July 3, 2018

Starting 2-0 in Section 3 Intermediate Tourney, Princeton Advances to Championship Round

TITLE RACE: Princeton Little League (PLL) star A.J. Surace takes a cut in Intermediate 50/70 playoff action. Last Friday, Surace contributed two hits to help Princeton rally to a 12-9 win over host Middletown in the opener of the Section 3 tournament. PLL topped Beachwood 11-9 a day later to advance to the championship round of the double-elimination competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After rolling to the District 12 Intermediate 50/70 title, outscoring Millstone-Roosevelt 26-6 in the two-team tournament, the Princeton Little League (PLL) squad showed a flair for drama as it competed at the Section 3 tourney last weekend in Middletown.

In its opening game at the double-elimination tourney last Friday, Princeton fell behind early to host Middletown, trailing 5-2 going into the sixth inning before exploding for nine runs in the sixth inning on the way to a 12-9 victory.

Jonathan Tao led the charge in the comeback win with three hits, three runs, and one RBI with A.J. Surace adding two hits. Jack Durbin scored two runs with one hit, and two RBI’s.  Rohan Sheth pitched four and one-third strong innings with six strikeouts. Dan Harlan earned the save, closing out the final one two-third innings to seal the win for PLL.

A day later against Beachwood, PLL scored nine runs in the second inning to jump out to a 9-1 lead and then fought off a late charge to pull out an 11-9 triumph. Jonathan Tao starred with three hits and two RBIs and pitched the final three and two-thirds innings striking out six batters.  Danny Harlan had three hits including a key two-out double in the top of the seventh inning to expand Princeton’s lead to 11-9. Gordon Grandbouche added three hits, two runs, and one RBI. 

By winning their first two games at the competition, PLL advanced to the championship round where it will play the winner of the semifinal game between Middletown and Beachwood. The final round was slated to begin on July 3 with PLL needing one win to clinch the title. If Princeton loses that contest, there will be a decisive final game on July 5.