RIGHT DIRECTION: Rohan Sheth fires a pitch in recent action for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team. Last Thursday, Hun School rising senior Sheth had two hits and two RBIs to help Post 218 rally from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Hopewell Post 339 7-4. Princeton, which improved to 3-3 with a 10-0 win over Bordentown Post 26 last Sunday, plays at Broad St. Park Post 313 on July 1 and at Trenton Post 93/182 on July 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Rohan Sheth was a member of the supporting cast this spring for a powerhouse Hun School baseball team that won its first-ever Mercer County Tournament title and advanced to the state Prep A final.
While Sheth didn’t see a lot of action this season as the Hun roster was packed with Division I talent, he soaked up some valuable lessons.
“They are the hardest workers I know and I try to learn everything from them,” said Sheth. “You see the work they put in everyday and what they they get out of it. You have to trust the process. They lead by example and I am trying to follow in their footsteps.”
This summer, rising senior Sheth has been taking a leading role for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team, emerging as a solid pitcher and getting some key hits.
Last Thursday, Sheth came up big to help Post 218 rally from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Hopewell Post 339 7-4. Sheth slapped an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning to put Princeton up 5-4 and then drove home an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth
“We fell behind early but we knew Jaxon [Petrone] could go long, we knew he had in him,” said Sheth. “We just had to keep faith in him and keep putting runs across.
After the second, I think we won pretty much every inning. We just chipped away one run at a time and we got the job done today.”
Sheth got the job done against HoVal with his clutch hitting. “I knew there was a fastball coming and I just wanted to put it into play,” said Sheth, rejecting on his third inning single.
“There were guys on second and third and I knew if I just put it into play, we were going to score. On the second one, coach put on a hit and run so I was just going to swing wherever it was. I got a nice ground ball up the middle.”
With the Post 218 squad including a number of
Princeton High players who Sheth played with in Little League, it has been nice for him to reunite with them.
“I have played with these guys since I have been younger, it is great to get back with them,” said Sheth. “It is fun, there are a lot of seniors so it is one last drive for them.”
Sheth is having fun getting the chance to see so much action this summer.
“On the mound especially, I didn’t get as much work with the varsity this year,” said Sheth. “I am trying to stretch myself out for the summer and get ready for next spring.”
Post 218 manager Benito Gonzalez liked the way his squad kept battling against HoVal.
“I told them that it was very easy for anybody, regardless of who you are to have your ego bruised if you are down like that in the beginning,” said Gonzalez. “The difference was that Jaxon found a routine, he started throwing his breaking ball and his fastball for strikes. We were fortunate at times with some batted balls; they hit the ball hard but it went right at people.”
Gonzalez credited Sheet with making a difference this summer with his bat and arm.
“It gave us a little cushion with that line drive through,” said Gonzalez referring to Sheth’s second hit. “We were actually having him bunt at first but we took it off and had him hit away. He made us look really good for that. I have really been impressed with his pitching especially, he has done a really good job. He has played for Hun in the spring but he is getting an opportunity to start with us.”
After Petrone went six innings, retiring nine of the last 10 batters he faced, Kenny Schiavone came on to close the deal with a strong seventh inning.
“I have coached him since he was a freshman and he always did really well,” said Gonzalez, who also coaches in the PHS program. “Last year during Legion ball, he just completely took off. I saw a new type of kid, we gave him the opportunity to start and he ran with it. With the high school team, he was one of the best pitchers in Mercer County. He is just the type of guy who will do whatever you ask of him and he will be so aggressive and intense about it. In the third or fourth inning, I went up to him and asked, ‘hey if we have a lead in the seventh, do you want it?’ and he said yes. It was an easy choice.”
Post 218 showed good aggressiveness at the plate as Jaxon Petrone, Drew Petrone, Carl Birge, and Jack Durbin all had key hits in
“I really want to stress to getting more kids opportunities,” said Gonzalez. “Obviously we are going to have our starters. I really do think it is important to get some other people looks. Later in the year, they have experienced something and they will be able to give you something. I value being able to do that and pick spots. You end up winning when you have contributions from maybe not the people you would automatically assume but from the people who are here every day and working.”
With Princeton improving to 3-3 with a 10-0 win over Bordentown Post 26 on Sunday, Gonzalez believes the squad is heading in the right direction.
“I am pleased with the we have played so far; we didn’t play well for one game (a 10-0 loss to North Hamilton on June 19) and we had a struggle for part of yesterday (a 13-5 loss to Allentown on June 22) but overall there is something here,” said Gonzalez.
“If we play well, we can compete with anybody. It is just a matter of consistency, throwing strikes, and playing in the field. That is really the main thing for us. Pitchers and defense have to pick each other up. If your pitchers aren’t throwing a lot of strikes, you have to be flawless in the field. If you are not flawless in the field, then the pitchers have to stay mentally tough and pick up your fielders. You have got to work together that way.”
Sheth, for his part, believes the work he is getting this summer with Post 218 will help him next spring at Hun.
“We have a bunch of seniors leaving but we have a few transfers coming in,” said Sheth. “I think we will be good next year.”