C-P baseball battles to end

Falls, 7-5, to HTRBA in pool play

By: Bob Nuse
   Carlos De La Rosa knows that no matter the situation, he can count on his team to keep on battling.
   That was the case on Sunday night, as Cranbury-Plainsboro overcame a nearly two-hour weather delay and some pretty good hitting by HTRBA, before nearly pulling out a win in the District 12 Little League tournament.
   "This team always fights back," said De La Rosa, whose team fell to 1-2 in pool play with a 7-5 loss to HTRBA. "Against West End, we were down, 5-0, in the first inning from a grand slam and these kids came roaring right back again. That’s the way baseball is. You have to hand it to them. They kept bouncing back on this one, too. We just fell short at the end there."
   C-P opened pool play with a 10-6 win over West End, then dropped a 10-0 decision to Washington Township on Saturday. After having to meet up against HTRBA on Sunday, C-P concludes the tournament tonight against Nottingham.
   "We had a tough draw," said De La Rosa, whose team battled back on a couple of occasions to take a lead into the bottom of the fifth against HTRBA. "Washington is tough all around. We have Nottingham coming up. And HTRBA has always been a perennial finisher out there in the districts. They have a couple championships under their belts. But these kids we have, they don’t give up. We’ve got a couple of kids that are out with injuries, but we battled."
   Against HTRBA, C-P fell behind, 1-0, then tied the game in the second inning when David Maselli doubled and eventual scored on a squeeze bunt by Mark De La Rosa. HTRBA added single runs in the second and third, but C-P grabbed the lead with three runs in the fourth. Mark De La Rosa opened the inning with a double and later scored on an error. A pair of HTRBA errors led to David Miller and Joshua Harris also scoring runs in the inning.
   HRTBA tied the score in the bottom of the fourth, but Maselli led off the fifth with a long home run to give C-P back a 5-4 lead. But HTRBA would add three runs in the bottom of the inning and retake the lead on its way to a win.
   "We got the hits when we needed them most of the night," said De La Rosa, whose ground crew did a remarkable job to get the field ready to restart the game after the long delay. "Maselli took one out of the park. That’s the way baseball is."
   C-P pitcher Tim Hui allowed 10 hits over his five innings, but did a good job of keeping C-P in the game.
   "Tim Hui did a very good job," De La Rosa said. "He’s a very smart pitcher. He kept us in the game. We had a couple of passed balls that got the runner to third, and that’s when you get into trouble.
   "It’s all a matter of what day you show up. This was our strongest chance because this would have made us even with these guys and then you go into head-to-head to see who can advance."
   Even with the loss, which eliminated C-P from a shot at advancing out of pool play, De La Rosa was pleased with the way his team performed.
   "I’m happy with these kids," he said. "This is not a team that played together a lot. I have a lot of new kids that came out for all-stars who had never thought about coming out before. We still have one more game and we’ll see what happens. I know they won’t give up and I won’t give up on them either."