Posted by Glenn Fredricks on Apr 15 2005 at 05:00PM PDT
BY GREG TUFARO COMPLIMENTS OF THE HOME NEWS TRIBUNE About a mile of Summerhill Road separates East Brunswick and Spotswood high schools. Players from both institutions combined to form the Milltown Senior American Legion team that finished fourth in last summer's state tournament. While several starters from that squad graduated, the bulk returned to their respective high school programs this spring. As a result, some of the best baseball in Middlesex County is being played within that one-mile stretch of Summerhill Road. Nobody knows that better than first-year Spotswood mentor Glenn Fredricks, who coached the Milltown Legion team to a 25-5 record and whose Chargers got off to a 5-1 start following Wednesday's 9-6 victory over Colonia. "You could tell by the way the early season is going, between us and EB, that the balance of power has really shifted to southern Middlesex County," Fredricks said. "The way that we are handling ourselves on Summerhill Road, both towns have a lot of reason to be proud." East Brunswick (5-1) is ranked No. 1 in the Home News Tribune Top 10 and Spotswood is ranked sixth. The teams opened the year with a combined 10-2 record. The Chargers' lone defeat was an 8-7 setback to Woodbridge in which they squandered a six-run lead late in the game. Apparently, Spotswood does not know how to handle prosperity. Fredricks' club seems to perform better when coming from behind. In four of their five victories, the Chargers trailed in the first inning by a combined 7-0 score. Each of those runners who crossed home plate reached safely via walk or error. Fredricks put an end to his pitchers issuing first-inning free passes by having them throw a simulated inning in the bullpen before taking the mound for a game. The move worked as opponents failed to receive first-inning walks in Spotswood's last two outings. "If we keep our walk totals down," Fredricks said, "we win comfortably." Spotswood has outscored opponents 73-32 or by an average of 6.8 runs per game. The sixth has proved to be a huge inning for the Chargers, who combined to score 22 runs during that frame in mercy-rule wins over Highland Park and Dunellen. Strangely, Spotswood relievers actually earned saves in those 21-5 and 16-6 victories. The Chargers are batting .398 as a team with Brian Dzuro (.813), John Dubovick (.500), Mike Hohman (.450) and Steve Abbott (.417) leading the way. Twenty-one of the team's 68 hits have gone for extra bases.


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