If anyone can analyze what has turned things around for the Bordentown High baseball team, it’s senior leftfielder Dillon Drew.
As a freshman and sophomore, Drew played on a varsity squad that won a total of 16 games in two years and just five during his sophomore season. The 2017 campaign showed tremendous improvement as the Scotties went 16-9, and this year Bordentown opened the season with 11 straight wins. They didn’t lose until an extra-innings game against Sterling on April 24.
“We have depth with pitching, that obviously helps a lot,” Drew said. “My freshman and sophomore year we had good pitchers, but it was only one or two. We were kind of short on that. This year we have a lot of kids that can throw, and throw strikes. That’s the biggest thing.”
The approach at the plate has also changed according to Drew, whose father, Mark, and uncle, Cameron, both played for the Scotties. Cameron actually reached the Major Leagues with Houston in 1988.
“Offensively we’re not as selfish as we were when we were younger,” Drew said. “We hit more for the team nowadays. We’re giving up outs, hitting sac flies to score some runs, that’s helping out big time. Little things like that have done a lot for this team and we’ve got great camaraderie. We’ve grown up through little league as a team. We’ve been through a lot, and we’re all kind of getting together as one. That’s always great on a team.”
Chris Glenn is in his seventh season as head coach. He noted that the five-win season provided a lot of growing pains, although the team did improve as the season went along. Last year, with a number of sophomores in the lineup, things went better than expected.
“Last year we were expecting to do better, but I think maybe we over-achieved a little,” Glenn said. “We had the same group back from the year before and they were more confident and had that experience. Guys got hot at right time. But we were kind of looking toward this year to be the year we can finally take that big step.”
Drew felt last year was unexpected, but not over-achieving.
“No one expected us to do that well, so I’m happy with we did,” Drew said. “It was kind of shocking. I don’t know if we over-achieved, I thought we had the talent. I believe people looking at us thought we over achieved but I kind of went into the season thinking we could do something special. Looking at this year, we look even better.”
They sure do, as through Apr. 17 the Scotties had outscored opponents by a combined 48-13. The pitching staff was anchored by junior Kyle Marchetti, who was 3-0 with a 0.47 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 15 innings.
“Marchetti went to the Carpenter Cup as a sophomore last year,” Glenn noted. “He’s our number one guy. He’s only given up one earned run.”
Junior Kyle Kato is the No. 2 man, while senior Steve Ryba and juniors Johnny Schroeder and Dylan Wood rotate as the third starter. The staff is handled by junior Jack Parker, who has been the starting catcher since his freshman season.
The infield consists of Wood at first, senior Sean O’Leary at second, junior Chris Wade at short and junior Luke Mabin at third. Wood was hitting .400 through the first six games, O’Leary was at .286, Wade was hitting .450 with a team-high 16 RBI and Mabin was batting .312 from the nine-hole and doing a nice job of turning the lineup over.
From left to right, the outfield features Drew, who has hit the ball hard but is hitting in tough luck, Schroeder (.474) and senior leadoff hitter Ryan Gronostajski.
“Johnny Schroeder is our number two hitter and he’s done a really good job getting on base,” Glenn said. “Gronostajski has also been doing what he needs to do at the top of the lineup, getting on base for our bigger bats. Chris has done a nice job with the opportunities he’s had to knock guys in.”
Drew agreed, saying “We’ve had a lot of timely hitting. We’ve been hitting the ball well, moving guys over, getting them in, not being selfish and it’s worked out.”
One of Bordentown’s biggest offensive strengths has been on the base paths.
“We have a little more speed than previous years,” Glenn said. “Early in the season we’ve been able to advance runners, be aggressive on the bases. We’re not the type of team to knock the ball out of the park a lot, but we’re getting guys on base and getting timely hitting, so we’re scoring a bunch of runs.”
Drew feels one of the biggest keys is that the pitchers have been pitching to contact and the fielders have been doing their jobs.
“We’re just throwing strikes, our guys aren’t doing anything fancy,” Drew said. “We’re throwing strikes and making outs in the field. That’s all we really tell our pitchers to do, is throw strikes and we’ll make outs.
“We’re hungry to make plays in the field, and that makes our pitchers comfortable to throw strikes. If they don’t feel comfortable with who’s in the field they won’t throw strikes. That’s helped out so much throughout the season. I can’t even put into words how much of a good job they’re doing.”
Not only are the Scotties doing a good job, they’re doing it in an enjoyable way.
“Ryan and Dillon have stepped up as team captains,” Glenn said. “It’s a fun bunch of guys and they’re nice people. It’s a nice situation to be around.”