The Bordentown American Legion Post 26 baseball team will bid to shake off a rare defeat and return to its winning ways.
Bordentown’s American Legion Post 26 has enjoyed a fine summer season in the Mercer County American Legion League (MCALL), winning 14 of its first 15 games.
Bordentown’s early surge ran into a roadblock when Post 26 fell to Hamilton Post 31, 12-4, on July 7.
The defeat, in a game that was played at Rich Giallella Field on the Steinert High School campus in Hamilton, left Bordentown with a still fine 14-2 record.
With the MCALL regular season schedule set to finish on July 17, Bordentown manager Tom Dolan is keen to get his squad back on track in time for the district playoffs after the Hamilton loss.
“They have things to look forward to,” Dolan said. “I told them to just forget about this game and come back and refocus for the next game, and be ready to play.”
Bordentown, who had led a majority of the MCALL season at the top of the standings, was knocked off by a half a game after the Hamilton game.
Bordentown’s batters came out hot in the first inning with shortstop Chris Wade, who drove a single into left field and eventually came around and scored on a double from leftfielder Dillon Drew.
Singles from first baseman Will Mesa and centerfielder John Schroeder brought Drew across home plate when Bordentown earned a 2-0 lead.
But Hamilton struck back with four runs in its half of the first inning and held the lead for the remainder of the game.
Bordentown starting pitcher Tyler Blue opened the game with three straight walks, while two errors helped Hamilton score four times in the first.
“We came out good with a 2-0 lead. We had a good mojo going and then our pitcher walks three guys,” Dolan said. “All of the sudden, you see everyone in the infield with their heads down, not ready to play and to make the plays. When they couldn’t make the plays, they didn’t. But you have to give [Hamilton] credit. When they hit the ball, they hit the ball hard.”
When Blue worked himself into another jam on the mound in the third inning, pitcher Tommy Niedermaier came on in relief, but committed a walk and a hit to allow another run across the plate.
Although Bordentown made their best effort to notch a run back in the fourth inning with a run scored by Mesa, Hamilton unloaded with a seven-run inning in the fourth to ice the game.
Bordentown’s standouts were Wade, who finished with two hits and a run scored; Drew, who recorded a double and single, an RBI, a run scored and a walk; Mesa, who collected a double and a single with a run scored; and Schroeder, who ended with two hits, an RBI and a runs cored.
With four errors committed by the Bordentown defense along with the influx of walks allowed by the pitchers, Dolan pointed out that his team may have struggled, but is confident in his team’s ability to rebound.
“The biggest thing is pitchers hitting their spots,” he said. “The pitchers have to gives us a chance to make the plays. Today, that was our biggest problem. Our pitchers have been on spot all year, but this was an old-fashioned whooping. I told the team that we are still in there. It’s bound to happen and better teams will bounce back.”
With a strong schedule ahead of Bordentown, which faced Broad Street Park away on July 8, Lawrence at home on July 9 and Hopewell away on July 10, the skipper said three simple tasks will put his team back on track.
“Pitchers hitting their spots, us making plays and just playing baseball,” Dolan said.
Bordentown’s next game is against Hamilton on July 12 at Gilder Field in Bordentown Township.
With less than 10 days to go in the regular season, Dolan said he will look to see what his team is made of down the home stretch and is hopeful that Bordentown can be the host to the playoffs.
“We have a tough schedule, so we’re looking forward to playing how we can play,” he said. “If we win the districts, we are staying home at Gilder Field since we are hosting it this year, so that will give us a little bit of an advantage.”
The New Jersey American Legion will play the state final at Kean University in Union and the MCALL will be the host to two districts this summer at Bob DeMeo Field in Hamilton’s Veterans Park and Bordentown’s Gilder Field on July 20-22.