The West Windsor-Plainsboro Babe Ruth Baseball League is having a great summer.
Two West Windsor-Plainsboro Babe Ruth teams, the 15U all-star team and the 14U all-star squad, reached the Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament in late July. Both clubs advanced by placing third in their respective New Jersey state tournaments in mid July.
West Windsor-Plainsboro’s 15U squad clinched at least a third place finish with a 10-3 victory over Millville on July 13 in Ewing Township. The league’s 14U all-stars secured at least a third place finish with a 15-8 triumph over Jersey Shore on July 13 in Hamilton Township.
The West Windsor-Plainsboro all-stars hail from West Windsor Township, Plainsboro Township, Cranbury and Princeton.
The 15U squad consists of Zach Naddelman, Carl Birge, Chris Cordasco, A.J. Friedman, Flynn Kinney, Caleb Kempler, Andrew Lambert, Max Lasky, Palmer Maurer, Owen McCarron, Connor McDowell, Drew Petrone, James Petrone, Jaxson Petrone and Lewen Sun.
The 14U team features Jude Blaser, Aiden Castillo, Matt Chi, Jack Durbin, Peter Hare, Danny Harlan, Danny Hu, Jack Liggio, Wes Price, Kenny Schiavone, Theo Steiger, Jonathan Tao, Chase Vitulli and Jake Zuckerman.
“For the 15U kids, it’s their last year of Babe Ruth, so they felt it was important to come back and play well,” said Andrew Liggio, a coach in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Babe Ruth League. “And with 14U we have a bunch of new kids who worked together great and quickly.”
“They have just gotten better as the summer went on,” he added.
Both teams have been hitting, pitching and fielding well this summer. They have also been getting contributions from a variety of players.
In its victory over Millville in the state tournament, the 15U team got strong pitching from Connor McDowell and Caleb Kempler. Max Lasky and Carl Birge both knocked in two runs.
In its triumph over Jersey Shore in the state bracket, the 14U squad received solid relief pitching from Danny Harlan and Jonathan Tao. Danny Hu, Aiden Castillo, Jack Liggio, Jack Durbin and Chase Vitulli all drove in multiple runs.
“The bottom line is I trust every one of them up and down,” Liggio said of the 14U club, which he manages.
But he could have just as easily been referring to the 15U group.
West Windsor-Plainsboro has a lot of baseball talent this summer, and both teams will try to keep their runs going through the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament. In each field, 15U and 14U, the Mid-Atlantic Regional will only send its champion to the Babe Ruth League World Series, which starts on Aug. 8. The 14U World Series will take place in Demopolis, AL. and the 15U Series will be played in Bismarck, North Dakota.
There are 10 teams in the 14U bracket and eight in the 15U bracket in the Mid-Atlantic Regional, so the West Windsor-Plainsboro teams face uphill climbs.
The 14U team is off to a good start, beating two opponents by a combined score of 30-11 on July 21 at Switlik Park in Hamilton. It is scheduled to play in a quarterfinal game on July 24.
The 15U squad is not off to as good of a start, dropping a game on July 20 and another on July 21, both in Somers Point. Now the 15U team needs to win to stay in the tournament.
Liggio is confident in his 14U club.
“We’ll stay in every game with defense and chip away with our run scoring,” he said.