Yard­ley Post 317 fight­ing to stay on top

The Advance of Bucks County - - WORD ON THE STREET - By Steve Sher­man

Buck­sLo­calS­ports Edi­tor The team to beat thus far in Lower Bucks Amer­i­can Le­gion League play is Yard­ley Post 317. Dur­ing the high school sea­son, Ne­shaminy took the Sub­ur­ban One League (SOL) National Con­fer­ence by storm with a 13-1 record and it looks like Post 317 has picked up where the Red­skins left off.

As of June 22, Western was 10-1 over­all and 8-1 in LBALL SODy. A VLJnL­ficDnW ad­di­tion to the Post 317 ros­ter this sum­mer is re­cent Ne­shaminy grad­u­ate Justin An­drews, who is play­ing KLV firVW DnG SrREDEOy KLV only sea­son with the team.

At least two of Western’s 10 wins were recorded by An­drews on the mound. An­drews was on the hill in a re­cent win over Bris­tol and also helped Post 317 win a dou­ble­header June 2 at Northamp­ton. Of­fen­sively, he bats lead­off for one rea­son – he gets on base.

“Hav­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced player like him is a huge as­set to our team,” said Post 317 head coach Dave Vac­caro. “He’s do­ing a tremen­dous job in the lead­off spot and on the hill for us.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, An­drews brings a com­pet­i­tive edge to the plate.

“He’s a com­peti­tor and he wants to win – al­ways,” said as­sis­tant coach Chris Te­naglia. “When the team loses, he takes that hard.”

In the fall, An­drews heads off to North­east Con­fer­ence ri­val Mon­mouth in West Long Branch, N.J.

♦♦♦ Thus far, Western is win­ning the close ones, tak- ing a pair of 2-1 con­quests over Bris­tol and Yard­leyMor­risville along with a 7-4 con­quest of Northamp­ton Post 436 June 2 at the Civic Cen­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to Vac­caro, the in­stal­la­tion of wooden bats this sum­mer has changed the ap­proach taken by Lower Bucks Le­gion pitch­ers.

“The wood bats have been the equal­izer; you go out and you chal­lenge hit­ters more than you did in the past,” said Vac­caro. “In the past, you get in an RBI sit­u­a­tion with a guy at the plate you might pitch him around him and not give him any­thing to hit.

“That’s not the case now. You chal­lenge the zone, chal­lenge the hit­ter and see what they can do with the wood.”

The new equip­ment has cut down on the num­ber of hits this sea­son, says Vac­caro, adding that his team’s ap­proach to bat­ting has also changed this sum­mer.

“We’re look­ing at the game in a dif­fer­ent way and we’re just look­ing to put the ball in play,” the coach said. “Those 350-foot bombs are WurnLnJ LnWR 300-IRRW fly balls.”

The in­tro­duc­tion of lum­ber in the league has forced many teams to play small­ball. Take Post 317’s sec­ond game of the sea­son ver­sus Yard­ley Mor­risville as an ex­am­ple. With the sides dead­locked at a run apiece, Western pushed run­ners to sec­ond and third in the bot­tom of the sixth. With the Ln­fiHOG Ln WryLnJ WR SrHVHrYH a run, Post 317 man­aged to push a ball through to score the go-ahead and win­ning run.

Ne­shaminy ju­nior Evan Mul­hol­land got the win ver­sus Y-M. He also pitched a com­plete game shutout in 8-0 vic­tory over Northamp­ton in a re­cent matchup at home against the Bombers. In ad­di­tion to pitch­ing con­tri­bu­tions from An­drews and Muhol­land, Ne­haminy grad Tom Kreil­ing is 1-0 and has pitched well in sev­eral re­lief ap­pear­ances.

“Our back­bone has been our pitch­ing and our de­fense, keep­ing our­selves in the ball­game early.”

“We haven’t jumped on teams right out of the gate but we’ve been play­ing well de­fen­sively to keep the game in hand so that when the time came for us to strike, we struck.”

Play­ers com­ing through with the big bats thus far for Post 317 in­clude An­drews, Kreil­ing, Mul­hol­land and Matt Gra­ham, a Ne­shaminy sopho­more. The pro­duc­tion is com­ing from all over the lineup how­ever, says Vac­caro, an­other byprod­uct of the wooden bats.

“We’re keep­ing the game at hand and we’re putting the ball in play and chal­leng­ing teams de­fen­sively,” said Vac­caro.

While most of the wins for Western have been lows­cor­ing af­fairs, Post 317 has won big against win­less Lower Southamp­ton twice – 17-6 and 12-2 – while blank­ing Northamp­ton 8-0 in a re­cent matchup at Ne­shaminy.

“In some of those games where we put a lot of runs up, there was mis­takes on

their part de­fen­sively so helped us out a lot.

“Clean-played games de­fen­sively on both ends are go­ing to be close-scor­ing games be­cause there’s not go­ing to be a lot of 5-, 67-run in­nings.

“A ball in the air out.”

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NOTES: As of June 22, Western’s only loss was June 4 against Falls, which won 2-1. Post 317 was hang­ing on to a 1-0 lead when Beau Flem­ing came up to bat in the sev­enth and hit a two-run home run. Falls also won both ends of a June 23 dou­ble­header wLWK :HsWHUQ. ♦♦

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