Lawrence American Legion Baseball Post 414 third baseman Trevor DelCampe against North Hamilton at Nottingham High School in Hamilton Township on Thursday, June 30. 2016. (Photo by Martin Griff)

Trevor Delcampe has kept a busy schedule this summer and loved every step of it.

The rising junior at Lawrence High School lifts weights and works out with the Cardinals football team in the morning, then comes home, showers, rests and returns to the field—the baseball field, that is—where he has helped the Lawrence Legion Post 414 team this summer.

“They both have their different things you like,” he said. “Football, you can let out a little more anger. Baseball, I love the sport. I’ve been playing it longer. Both have their ups and downs.”

Post 414 has been able to cross off its goals one by one. The boys wanted to win their first game of the season to get off on the right foot, they wanted to be at least .500 in the regular season, they wanted to make the district playoffs and they wanted to win the state championship. The first three have been accomplished, including Lawrence’s first playoff berth since 2010 after the team finished 11-11 overall, seventh in the Mercer County American Legion League.

Unfortunately for Lawrence, its stay in the District 4 playoffs was brief, as it dropped close games to West Deptford (3-2) and South Brunswick (7-5).

Despite that, Delcampe enjoyed a breakout year on the baseball diamond. After starting at center for the football team, he became a reliable bat and a versatile fielder for Post 414.

“He’s one our 3-4-5-6 bats,” said Lawrence Post 414 manager Jason Zegarski. “For a sophomore in his first year at legion, he’s gotten better as the season has gone on at the dish. He plays third base, we can put him in outfield, and we can put him on the mound and he’s opened some eyes. Sometimes we had to bring him in in big situations, and he’s done the job.”

Delcampe’s bat was always in the lineup, whether he was there as a designated hitter or a fielder. He’s been happy to contribute to the team’s success.

“You have to go up with mindset to get the job done,” Delcampe said. “I try not to get too stressed about it. You don’t have to worry about getting a hit, you have to just worry about moving the runner over or getting an extra run.”

Lawrence finished up the regular season by splitting a doubleheader with West Windsor-Plainsboro. Lawrence lost the continuation of an earlier game, 7-6, after rallying late, and then rallied again for an 8-7 win on Tom Kmiec’s single. That enabled them to remain .500 and clinched one of the nine spots for districts.

It was the first time Lawrence made the playoffs since 2010, when the team finished the regular season in second place. It was just a matter of coming together as a unit, Zegarski said. Half of the team comes from Notre Dame High School, while the other half comes from Lawrence.

Delcampe liked the way the team developed over the summer. It set them up to play their best heading into the District 4 tournament at West Deptford, but a few breaks did not go the team’s way.

Qualifying was a start, however, and young Delcampe, who played through a severe wrist sprain in the spring, was in the middle of it all. He steadily improved after a dose of high school pitching in the spring, and playing plenty in his first legion season. The high school season provided good competition that he used as a springboard to the legion start.

“We faced a lot of good pitchers,” Delcampe said. “That was the start of me hitting against high school pitchers and it definitely helped. After a while, you adapt and get a better feel.”

Zegarski has watched Delcampe’s skills and confidence build.

“From the start of the spring until now and definitely on the mound until now,” he said. “I think it’s just having a better approach in certain situations and doing what he’s supposed to do instead of just going up there swinging.”

Delcampe has increased his dedication to the sport. He’s gone from being happy just to receive playing time, to really studying how to improve as a player. And it has a lot to do with the coaching he receives at this level, he said.

“As I got older, I wanted to work on hitting better and the coaches helped work with you,” Delcampe said. “Over time, you start putting everything together and it all worked out.”

Delcampe is also useful in the field with his ability to play third base, in the outfield and even pitch. He has proven helpful in any of those spots, and will play wherever he is asked.

That’s all a credit to his work ethic, Zegarski said.

“He’s always in the weight room,” he said. “He plays for the football team. He’s a coach’s dream in terms of how hard he works and he knows how hard he has to work to get results.”

The high school and legion seasons were mutually beneficial. Playing for LHS in the spring helped prepare Delcampe for legion, and playing legion this summer has him itching to see how he has developed for next high school season. He expects a strong showing from LHS next year.

“Just playing legion, the experience has helped a lot,” Delcampe said. “Some of the high school coaches coach on the legion team. They’re trying to find ways to help us out. I’m hoping to be ready when legion for school ball.”

Delcampe has also been effective as a part-time closer when Post 414 has needed him.

Figuring out that he could trust his fielders made Delcampe more effective as a pitcher. He was willing to help wherever needed. Post 414 had a number of players with that attitude, and this year’s chemistry was a big plus. The coach credited Notre Dame’s Kmiec and Tom Persichetti and Lawrence’s Tanner Adamczyk with uniting the squad.

“This team seemed to come together more as one team,” Zegarski said. “We didn’t have the kids from Notre Dame sitting on one side of the dugout and Lawrence on one side. This year you can see more camaraderie across the entire team. Some kids from past years that have been on the team, our elder statesmen, brought both together.”

Making the playoffs gives Post 414 a big push going forward.

“I think it’s great for them,” Zegarski said. “I think it’s great for our team for the future. We have a lot of guys returning for next year. It’s good to get that experience for next year and show the new kids the way and hopefully we’re in a better spot and a better seed next year.”

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