Yardley Post 317 fighting to stay on top
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.”
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. ♦♦