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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)

FEELING RICH: Princeton-Cranbury Senior Babe Ruth star Richie Von der Schmidt launches a two-run homer last Thursday to help P-C to a 4-0 win over Hopewell. The win was the fifth straight for Princeton, which is now in third place in the nine-team league.
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Sizzling Princeton Senior Babe Ruth Blanks Hopewell for 5th Win in a Row

By Bill Alden

Scott Goldsmith has gone outside the box to get the most out of the players he coaches on the Princeton-Cranbury Senior Babe Ruth squad.

Goldsmith certainly utilized an unorthodox approach in getting Richie Von der Schmidt's bat on fire. "We have been playing wiffle ball here and there at his house and working on his stance," explained Goldsmith. "At our last wiffle ball game he was hitting like a machine."

The progress made at the wiffle ball games has carried over into game action as Von der Schmidt hit a key double in Princeton-Cranbury's 11-3 win over Trenton and then cracked a two-run homer last Thursday as P-C blanked Hopewell Babe Ruth 4-0 to extend its winning streak to five and improve to 6-4 on the summer.

"Richie's offensive contribution has been nothing but rewarding," added Goldsmith. "He has not only been hitting the long ball but he's getting RBIs in situations that matter."

Another P-C player who has been coming through in key situations is pitcher Bryce Metro, who went the distance in earning the shutout against Hopewell. "Bryce was outstanding in that effort," asserted Goldsmith, whose club has climbed to third place thanks to its torrid play of late.

"I've been coaching Bryce since he has been 12 and I can count on him to go the whole game and be strong throughout the game. He seems to get in the groove as the game goes on better than any pitcher I know. He stays ahead in the count and gets the strikeouts that matter."

During the club's hot streak, the team has shown a collective ability to do the things that matter when it comes to playing winning baseball.

"Our mindset since the beginning of the year has changed in that we know now that we can play competitive baseball and stay in the game all seven innings," said Goldsmith. "The players believe if they hit the ball well, we will win the game. It has been nothing but fun for the team and our fans. Everybody has been playing and showing what they can do."

The club is getting good play all over the field. "Our two catchers, Matt Gerard and Chris Fiorentini have stepped up," maintained Goldsmith.

"They have both done a great job defensively behind home plate. Matt has also had his fair share of RBIs when he's not catching and playing at the DH spot. Tyler Distasio has been clutch at both the DH spot and in right field. He has been been amazing on the base patch along with Erik Cooper, who is leading the team in stolen bases."

Goldsmith is hoping his team can maintain the focus it has displayed over the last few weeks. "I'm not concerned with us being being overconfident but I am concerned about the players getting lazy," said Goldsmith, whose club plays Western Monmouth on July 28 at Hilltop before playing Lawrence on August 2 at Eggerts Crossing.

"When we play teams we know we should beat, we don't get overconfident but some of our routines are not at 100 percent. We need to make sure that we stay into games all the way through."

If his players can stick to their routines, P-C could be looking at a big finish. "We are on a great streak and we hope to finish the season on a high note," added Goldsmith.

"We want to bring the same intensity into the playoffs and hopefully make it to the championship. Right now, we feel we are the team to beat."

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