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Muller, Keledy Come in Clutch, As Nottingham Advances
Nottingham hitters teed off against WWP in their 10-3 win.  Photo by Michael A. Sabo-www.HamiltonPulse.com
Nottingham hitters teed off against WWP in their 10-3 win. Photo by Michael A. Sabo-www.HamiltonPulse.com
Dan Keefe/HamiltonPulse.com

EAST WINDSOR- The third game in a month’s span, the rubber match, and a possible birth in the Middle Atlantic Region Tournament were all ways you could describe Thursday night’s game between the Nottingham Babe Ruth 15’s and West Windsor-Plainsboro. After getting bounced out of the District 1 Tournament by West Windsor-Plainsboro, Nottingham got the ultimate revenge in the Southern New Jersey State Tournament, knocking off their cross county foes in the second round, then eliminating them in a 10-3 rout on Thursday, as well as clinching themselves a spot in the Regional Tournament at the same time.

“That was the worst part about today, it was do or die,” said Nottingham manager Anthony Francioso, “they got us in the districts, and then we were able to get them here, I’m just happy we advanced.”

Seeing one another that many times in that short of a time span (three times in roughly three weeks), both teams were beginning to get a feel for one another.

“We saw their starting pitcher earlier in the year, and he did a good job shutting us down,” said Nottingham shortstop Kyle Muller, “so we just came out today and attacked him early.”

It was actually a colossal early attack that Nottingham put on West Windsor starter Joaquin Hernandez-Burt, touching him up for 6 runs in his 1.2 innings pitched.

 It started in the first when leadoff man Sean McGeehan worked a walk, and was later able to score after a botched first and third set play by WWP.

Hungry for more runs, the Nott exploded in the second inning sending 10 men to the plate, while collecting 5 runs on 5 hits. The hit parade was highlighted by an RBI double off the bat of starting pitcher Shane Keledy, an RBI single from Muller who, oh-by-the-way, filled his stat sheet going 3-3 with 2 walks, 2 RBI’s, 2 runs scored, and a stolen base, and also RBI singles out of Ant Francioso and Alec Gerasimowicz.

After some substitution confusion from the West Windsor dugout in which they mistakenly pinch hit for their relief pitcher the inning before and then had to scramble in order to get somebody on the mound, Nottingham was able to tack on two more runs in the third. McGeehan was able to score once again, and then Frank Lucchesi laced a double to left scoring Muller, and making it an 8-0 ballgame.

“I was very proud of the way our guys played today. They played well with a lead,” said Francioso, “they didn’t get complacent, and they kept going after it.”

That mentality carried through the entire game, as Nottingham was able to add to their lead again in the fourth inning when Muller singled in McGeehan, scoring his third run of the game.

All of that run support is nice, but Keledy was cruising right through WWP, it seemed he only needed one run. Until the sixth inning where he was banged around a little bit, the righty was hurling a phenomenal game scattering four hits, not walking a batter, and only allowing two runners even into scoring position both of which were unable to come around.

“I knew the hitters, and I knew what to throw them,” explained Keledy, “everything was really working for me today.”

Keledy ended his day lasting 6 innings, relinquishing 8 hits, not walking a batter, while striking out 5, and only allowing 3 runs.

Lucchesi gathered his second RBI of the day in the bottom of the sixth when he singled in Keledy, making it a 10-3 score. Gerasimowicz came on to collect the final three outs, allowing Nottingham to book their rooms in Atlantic City for the Middle Atlantic Region Tournament, but before that putting themselves in the loser’s bracket final Friday night at 7, squaring off against the loser of Mercer East and Atlantic Shore. However, since Atlantic Shore is the host team for the Regional Tournament, there will be three teams from Southern New Jersey, allowing Nottingham to advance.  

“It’s a little bit of a relief knowing were in the regions,” Muller said grinning, “but we want to go win the state, so that’s what were still trying to do.”

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