Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 33
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
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SOUTH PARK: Members of the Princeton Babe Ruth 13-year-old all star team are all smiles after finishing second in the recently held South Brunswick tournament. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Kyle Costanzo. Gideon Friedberg, Ben Danis, Chris Munoz, and Alex Deutsch. In the middle row, from left, are Aidan Bitterman, Marquis Henderson, Jeffrey Gleason, and Jack Buyske. In the back row, from left, are Zach Tesone, manager; James Tesone, manager; coach Bryan Devlin; coach Bill Gleason; and coach Steve Buyske.

Relying on Preparation and Balance, Babe Ruth 13s Made 3 Tourney Finals

Bill Alden

Coming into the summer tournament season, Jim Tesone was confident that the Princeton Babe Ruth 13-year-old all stars were ready to do some damage.

“We had a nice balance; we were trying to be better and compete at a high level but have more kids involved,” said Princeton manager Tesone.

“We kept them together in the winter; we did work at batting cage and we went to the John Witherspoon gym and did some throwing. In some years, the guys have come out on April 1 and they haven’t touched a bat and glove since the summer. Our guys came in a little better prepared.”

The team’s preparation and depth paid dividends as Princeton made the finals of three summer tournaments, going 9-3 in pool play in those tourneys with a 3-0 mark in semifinal play.

Princeton culminated the summer on a high note by playing simultaneously in tournaments in South Brunswick and Hillsborough, taking second in each.

In Tesone’s view, the team’s win over Manalapan in the semis of the South Brunswick tourney was a highlight of the summer.

“They had beaten us in a squeaker in pool play; it was one of those days when we had games in two different tournaments,” said Tesone, whose team also posted a solid 4-0 win over Ewing in the District 1 tournament before getting eliminated in that competition.

“We had our best game of the season in the semis; we had 10 runs in the first inning; every guy got a hit in the inning.”

The club showed its grit in taking a hard road to the finals in the Hillsborough tournament.

“We seem to have a habit of losing in pool play,” said Tesone. “In our first pool game we were up 6-1 and had a defensive meltdown and lost 9-8. Every game after that was a must win and the boys rose to the occasion.”

Over the course of the summer, everyone on the roster rose to the occasion at one point or another. The team’s offense was sparked by Zach Tesone, Ben Danis, and Gideon Friedberg. Tesone and Danis also starred on the mound with key contributions from Jeff Gleason and Chris Munoz. Slick glovework was provided by Tesone, Gleason, Marquis Henderson, and Kyle Costanzo, among others.

For Tesone, one of the most rewarding aspects of the summer was the improvement he saw in his players.

“We saw incredible growth from players like Chris Munoz and Aidan Bitterman,” asserted Tesone.

“Aidan really showed a passion to grow as a baseball player and I was able to spend a lot of time with him. This is a group where [assistant coach] Bill Gleason and I wanted to include some of the boys who were not involved in the past. We had had seven or eight core players and we had different guys filling in at spots 8-12.”

Getting more guys involved should benefit the Princeton High baseball program as well as the Babe Ruth squad.

“It is a nice seed for the freshman team at Princeton High, we have something like eight players who will be going on to high school,” said Tesone.

“Our intent is to keep the team together; we will be playing fall ball where we focus on building skills. We experimented last fall and played guys at different positions. I think it was the seed for their success this summer.”

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