Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 15
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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SPEEDY GONZALEZ: Princeton High junior pitcher Benito Gonzalez fires a pitch last Thursday on his way to hurling PHS to a 5-2 win over Delaware Valley. Gonzalez scattered six hits as the Little Tigers posted their first victory of the season. PHS, now 1-4, hosts Trenton High on April 15, Princeton Day School on April 16, and Allentown on April 17 before playing at Hightstown on April 18 and at WW/P-N on April 20.

Featuring Solid Pitching Triumvirate, PHS Baseball Breaks Into Win Column

Bill Alden

Dave Roberts did a lot of nervous pacing around the bench as his Princeton High baseball team battled Nottingham last Wednesday.

It was the third straight nailbiter for PHS who opened the spring by losing 2-1 to Lawrence High and 4-3 to Montgomery High, squandering late leads in the process.

With Little Tiger junior Danny Powell pitching superbly, PHS and Nottingham were locked in a scoreless tie through two innings.

After giving up a lone run in the third, Powell settled down and yielded just one run over the next three innings.

The Little Tigers, meanwhile, added a run in the bottom of the fifth on a Colby Haring RBI single to narrow the gap to 2-1.

Matt Alvarez came on in relief of Powell in the top of the seventh and showed some heat in striking out two and giving up no runs.

In the bottom of the frame, the Little Tigers put a scare into Nottingham as Powell drew a walk and Haring hit a single but the rally fizzled and PHS fell 2-1.

Afterward, first-year head coach Roberts was disappointed but not discouraged.

“We are just coming up a bit short offensively,” said Roberts. “We are running into some good pitching.”

Roberts smiled broadly when he assessed the fine pitching he has been getting from Powell, Alvarez, and junior Benito Gonzalez.

“I can’t say enough about any one of my pitching staff,” asserted Roberts.

“Those guys are giving grade A solid efforts every time out there. I have confidence in all three of those guys. I think the consistency with the work they are getting in practice is 100 percent having an effect. The walks are down tremendously from last year which is one of the big concerns of our staff.”

The performance by Powell and Alvarez in the loss to Nottingham exemplified the consistency that Roberts is seeking.

“Danny’s command was big on his list,” said Roberts. “Early on I noticed how his breaking ball was really getting over. He and Steven Fuchs [senior catcher] were working backwards and they were really keeping them off balance. Alvarez came in relief and did the job. You can’t ask for any more from those two guys.”

Roberts does need more from his batting order. “We are putting the ball into play,” said Roberts.

“We have to string together some good hits which we haven’t done. We need big hits from everyone. At no point this year are we going to thump somebody and put up 15. We are gap to gap and we have a lot of speed.”

The Little Tigers did pick up the pace a day later, topping Delaware Valley 5-2 as Eric Hoffman had three RBIs and Gonzalez scattered six hits in picking up the win on the mound.

In Roberts’ view, getting that first win will trigger some good things for a PHS program that only managed one victory last spring in going 1-22.

“I think as soon as we get that first win we are going to get on a roll,” asserted Roberts, whose team fell 7-4 to Notre Dame last Monday and will look to get on the winning track when it hosts Trenton High on April 15, Princeton Day School on April 16, and Allentown on April 17 before playing at Hightstown on April 18 and at WW/P-N on April 20.

“The confidence will be there after the first win and things will be just moving on.”

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