Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 28
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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POWER SOURCE: Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball star Luke Cordonnier gets ready to bat in recent action. Last week, former Princeton High star and Greensboro College-bound Cordonnier smacked a pair of two-run homers in a 10-4 loss to Robbinsville Post 530.

Cordonnier Providing Power Hitting, Leadership As Post 218 Baseball Goes Through Growing Pains

Bill Alden

Giving up four runs in the top of the first inning to Robbinsville Post 530 last week, the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team could have rolled over.

Bringing a 1-17 record into the contest and going with a depleted lineup, Princeton had every reason to go meekly into the night at Smoyer Park.

But Luke Cordonnnier was determined to slug Princeton back into the contest.

In the bottom of the first, the recent Princeton High grad skied a ball over the right field fence for a two-run home run. Two innings later, with Robbinsville having scored to make it a 5-2 lead, Cordonnier lined a two-run homer to right to cut the deficit to one.

For Cordonnier, the first homer was a surprise while the second one felt just right.

“It was hard to tell off the barrel,” said Cordonnier, referring to the first inning roundtripper. “I knew the second one was out. I got my hips set and squared it up and got a nice line drive.”

Unfortunately, Cordonnier’s blasts were all the offense Princeton could muster on the evening as it went on to a 10-4 defeat.

For Cordonnier, who will be playing for Greensboro College next spring, the summer has been frustrating and productive at the same time.

“I am playing for this team, trying to get out and win these games for us,” said Cordonnier, who is hitting over .400 this summer with five homers and 16 RBIs.

“I am also focused on getting ready for next year; you still have to maintain baseball in your head. It is good competition all around, most of these kids are all going to play in college too. The pitching is good.”

In Cordonnier’s view, Post 218 has maintained a good attitude even as the losses have piled up.

“Everybody is keeping their heads up,” said Cordonnier. “Of course it is frustrating to have only one win so far. We go out and play hard games everyday; we have only gotten blown out a few times.”

Post 218 manager Tommy Parker likes the way his players have kept fighting hard.

“There is no defeat until they call the last out and you have to play that way,” said Parker, the only manager the Post 218 program has had in its 23 years of existence.

“I said to them we know you are disappointed but build on that. You want to contribute; I said turn that around and that is hunger. You want to compete and contribute to the process. Stay hungry and it will turn around. They have a lot of fun.”

Parker has had fun this summer seeing the development of some of his younger players.

“We are the youngest team in the league; we are definitely going through some growing pains but you do see highlights,” said Parker, whose club moved to 1-20 with a 10-1 loss to Hamilton Post 31 last Thursday.

“Ellis Bloom and Rohit Chawla have been unfazed when they have been in the game and on the mound. Ben Gross has been fantastic; his pitching record doesn’t indicate how well he has actually pitched and he is also one of the team’s offensive leaders. Marcus Henderson has been a tremendous asset for us also. He has a great attitude; the kid loves the game and it is infectious. He brings that to the team.”

Post 218 has gotten some great leadership from the trio of Cordonnier, Nico Mercuro, and Beau Horan.

“I like the attitude of Luke, Nico, and Beau; they are kind of relishing being the elder statesmen,” added Parker.

“Luke has demonstrated that with his hitting and the fact that he has played every position we have asked him to play, first, third, or pitching. Nico has never caught and he did a great job behind the plate today; he is an excellent athlete. Beau has been a vacuum for us at shortstop; I just love watching this kid play. He has been solid.”

Cordonnier’s solid hitting has been a major bright spot for Princeton this summer.

“Luke has stayed up from his high school season, he has stayed hot all spring and into the summer,” said Parker. “His hitting has been tremendous, he has kept us close in a lot of games.”

In Parker’s view, the lumps Princeton is taking this summer should help it win more games in the future.

“I have the coach’s perfect dilemma because I only lose two ballplayers,” said Parker. “It’s all good. All these kids will be back and they will have veteran experience.”

Cordonnier, for his part, is imparting his veteran experience to help the team’s younger players.

“I think this is my fifth year with the Le

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