Redbirds trying to regroup as state baseball tournament approaches


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The main focus for the members of the Allentown High School baseball team during the next few weeks will be to prepare themselves for the upcoming Central Jersey Group III state sectional tournament.

The Redbirds (10-7-1) will try to bounce back from a streak that has seen them go 2-5 in their last seven games.

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“We have to start winning games,” Coach Brian Nice said. “We have to get better in practice and play better baseball in games.”

Playing better baseball will be the prime focus for the Redbirds, who lost to the Pennington School, 7-2, in the first round of the 2022 Mercer County Tournament on May 5 in Allentown. The Redbirds fell behind the Red Raiders 7-0 en route to the loss.

“The past couple of weeks have not gone our way,” Nice said after the loss. “We have started to play some better teams and see better pitching. We did not get enough hits (today) with runners in scoring position and they did. They made more plays than us. That’s what it comes down to.”

The Redbirds started the season with eight wins and a tie in their first 11 games and showed they have the talent to compete against the top teams in their Central Jersey Group III state sectional bracket.

Leading the way at the plate have been centerfielder Jack Sweeney and shortstop Mike Doran. Sweeney is batting .412 with 21 hits, 23 RBIs, 22 runs scored, three home runs and nine stolen bases. Doran leads the Redbirds with 22 hits.

Catcher Joe Butera has contributed 17 hits and 16 RBIs and is working well with the pitching staff which is led by lefthander Eddie Werse.

Werse is 3-2 while pitching to a 2.46 ERA. Righthander Mike Timberlake and lefthander J.D. Alster follow Werse in the rotation.

Doran has pitched well in relief, compiling a 2-0 record with one save and a 1.05 ERA.

The pieces appear to be in place for the Redbirds to contend for a state sectional title and Nice believes his players can turn things around by the time the tournament begins.

“We have the team to do it. We just have to get better. The results we have had lately have not been good enough because we have not been playing well enough. We have three weeks to figure it out,” the coach said.

Allentown returns to action in the Colonial Valley Conference with a home game against Notre Dame on May 9 and a contest with Robbinsville on May 12.

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