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Vol. LXIII, No. 27
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
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Princeton Little League 12s Go 0-3 but Show Fighting Spirit to the End

Brian Roach

Sean Clancy was never worried about the fight in his Princeton 12-year-old Little League all stars.

Despite dropping three consecutive contests in the District 12 Little League baseball tournament, Princeton manager Clancy remained upbeat about his team’s effort and performance.

“Baseball’s always a funny game sometimes you go out there and play a good, close game, and other times, the ball just doesn’t seem to bounce your way,” said Clancy, whose team played in Pool C of the competition.

The Princeton 12s got off to a promising start in the tournament when they rallied but fell just short in a 7-6 extra inning loss to HTRBA on June 29.

A night later, Princeton couldn’t get its offense going, falling 10-0 to West Windsor. The squad ended pool play with an 8-1 defeat to Cranbury-Plainsboro last Friday.

Even after the disappointing loss to West Windsor, Clancy saw positives in Princeton’s effort.

“I think that the one, two, and three hitters did a good job recognizing [starting pitcher] Sean O’Brien’s breaking ball,” said Clancy.

“Brock [DeHaven] also had a good at bat. He was tough and stayed with it he never gave in.”

For Clancy, DeHaven’s at-bat mirrored the mentality of his young, resilient club.

“That’s the great thing about these kids, they never give up,” Clancy said. “And I’m really proud of that.”

Clancy suggested that his team wasn’t well-suited for the bandbox field at which it played West Windsor.

“Jeff Gleason plays in a bigger ballpark during the school year,” said Clancy, referring to one of his top starting pitchers.

“He’s primarily a fly ball pitcher. Unfortunately, fly balls here at Cranbury-Plainsboro Park end up across the street for home runs.”

While Clancy was quick to acknowledge that baseball contests at all levels may be decided, in part, by factors out of players’ control, he was confident that his staff came up big in the only area of the game within their reach.

“What the kids can control in these games is their effort going out there and giving it 100 percent,” Clancy said. “And these kids did that, last night and tonight. I think that’s what is really important in these games.”

Although Princeton’s positive mindset won’t show up in any box score, Clancy was impressed with his team’s cooperation and understanding.

“The kids are great,” said Clancy, insisting that he would take his entire roster home if he were given the chance.

“They are hard workers, real smart kids, and they’re supportive of each other. Even with the tournament substitution rules, I’ve never heard any of them complain about who has to sit and who doesn’t.”

While Princeton’s 0-3 record in the opening round of the tournament eliminated it from the competition, Clancy didn’t lose sight of what he believes to be the true importance of Little League baseball.

“The District 12 tournament is a good experience for the kids,” asserted Clancy. “The great thing about baseball is that these kids play their best and when they go home, they know that mom and dad still love them no matter what the score was.”

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