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2008 Baseball Tournament 8s

Bordentown Tournament
July 30, 2008
 
The West Windsor 8-Year-Old All Stars once again did not allow an early deficit to spoil their pursuit of a title as they pounded HTRBA over the final three innings to take the Bordentown Tournament Championship game, 13-3, on Wednesday night.  Unlike the road to WW’s Lawrence Tournament championship earlier this month, the boys had to fight back from behind in all three elimination games in Bordentown.
 
Starting pitcher Matthew Michibata held HTRBA scoreless through two innings thanks to big outfield catches by Brian Murphy and Michal Knox before some big hits gave HTRBA a 3-0 lead in the top of the third.  Murphy got the final out of the inning when he induced a groundout to second baseman Jack Lichtenstein with the bases loaded.
 
Murphy was unaware that the out would make him the game’s winning pitcher, since WW came back with four runs in its half.  Matthew Bergman, who walked and scored three times, and Blake Brown walked to lead off the inning.  David Philbin’s RBI groundout brought home Bergman and Erik Howard’s bomb to the left center field gap plated Brown.  With runners on second and third, Lichtenstein’s ground out to second tied the game and Murphy lined a single up the middle to give WW the lead it would not relinquish.
 
Dylan Welch got out of the fourth inning unscathed when Michibata trapped a liner in front of third base and fed shortstop Brown covering at third base for a forceout.  Brown, in a heads-up play, noticed the HTRBA batter did not run and alertly doubled him up with a throw to Murphy at first.
 
Brown’s athleticism paid off in the fifth.  With the HTRBA leadoff hitter on first, the next batter hit a smash to Ryan Strype at second.  The ball eluded Strype, but Brown hustled over to the other side of the second base bag, picked up the loose ball and dove head-first on top of second base for another force-out.
 
Philbin came in to close out the inning, using his overpowering fastball to get a soft popout and a strikeout that stranded the bases loaded again.
 
WW’s bats were better at delivering in the clutch.  The boys tacked on four runs in the fourth with two outs.  After Philbin singled home Michibata, Welch beat out an infield hit that plated Bergman and an alert Brown.  Lichtenstein’s bases loaded walk made the score, 8-3.
 
WW put the game away in the fifth.  Strype and Michibata opened the frame with back-to-back singles.  Ben Goldstein’s hard groundout to first drove in Michibata, and walks to Knox and Bergman loaded the bases for Philbin.  Philbin drove the first pitch deep to center field, clearing the bases with a double.  Welch’s base hit up the middle scored Philbin to put WW up 10 runs and ignite the celebration.
 
Congratulations to the two-time Tournament champion West Windsor 8-year old All Stars:  Blake Brown, David Philbin, Dylan Welch, Erik Howard, Jack Lichtenstein, Jack McNeilly, Brian Murphy, Ryan Strype, Matthew Michibata, Ben Goldstein, Michael Knox, and Matthew Bergman.  Thanks to the coaches and the parents for their encouragement and support.

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July 28, 2008
 
 
The West Windsor 8-year old All Stars, who previously captured the Lawrence Tournament championship, survived a knockdown back-and-forth battle on Monday night, July 28, to defeat top-seeded Robbinsville, 11-9, in the semifinals of the Bordentown Tournament.  WW will play the Nottingham/HTRBA winner in the tournament Championship game on Wednesday, July 30 at 8 pm.
 
As they did in the quarterfinal versus Millstone, WW needed to recover from early fielding difficulties, which put them behind, 4-1, after one inning.  Ben Goldstein held down Robbinsville in the second and the deep WW lineup went to work.
 
Michael Knox and Matthew Bergman opened the third with back-to-back singles and Blake Brown’s walk loaded the bases.  David Philbin, who doubled over the center fielder’s head and scored on Dylan Welch’s single in the first inning, then hit a hard single up the middle to drive home Knox.  Bases-loaded walks to Welch, Jack Lichtenstein, Jack McNeilly and Ryan Strype helped give WW a 6-4 lead.
 
Robbinsville scratched out a run in the bottom of the third, but a terrific throw by Erik Howard from first base to Welch at third prevented a big inning.  McNeilly came on in relief to strike out a Robbinsville batter with the bases loaded.  McNeilly also got out of a fourth inning jam thanks to Goldstein’s sliding catch of a foul pop-up and throw to double up a Robbinsville runner.
 
Meanwhile, WW ‘s bats helped it increase its margin to 11-5.  Walks to Knox and Brown set the table for Philbin, who singled home a run, and Welch, who doubled to right-centerfield for two more runs.  Howard added an RBI single and Lichtenstein, who has been terrific with two strikes all postseason, served up another hit from a one-and-two hole to score Howard.
 
But Robbinsville fought back to cut the deficit to 11-9 in the fifth with another potential run in scoring position with two outs.  Philbin then came on in relief to slam the door shut.  He induced a pop-up to Goldstein at first base to end the threat and then struck out the side in the sixth to ignite the celebration.
 
Let’s hope there will be one more on Wednesday night.
 
 
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July 26, 2008
 
Any notion that the West Windsor 8-year old All Stars were vulnerable in the Bordentown Tournament following its first postseason loss were thoroughly dispelled by its resounding 15-5 victory over Millstone-Roosevelt in Saturday’s quarterfinals.  WW, which lost, 7-3, to Sunnybrae on Thursday in its final pool play game, now faces the Robbinsville/Bordentown winner in Monday’s semifinal at 6pm.  No matter the result, WW is guaranteed to play again on Wednesday, July 30, either in the 6 pm consolation game or in the 8 pm Championship game.  No 8-year old team in the District will have played more baseball than WW, which is looking for a sweep of Championship trophies after winning the Lawrence Tournament earlier this month.
 
WW’s experience was a big factor in overcoming early 3-2 and 4-3 deficits against M-R, which looked to avenge a controversial 12-11 pool play loss last week.  WW took the lead for good in the bottom of the third, as David Philbin singled home Blake Brown to tie the score and scored on yet another perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt by Jack McNeilly.
 
Despite some shaky defense early, WW tightened up in the middle innings to keep the momentum going.  Dylan Welch snared a sharp liner to third to end the third inning, Brown short-hopped a hard shot at shortstop and turned it into a double play in the fourth inning, and Matthew Michibata nailed a M-R runner at first base from right field to prevent two runs from scoring in the fifth inning.
 
WW’s pitchers did not display their usual control, walking 12 batters in five innings.  But the committee of Ben Goldstein, Welch, Michibata, Philbin and McNeilly held M-R hitless and made enough big pitches to get out of jams.
 
WW blew the game open with a six-run fourth inning thanks to consecutive RBI hits by Philbin, Welch, Erik Howard (with a double down the left field line), Jack Lichtenstein and McNeilly.  Brian Murphy, the tenth batter in the inning, walked to force in McNeilly.  Philbin’s two-run single up the middle in the fifth put WW up by ten runs and ended the contest.
 
WW compiled 18 hits in the game, with the top of the order (Brown, Philbin and Welch) combining for an 11-for-11 with seven runs scored and seven RBI day.  Ryan Strype had the longest hit with a booming triple over the centerfielder’s head in the second inning.
 
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July 20, 2008
 
The West Windsor 8-year old All Stars continued to roll through their pool in the Bordentown Tournament this weekend with routs over Bordentown, 12-2, on Saturday and Princeton, 13-0, on Sunday.  The victories, both 4-inning mercy-rule affairs, clinched a quarterfinal berth for WW, which faces Sunnybrae in its final pool play game Thursday at 8pm.
 
The back-to-back games were not a factor for this deep pitching staff.  On Saturday, Ben Goldstein won his sixth game of the postseason before giving way to Dylan Welch in the third inning.  The pitching was even more effective on Sunday as Matthew Michibata, Jack McNeilly and Brian Murphy combined on a one-hit shutout.
 
The defense was nearly perfect, with Blake Brown making a highlight-reel play with a sliding catch on a line drive to center field that ended the first inning on Saturday and Michibata ending Sunday’s game with a textbook pick-up and throw from third base.
 
Of course, WW continued to rip opposing staffs at the plate.  WW scored three times in each of their at-bats against Bordentown.   Brown, who was four-for-four with six runs scored during the weekend, led off the home first with a single and scored on a David Philbin single.  Erik Howard followed with another hit and then Jack Lichtenstein’s double plated Philbin and Howard.  Taking advantage of Bordentown’s shallow outfield, Brown and Welch hit back-to-back triples in the second and Murphy’s third inning double drove home two more runs in the third.  Philbin’s two-run single in the fourth ended the contest.
 
Brown was the catalyst against Princeton as well, as he used his speed to create WW’s first run on a Welch ground-out.  With two outs and Howard on third later in the first, Lichtenstein delivered a huge two-strike opposite-field single.  After Lichtenstein advanced to third on wild pitches, McNeilly executed his patented suicide squeeze bunt to drive home WW’s third run.  WW blew the game open with a seven-run third inning.  Ryan Strype drove home McNeilly with a bomb up the left-center field gap for a triple and scored on Michibata’s single up the middle.  Brown and Welch each drove home two runs with singles and Philbin’s single scored Welch for the final run.
 
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July 16, 2008
 
In the opening game in pool play of the Bordentown Tournament, the West Windsor 8-year old All Stars did not bring their “A” game against an A-plus opponent, but their depth and determination were the keys to a thrilling and controversial 12-11 victory over Millstone-Roosevelt on Wednesday, July 16.
 
Dylan Welch relieved closer David Philbin with the bases loaded and no one out trying to preserve a two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth.  Welch had only faced one batter in the prior Lawrence Tournament, but he was needed after Philbin hit the pitch count limit.  After a walk cut the lead to 12-11, Welch induced a pop-out to third baseman Brian Murphy and struck out the next batter.  Millstone’s leadoff hitter grounded the next pitch to shortstop Erik Howard, who tossed the ball to Ryan Strype for the force play at second base.  Though the ball popped out of Strype’s glove, Strype picked up the ball just in time to allow the umpire to call a force-out and end the game.
 
WW struggled for most of this game, making atypical errors in the field and taking called third strikes in falling behind, 8-6, after four innings.  But WW then showed why they won the Lawrence championship.  Murphy gave the team a lift with a shutout fourth inning and WW went to work in the fifth against Millstone’s closer.
 
Michael Knox led off with an infield hit and, one out later, scored on Welch’s single to left.  Consecutive singles by Philbin and Howard loaded the bases for Jack Lichtenstein, who walked to force in the tying run.  With the bases still loaded and two outs, Murphy lined a rocket that got by the Millstone centerfielder, clearing the bases to give WW a 12-8 lead.
 
WW’s bats were mostly silent after a four-run first inning, which was highlighted by Howard’s two-run single down the left field line and Lichtenstein’s bloop double to right.  Philbin and Matthew Michibata also delivered RBI singles in the middle innings.
 
WW faces Tournament host Bordentown on Saturday, July 19 at 9am and Princeton on Sunday, July 20 at 10am.
 
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Lawrence Tournament
 
July 12
Playing for the third consecutive day, including a nail-biting extra-inning match the night before, and contending with brutal heat, the West Windsor 8-year old All Stars put together their most impressive performance of the Lawrence Tournament, thoroughly dominating Nottingham, 11-0, to take the Championship on Saturday.  The boys finished the Tournament with a 7-0 record, outscoring their opponents, 103-25.
 
Ben Goldstein won his fourth game of the Tournament by scattering five hits and two walks in his 3-plus innings.  Nottingham did get their rips, but West Windsor made several game-changing plays to get out of jams.  After a leadoff single, shortstop David Philbin snared a Nottingham line drive and doubled off the runner at first to end the first inning.  In the second inning, Nottingham had runners on the corners with two outs when rightfielder Jack McNeilly scooped up what like a clean base hit and fired the ball to Blake Brown at first to prevent any runs from scoring.  Catcher Dylan Welch erased a Nottingham runner trying to steal second to get a big out in the third inning.
 
Meanwhile, West Windsor’s bats took the life out of Nottingham with a four-run first inning.  Brown, who went 20-for-24 in the Tournament, led off with a double to left field and scored on Philbin’s bouncing single up the middle, with Philbin taking second on an error.  McNeilly followed with an RBI single and, after Jack Lichtenstein’s infield hit, Brian Murphy drove home two more runs with another single to give West Windsor a 4-0 lead.
 
Not satisfied, West Windsor pounded Nottingham for six more runs in the second.  Goldstein drove a based hit to center and, with two outs, scored on another Brown base hit.  The floodgates blew open as Welch, Philbin and McNeilly followed with consecutive singles and, after a walk to Lichtenstein loaded the bases, Murphy blasted a double to centerfield to score three more runs.
 
Brown’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third was not even necessary, as McNeilly came on for Goldstein in the top of the fourth to nail the final two outs and ignite the celebration.
 
Congratulations to the entire West Windsor 8-year old All Stars roster and coaching staff.  The team will play in the Bordentown late Tournament beginning on Wednesday at 6pm against Millstone-Roosevelt.
 
 
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July 11
 
For five games, the West Windsor 8-year old All Stars turned heads with their potent offense, averaging about 16.5 runs a game with only four turns at bat.  In Friday’s semifinals against superb HTRBA (Hamilton), the boys rode their legs and the right arm of pitcher David Philbin in a thrilling 9-5 extra-inning victory.  West Windsor will play for the Tournament Championship against Nottingham on Saturday, July 12 at 12:30pm.
 
Philbin overpowered the HTRBA hitters in three-plus no-hit innings with his blazing fastball, striking out nine.  HTRBA’s lone run against Philbin came on a squeeze play after a walk and two stolen bases in the fifth.  In the bottom of the seventh and with a high pitch count, Philbin was able to strike out the side to preserve the win.
 
West Windsor was able to take the lead in the top half when Blake Brown drove home two runs with a clutch single.  Dylan Welch plated Brown with an RBI groundout and Jack Lichtenstein drove Philbin home with a line single to center.
 
In the first inning, Lichtenstein’s fielder’s choice scored Welch and, after a few HTRBA errors, Philbin and Lichtenstein were also able to score to give West Windsor an early 3-0 lead.
 
West Windsor was aggressive on the bases all game, advancing 19 times on straight steals and wild pitches.  Brown used his wheels to score on a tag-up from third after Welch popped out to first base in the fifth.
 
With the game tied, 4-4 in the bottom of the fourth, Philbin relieved Brian Murphy with one out and the base loaded.  Philbin promptly struck out the next two batters that was only the precursor to his amazing outing.
 
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July 10
 
Yankee fans 50 years ago used to say a good day at the ballpark was when the Yankees scored six runs in the first inning and slowly pulled away.  For the fifth straight game, the West Windsor 8-year old All Stars jumped all over their opponents, scoring six runs in the first inning en route to 9-2 victory over game Sunnybrae in the quarterfinals of the Lawrence Tournament.  West Windsor advanced to the semifinals to play HTRBA (Hamilton) at 6pm on Friday, July 11.
 
Blake Brown, who now has 16 hits in 18 at bats in the Tournament after another 3-for-3 day, led off the game with a single to left and advanced to second on an error.  Dylan Welch blasted a double to score Brown and then David Philbin plated Welch with an RBI single up the middle.  The onslaught continued, with Brian Murphy driving in two runs on a line single to center and Ben Goldstein and Matthew Bergman drawing bases-loaded walks.
 
West Windsor’s offense has put up big numbers, but its pitching and defense has been just as stellar.  Goldstein threw three shutout innings, striking out three batters.  Sunnybrae’s attempt at a first inning rally was squashed by a perfectly executed rundown completed by a Murphy tag and then a nice grab by Ryan Strype on a liner to second base.  In the next two innings, Brown made two fine grabs, one at first base on a hard shot and then he ran down a fly ball to centerfield to end the third inning.
 
West Windsor tacked on single runs in the third and fourth on another bases-loaded walk to Bergman and a picture-perfect squeeze bunt by Jack McNeilly to score Brown.  After Sunnybrae cut the lead to 8-2, Matthew Michibata capped the night by scoring on two errors after his base hit.  Philbin came on with two on in the fifth and promptly struck out the side with blazing fastballs, ending the game due to the time limit.
 
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July 6
 
Those of you looking to enjoy 4th of July fireworks should have checked out the rockets coming off the bats of the West Windsor 8-year old All Stars this weekend at the Lawrence Tournament.  The boys in green completed their perfect 4-0 pool play with 17-4 and 21-2 thumpings of Nottingham (B) and Cranbury/Plainsboro, respectively.
 
Blake Brown went 7-for-7 with a double and a triple in the two games from the leadoff spot.  Against Nottingham (B), Dylan Welch drove in four runs while Jack McNeilly and Brown each scored three runs.  Matthew Michibata’s two-run double was the big blow in West Windsor’s eight-run first inning.
 
West Windsor batted around in all three innings versus CP.  In the seven-run first inning, Brown led off with a double and was able to score on CP’s errant throw from the outfield.  Brian Murphy also had a big hit in the inning, driving in two runs with a liner up the middle.
 
On the other side, West Windsor was even more impressive, allowing only one hit over the two games.  Ben Goldstein set the tone in the Nottingham game, striking out four in his two no-hit, no-walk innings.  Nottingham had the leadoff runner erased by Jack Lichtenstein’s throw to Welch on an attempted steal of third to end the first inning.  Meanwhile, Michibata and McNeilly kept CP scoreless with five strikeouts in three combined innings.  They were supported by flawless infield defense, especially plays by Murphy and Welch at third base and David Philbin and Goldstein at shortstop.
 
West Windsor now advances to the quarterfinals for a game on Thursday versus an opponent still to be determined.
 
 
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July 3
 
The West Windsor 8-year old All Stars picked up right where they left off in the Lawrence Tournament, racing out to an 18-0 lead en route to an 18-5 victory over Bordentown Black to move to 2-0 in Pool B.  Ben Goldstein and Matthew Michibata had overpowering stuff, combining to hold Bordentown hitless with eight strikeouts in three combined innings.
 
Blake Brown was once again the offensive catalyst, leading off with a single to give him five consecutive hits in the tournament.  Brown scored on a David Philbin single through the infield and Jack Lichtenstein drove in two with a double to left-center field.  The first-inning onslaught continued with two-out RBI hits by Ryan Strype, Jack McNeilly and Brian Murphy to give West Windsor a 7-0 lead.  In the third inning, Brown’s two-out triple to center field with the bases loaded followed by a Dylan Welch double down the third base line put Bordentown away.
 
Next up for West Windsor is Nottingham (B) on July 4 at 6 pm.