End tournament and that was a 6-2 game,” Callahan said. “We beat them in a walk-off to keep us in the winners bracket and that set up the championship. I had assumed we would see them again. That was a good team. I have to give our kids credit. We went hard. We went everyday and not may kids missed for much. It was a motivated crew.”
In addition to Carroll, the West Windsor roster includes Troy Callahan, Jack Carter, Matthew Chi, Daniel Hu, Caleb Kasof, Jonah Levy, Justin Musmanno, Luis Saldivia, Kieran Sattiraju, Logan Slater, Andrew Van Dusen and Grant Vinson. Callahan’s coaches are Jack Demouth and Dennis Vinson.
“They are a group of kids that enjoyed each other,” Callahan said. “a couple are reserved and a couple are more outgoing and outspoken. But they all understood their roles. Some did not get as much playing time as they hoped, but it is a good group of big-hearted kids.
“They know my three rules. I tell them they need to hustle, do their best, and have fun. If you do that, win or lose you are a winner.”
This team was also a winner on the field, achieving their pre-tournament goal of a District 12 title.
“At our first practice we gave them note cards and asked them to put down a personal goal, a team goal, and something they needed to work on to become better,” Callahan said. “Personal goals were things like my son writing he wanted to go a game without a passed ball. After (Wednesday’s) game asked them who had their team goal to win districts and they all raised their hand. I said, ‘What, no one wants to win sectionals?’
They know at this point all the pressure is off and they are playing with house money. It’s a loose team and hopefully we continue to play well.”
West Windsor will open Section 3 tournament play on Saturday at 10 a.m. against the District 19 champion. All games in the tournament will be played at Sunnybrae.
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor