Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 28
 
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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SEEING PROGRESS: Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball manager Tommy Parker surveys the action on the diamond earlier this summer. Going with a lineup comprised largely of high school freshmen and sophomores, Post 218 showed progress this summer, winning four games in the last week of the season to end with a final record of 5-17.

Cordonnier Helps Post 218 Hang in There; Young Club Produces Wins Down the Stretch

Bill Alden

Luke Cordonnier felt arm weary and didn’t have his best stuff as he pitched for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team last Thursday evening.

But Cordonnier, a rising junior at Princeton High, didn’t have any quit in him as he battled Lawrence Post 414 at Smoyer Park.

“I pitched Tuesday and Saturday so I was little fatigued,” said the red-haired Cordonnier. “My curveball hasn’t been my best pitch but it was on today. It was breaking a lot better.”

While Cordonnier battled on the mound, things weren’t breaking well for the Post 218 batters as the team was shut out through five innings.

In the top of the sixth, the Post 218 bats came alive as Phil Pecora singled in the tying run and Kevin Francfort cracked a two-run double to put Princeton ahead 3-1 going into the final inning.

In the last frame, Cordonnier struggled a bit, walking one and giving up a single with another runner getting on base on an infield error. But with the help of three fine putouts by centerfielder James Bunn, Cordonnier pitched out of the jam as Post 218 held on for the 3-1 win.

“I lost my control a little bit in the last inning; they got some dinky hits,” said Cordonnier, who gave up five hits on the evening as Princeton improved to 5-15 on the season. “We had good defense in the outfield. I am comfortable with letting them hit the ball.”

With three wins in the last week, Cordonnier is developing a comfort level on the mound as the summer goes on.

“Mostly through the game I have been hitting spots and allowing our defense to play good baseball,” said Cordonnier, who picked up wins against Broad Street Park Post 313 and Hopewell Post 339.

Cordonnier’s hitting has also improved as he has been providing punch in the middle of the Post 218 lineup.

“My hitting is finally coming around,” said Cordonnier, who hit a three-run homer in a 9-7 loss to Ewing Post 314 last Wednesday and had six RBIs in a sweep of Broad Street Park the day before.

“I saw this level of competition in high school this year but I didn’t play well. I just have been getting more reps and have been seeing the ball well.”

Post 218 has been playing well down the stretch as its young players have stepped up to the high level of competition in the Mercer County American Legion League (MCALL).

“We are finally becoming like a team; we come from seven different schools,” said Cordonnier.

“It is hard for us to know everybody; we have stuck together the whole season. We have had some pretty good baseball; we have played with the best teams.”

Post 218 manager Tommy Parker liked the way Cordonnier stuck with it in the win over Lawrence.

“Luke was very composed today; I think he threw like 70 pitches in seven innings,” said Parker.

“His breaking ball was breaking right. It was a total team effort; Luke held it for us. You can see him growing; he is growing and learning out there on the field.”

Parker can see his young team growing collectively. “Everybody stayed together,” asserted Parker, noting that the team is comprised largely of players coming off their freshman and sophomore year in high school.

“They have not been overwhelmed; they just come out here and play. They are really passionate about playing; they have fun. They are getting experience; they are believing in themselves. They have worked hard.”

Post 218 has been getting some good work from Bunn in center field.

“Jimmy Bunn is the man; he is a bona fide center fielder,” said Parker, whose team fell 11-2 to Bordentown Post 26 last Saturday to end the season 5-17 as it won one more game than in 2008. “He has instinct; he knows how to be in the right place.”

In Parker’s view, shortstop Horan also has the right stuff. “Horan has been an iron man for us,” said Parker of Horan, a rising sophomore who played this past spring at Princeton Day School.

“He’s started and played in every game. He never wants to sit down; he really has a passion for the game. I think he is going to be something special.”

Cordonnier, for his part, thinks the progress he has made this summer could help him be something special for Post 218 and PHS.

“During the high school season, I lost my confidence,” acknowledged Cordonnier. “I had a big slide; I couldn’t hit at all. Now I have gained my confidence back. I am ready to go back out there and play.”

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