Vol. LXI, No. 30
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
TOP 10s: Members of the Princeton Little League 10-year-old all stars are all smiles after qualifying for the Final Nine in the District 12 tournament. In the front row, from left, are David Yang, Sean Duffy, Steve Majeski, Jeff Gleason, Jack Buyske, and Marquis Henderson. In the middle row, from left, are Alex Deutsch, Zack Tesone, Gideon Friedberg, Mike Clancy, Rob Mooney, John Reid, and Michael Murray. In the back row, from left, are manager Sean Clancy and coach John Murray.
It had been a long, long day for the Princeton Little League 10-year-old all stars.
Princeton's game against West Windsor in the District 12 Final Nine on July 17 had been delayed for more than an hour due to a cloudburst with the teams not hitting Sayen Field in Hamilton until 9:15 p.m.
Heading into the sixth inning, Princeton trailed 5-2 as the clock headed to 11 and had plenty of reason to go through the motions and just get home.
But facing elimination, Princeton wasn't about to go out with a whimper as it loaded the bases with no outs.The rally ultimately fizzled as West Windsor made two force-outs at the plate and then forced a fly out to get the final out and a hard-earned 5-2 victory.
Princeton manager Sean Clancy was not surprised that his team fought hard to the end."Everybody was up and cheering in the dugout; everyone was supporting each other," said Clancy. "The boys kept fighting. When we didn't score, nobody was hanging their head."
Clancy wasn't the only one who took notice of his team's spirit and skill. "I told them after the game that they played very well and that I was proud of their effort," recalled Clancy.
"One of the District 12 officials came up to me and told me that in his 25 years he had never seen a team improve so much from the beginning of the tournament to the end."
Princeton's dramatic 8-7 win over perennial power Sunnybrae in the Final Nine symbolized the team's improvement.
Princeton trailed 6-4 after three innings but scored the game's next four runs to take an 8-6 lead as Rob Mooney led the way with three hits, three runs, and a key RBI. With Zack Tesone pitching strongly out of the bullpen and Jack Buyske spearheading the infield defense, Princeton held on for an 8-7 win.
"We've only beaten a team from that league once in the eight or nine years I've been involved with Princeton," said Clancy.
"We're not good enough to make mistakes and beat a team like that. We have to keep our focus the whole game and we did that day."
Clancy tipped his hat to the efforts of Mooney, Tesone, and Buyske in the win over Sunnybrae. "Mooney really hit the ball well for us; he's keeping his family legacy alive," said Clancy, noting that Mooney's brothers are all superb athletes in their right. "Tesone is a good kid; he really came up big in that game. Buyske really played well defensively at second."
A key to Princeton's success was its camaraderie. "I would say complete support of each other and the willingness to be open to new things," said Clancy when reflecting on what set the team apart.
"We made a ton of progress. We've only been together since the end of our regular season while some of the other teams are together year-round playing travel ball. To get out of pool play was great."
Clancy said he got some great play from several players. "Mike Clancy pitched a no-hitter against 6-11 to help us advance from the pool," said Clancy.
"Sean Duffy had a great attitude; he was always pumping us up. Jeffrey Gleason pitched and played shortstop. Alex Deutsch ended up catching a lot for us and did a good job."
Mooney lead the team in runs scored with 10 while Clancy paced with 12 RBIs. Mooney and Clancy each had 11 hits while Gleason walked 8 times and scored 7 runs.
In Clancy's view, the players should continue to make an impact in their final two summers of Little League ball. "I think they'll keep up the effort," asserted Clancy. "They are a nice group. It was a great experience coaching them; they are a very responsive group of young people. I've been around a lot of groups and these guys really supported each other. You can accomplish a lot with that kind of attitude."
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