Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 30
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
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FIRING AWAY: Princeton Post 218 pitcher Mark Madden fires a pitch in action earlier this summer. Last Wednesday, Madden provided the power as he hit a grand slam on the way to going 2-for-2 with two runs and five RBIs in Princeton’s 15-9 loss to Trenton Post 93.

Madden Goes Out With a Bang as Post 218 Wraps Up Season

Bill Alden

In his three seasons with the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team, Mark Madden has endured his share of disappointment.

After producing a promising 11-11 season in 2006, Post 218 went 5-17 last summer and brought a 3-17 record into its game last Wednesday evening against visiting Trenton Post 93.

While the steady diet of losing could’ve left Madden disillusioned, the former Princeton Day School standout hasn’t lost his competitive spirit.

After Princeton spotted Trenton a 1-0 lead in the first inning at sweltering Smoyer Park, Madden pounded a double in the bottom of the second and scored on an Eric Hoffman single to knot the game at 1-1.

Trenton responded with six runs in the top of the third to take a 7-1 lead and Princeton appeared to be headed to another lopsided loss. In the bottom of the third, Madden found himself in the thick of the action as he came up with the bases loaded.

The wiry rightfielder came through again, blasting a grand slam homer to narrow the gap to 7-5.

Madden contributed another RBI on a bases loaded walk an inning later but his heroics weren’t enough as Post 218 went on to a 15-9 loss.

Afterward, Madden was proud of how Post 218 kept fighting even though it has been weeks since it was eliminated from playoff contention in the Mercer County American Legion League (MCALL).

“It’s very easy just to give in, we could just wait for them to score three more runs and just go home,” said Madden.

“It’s hard when you are mathematically out of it and you read in the papers that there are six or seven teams that are fighting for five spots. You have a good inning and then they come back and have a good inning. It’s a little frustrating but I think we battled pretty well today. We finished with nine runs today.”

Madden enjoyed his grand slam which was originally called as a ground rule double by one umpire before the crew realized that the ball had cleared the left field fence in the air rather than on a bounce.

“I’ve had a home run before where you see it and it goes high down the left field line and you know there is no way it is staying in, especially here” added Madden, who ended the game going 2-for-2 with two runs scored and five RBIs.

“I thought that was the same as my first at bat. I knew I hit it a little bit better; I figured it was a standup double and I would be lucky if I got everyone in.”

While Madden would have wanted to see Post 218 have some more luck this summer, he has no qualms with the effort the team has put forth.

“I think we did pretty well with what we had,” said Madden, who saw his Legion career end on a high note as Post 218 edged Broad Street Park Post 313 6-5 last Friday to end the season with a 4-18 mark.

“We had injuries; we had guys leaving. The guys that you saw tonight have been here game in, game out. A lot of kids show up knowing that they aren’t going to get in. They are learning that no matter what we have, you have to do the best with what you’ve got. I think that we have done the best that we can.”

Madden was determined to go out with a bang. “I’m realizing that it’s the end of the line of American Legion for me,” added Madden, who will be continuing his baseball career at the University of the Redlands in Southern California. “I want to go out the right way and I think I’m doing it.”

A goal Madden certainly achieved with his power display last Wednesday.

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