District play gets un­der­way to­day

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Red Birch rbirch@tren­to­nian.com @Tren­to­ni­anRed on Twit­ter

When the 2018 New Jersey Amer­i­can Le­gion base­ball district tour­na­ments be­gin Satur­day, they will be a no­tice­ably dif­fer­ent.

With num­bers down through­out parts of the state, the tour­na­ments were trimmed from eight teams in each district to four. That means each district will take five games (in­stead of 13) and three days (in­stead of four) to com­plete.

Two teams from each of the four dis­tricts will still ad­vance to the State Final 8 at Ewing’s Fred Walters Field in Frank Moody Park July 21-26.

An im­por­tant note is that all Le­gion post­sea­son games will now be seven in­nings long with a 10-run rule pos­si­ble af­ter five in­nings. That should help teams move games along and save pitch­ing.

Here in Mer­cer County, where Le­gion ball still thrives, an­other change is that the Mer­cer County Amer­i­can Le­gion League will host two of the district tour­na­ments — one at Bob DeMeo Field in Hamil­ton’s Vet­er­ans Park and one at Gilder Park in Bordentown.

As the big­gest league in the state, the MCALL has seven of the 16 rep­re­sen­ta­tives in district play, giv­ing hope for a fine fin­ish like last sum­mer when the league had three of the final four teams play­ing for the state ti­tle.

Hopewell Post 339 (22-8), which earned its third outright MCALL crown this sum­mer af­ter win­ning states and ad­vanc­ing to the Amer­i­can Le­gion World Series last sum­mer, will take part in the District 3 Tour­na­ment at Gilder Park. Man­ager Mike Co­ryell’s team will face Hills­bor­ough around 1:30 p.m. Satur­day.

Broad Street Park Post 313 (18-7), which fin­ished a game be­hind Hopewell in the MCALL race, will open play at DeMeo (District 2) when man­ager Mike Petrowski’s squad plays Pater­son at 11 a.m. Satur­day.

Hamil­ton Post 31 (15-9), the third-place fin­isher, will also play at Vet­er­ans Park as man­ager Rick Free­man’s club squares off with North War­ren Post 258 around 1:30 p.m. Satur­day.

Lawrence Post 414 (13-9) and Bordentown Post 26 (14-10) will go south to District 4 at Cam­den County Col­lege in Black­wood.

Man­ager Ja­son Ze­garski’s Post 414 team will take on the tough task of play­ing Brook­lawn Post 72 at 11 a.m. Then man­ager Tom Dolan’s Post 26 boys will play equally tough Wash­ing­ton Town­ship Post 521 at ap­prox­i­mately 1:30 p.m.

South Brunswick Post 401 (13-9) and Al­len­town (12-10) will head north to Pas­saic’s Boverini Sta­dium.

Man­ager Justin Ely’s A’town play­ers will meet Rochelle Park Post 170 at 11 a.m. be­fore man­ager Monty Forthun’s Post 401 squad takes on Whitehouse Sta­tion Post 284 (for­merly Flem­ing­ton Post 159) at ap­prox­i­mately 1:30 p.m.

Satur­day’s los­ing teams will play the early game Sun­day with Satur­day’s win­ners play­ing the se­cond game Sun­day.

The win­ners of Sun­day’s se­cond game au­to­mat­i­cally ad­vance to the Final 8.

The teams with one loss af­ter Sun­day will play Mon­day to de­ter­mine the district’s sec­ond­place team.

N.J. Amer­i­can Le­gion Base­ball

TREN­TO­NIAN FILE PHOTO

Hopewell Post 339 be­gins the de­fense of its state Amer­i­can Le­gion ti­tle on Satur­day with a game against Hills­bor­ough at Gilder Park.

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