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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    Rising junior Matt Wagner is one of those guys that did some damage Thursday.

    For the better part of two years, Tyler Diefenbach has been one of the lesser known stars of the New Jersey baseball world.

    But this American Legion baseball season has seen the Phillipsburg native break out on the big stage with Whitehouse Post 284.

    Thursday afternoon, in the New Jersey American Legion Baseball state semifinal, Diefenbach led the Indians back to their third state final appearance in four years, with a complete game 6-4 win over defending state and Mid-Atlantic Regional champion Hopewell Post 339.

    Whitehouse Post 284 will take on Broad Street Park Post 313, a 4-2 winner over Washington Township Post 521, in the state final 4 p.m. Friday (weather permitting) at Ewing's Moody Park. 

    Diefenbach scattered four hits over seven innings, to help Whitehouse Post 284 (30-4) back into the final after a year's absence. The Indians won the 2016 title, and finished as regional runner-up.

    "I knew coming into the game they were going to be tough,"Diefenbach said. "I had the same game plan I have had all year: pound the zone, throw strikes, and try to keep them off balance. I held my slider off until the later innings, and it helped a lot.

    "When I missed, they hit it. But we kept to our game plan, and it helped out a lot."

    Whitehouse Post 284 manager Steve Farsiou was effusive in his praise of Diefenbach after the game.

    "Montclair State got themselves an absolute beast," Farsiou said. "He is a stud. He is one of the best pitchers in the state, and maybe the entire region."

    Matt Busher, Justin Johnson lead Whitehouse Post 284 into state semifinal

    Peter Cosentino is one of Diefenbach's current team mates with the Indians, and who will continue to be with him next season at Montclair State. The Whitehouse first baseman had one of the biggest hits of the game in the top of the fourth, with a solo home run that gave the Indians a 5-2 lead.

    The blast came just three batters after Jake Tobia had cut the lead to 4-2 with his own home run in the bottom of the third.

    "All I know is that coach Farsiou preaches every day to come to practice, work hard, and don't take any days off," Cosentino said. "I was just trying to hit a good ball hard somewhere. The wind was blowing out to left. My mindset was not trying to hit a ball out, but maybe hit a ball into the gap and have (Luke) Longo try to score me.

    "Everyone in our lineup is an insanely good hitter. One day it could be me, then it could be anyone else the next day. Anyone in our lineup has a chance to put some damage up."

    Rising junior Matt Wagner is one of those guys that did some damage Thursday. The Indians third baseman went 2-for-4, including a leadoff double in the top of the fifth. He came around to score on Justin Johnson's (2-for-4, two runs, RBI) double, to give Whitehouse a 6-4 lead. 

    The game was also the first time this season that Wagner played third base. He last played the position two years ago, and his play in the field was pivotal in the victory.

    "The players who have been here teach you a lot," Wagner said. "I had J.J (Johnson) and Ryan Koep, who both had my back out there. This was my first time this year. I played it two years ago."

    But while Whitehouse Post 284 had 11 hits, it came down to the man on the mound to finish off Hopewell, and he did exactly that. Diefenbach retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced, with the other reaching via error, to silence the defending champion just when he should have been starting to tire.

    With a no-hitter against Boyertown at the Berks County Tournament, and numerous other big game starts over the course of the season, Diefenbach has his team right back where it belongs: playing for a state title Friday.

    "My game plan has never changed, every since I was little," Diefenbach said. "I have always been taught to pound the strike zone, throw strikes, and have a short memory. It has helped me out through my whole career.

    "It is so big for us now. This is where we have wanted to be for the whole year. These guys, we have put a lot of hard work in, and I am glad we have got here. We just have to keep winning and keep moving on."

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    Saturday is National Water Park Day, so grab your bathing suits and sunblock and head to one of New Jersey's wet and wild water parks.


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    A contentious four-hour meeting on affordable housing in New Jersey touched on a variety of topics surrounding the issue.


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    This is the fourth of five trip reports in our search for N.J.'s best hot dog joint.


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    The victim died of his injuries in March

    A 51-year-old man has been indicted on an aggravated manslaughter charge for punching a fellow patient at the Ann Klein Forensic Center in February.

    Dwayne Hester punched Daniel Rodriguez in the head with a closed fist on Feb. 13 while both were patients at Ann Klein, in Trenton, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office announced Friday.

    Rodriguez, 55, fell to the ground, hit his head on the floor and suffered a cranial fracture and hemorrhaging in his brain. He died of the injuries on March 20.

    The New Jersey State Police had charged Hester, 51, with aggravated assault before Rodriguez died.

    Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Matos took the case to a grand jury and this week it returned the aggravated manslaughter charge, the office said.

    Ann Klein is a secured, 200-bed psychiatric hospital that treats people suffering from mental illness who are also within the state legal system. It's run by the state Department of Health's Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     
     

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    The suspect was 17 when charged, and later tried as an adult

    A judge on Friday sentenced a Trenton teen to 38 years behind bars for the 2016 murder of a fellow teen, who was lured into an alley and shot.

    Mada Eoff, was 17-years-old when he shot Lance Beckett, 19, in an alley off East Stuyvesant Avenue in Trenton's West Ward on Sept. 18, 2016.

    He opted for trial after a judge ruled he should be tried in adult court, and was convicted in January of murder.

    Two males with Eoff at the time took plea bargains.

    One, Quashawn Emanuel, testified against Eoff, telling the jury Eoff was the one who shot Beckett. He is now 20-years-old and pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence.

    The other, Omar Kennedy, 36, is serving a three-year term for aggravated assault.

    Kennedy had admitted he was there when Beckett was killed but downplayed his involvement in the crime. 

    Authorities previously said Kennedy stomped on Beckett's head after he was shot.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     


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    Jonathan Porter faces two counts of strict liability for drug-induced death

    A man was charged Friday with providing doses of heroin and fentanyl that killed two men in Atlantic County.

    Jonathan Porter, 27, of Trenton, was charged with two counts of strict liability for drug-induced death, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said in a statement. 

    Jonathan-Porter.jpgJonathan Porter, 27. 

    Porter allegedly supplied the drugs to David Hinkley of Somers Point and Tuan Tran of Galloway. Both men died in fall 2017.

    Authorities did not say how Porter allegedly got the drugs to Atlantic County, and to the victims.

    Hinkley was 52 when he died Oct. 19, 2017. According to his obituary, he loved music, fishing and cooking.

    "He could sure sling a pizza!" his obituary says.

    Tran died Sept. 24 at the age of 31.

    The Absegami High School graduate also attended Atlantic Cape Community College. He worked as an auto mechanic, according to his obituary, and "lived life by the lyrics of his favorite song, 'Forever Young' by Jay-Z."

    The obituary also quotes the first verse of the song.

    Porter is being held at the Atlantic County Jail and will have a detention hearing July 30 before Judge Benjamin Podolnick.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips 

     

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    The suspects are charged with burglaries on New Road, Poor Farm Road, Valley Road, Maddock Road and Dublin Road

    Hopewell Township police have charged two Camden County residents with multiple counts of burglary and theft for breaking into several homes in the past month.

    The department on Friday announced charges against Santiago Ramos, 28, of Camden and Denise Dubois, 40, of Mount Ephraim.

    Detective Joseph Maccaquano charged a third person, but police did not reveal the suspect's name. A U.S. Marshals' task force for is helping in a search for the suspect, Police Chief Lance Maloney said.

    The three suspects are charged with burglaries on New Road, Poor Farm Road, Valley Road, Maddock Road and Dublin Road.

    Earlier this month, Hopewell Township police said they'd been hit with a string of residential burglaries, and residents had twice come across suspicious people on their properties. And in once case, police officers pursued a suspect vehicle from the town onto Interstate 295, but it got away.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    A historical sign commissioned years ago and rejected is now installed in Trenton Watch video

    Hadn't they ever heard of the Liberty Bell?

    Decades ago, the New Jersey Commission on Historic Sites had contracted to make a sign to commemorate the site of the old ferry landing where, on April 21, 1789, Washington entered New Jersey on his way to New York for his first inauguration.

    The metal sign was made, but when it was discovered that there was a crack near the top, the sign was never installed.

    Fast forward to modern times, and Chris Pratico, the possessor of the sign, decided to donate it to the city and on Friday the plaque finally found its intended use and spot near the Delaware River.

    Expo preview

    The words proclaim: "TRENTON FERRY: One block south was the old ferry landing where on April 21, 1789, Washington entered New Jersey on his way to New York for his first inauguration. He was received by many citizens of Trenton and the surrounding towns."

    Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora was on hand, helping workers from Butch's Welding, who refurbished the sign as they made some finishing touches.

    The mayor called it, "A great day for Trenton to really promote the history of Trenton."

    The sign stands at the entrance to the Lower Trenton Toll Supported Bridge, commonly called the Trenton Makes Bridge, which recently had its sign replaced to feature flashy new LED lighting.

    WATCH: 'Trenton Makes' bridge shines like never before

    Michael Mancuso may be reached at mmancuso@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @michaelmancuso, Instagram @michaelmancuso and Facebook @michaelmancuso


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    Harry Thomas, 75, will have no possibility of parole for his sentence

    The 75-year-old pastor and founder of a Medford church and the country's largest Christian rock festival was sentenced to 18 years in prison Friday after sexually assaulting four minors and having "inappropriate interaction" with another over a 16-year period.

    Harry Thomas was the pastor of Come Alive Church in Medford and the co-founder of the Creation Festival, perhaps the largest Christian music festival in the country.

    Thomas pleaded guilty in February to one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, three counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

    But his attorney, Robin Lord, told the Courier-Post this week that the plea would be "a death sentence." An attempt to withdraw the guilty plea led to Judge Jeanne Covert rescheduling his sentencing.

    Covert later denied the motion to withdraw the plea.

    Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said in a statement that the court proceeding showed "the unmasking of a true Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

    "An individual who professed to be a man of faith and who has made many positive contributions to strangers committed the ultimate act of betrayal against family members who loved and trusted him," Coffina said.

    "There is no sentence that can approximate justice in light of this defendant's despicable acts against these children, but it is gratifying that the victims have been spared the pain of a trial and the defendant almost certainly will spend the rest of his life in prison, where he never can harm a child again," the prosecutor said.

    Thomas' sentence contains no parole eligibility. He will serve it at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center, a corrections facility for convicted sex offenders in the Avenel section of Woodbridge.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips 


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    The former Hamilton West catcher sat out his freshman year at Mercer County Community College, to allow his legs and beat up body to rest Watch video

    Kyle Harrington did not play baseball this spring.

    The former Hamilton West catcher sat out his freshman year at Mercer County Community College, to allow his legs and beat up body to rest.

    Harrington was not sure whether or not he was going to return to play for Broad Street Park Post 313 until late in the spring, and even then, it was a tough choice between American Legion baseball and a college league.

    Broad Street manager Mike Petrowski is sure glad the leader of his team, who was the Mercer County American Legion League Player of the Year and triple crown winner, chose to play for his team.

    Harrington ended one of the most dramatic New Jersey American Legion state finals in history Friday night with a walk-off grand slam, giving Post 313 a 6-4 win over Whitehouse Post 284. It was Broad Street Park's first state title since 1975, and just its second all-time.

    "I told all our guys that batted before me that inning, 'Just get me up,' Harrington, the 2018 state tournament MVP (7-for-14, six runs, eight RBI, two triples, grand slam), said. "I just said get on the plate, and work the at-bats. I didn't hit at all today, so I figured I was due."

    IMG_6769.jpgKyle Harrington picks up his 2018 NJ American Legion State Tournament MVP trophy  

    The final inning dramatics started as Whitehouse Post 284 came to bat in the top of the seventh down 2-1. Justin Johnson doubled to start the rally, and was sacrificed to third by Ryan Koep.

    Peter Cosentino doubled home Johnson, to tie it at 2-2, then three straight walks gave Whitehouse Post 284 a 3-2 lead. Petrowski was thrown out of the game for arguing balls and strikes, and once play resumed, Matt Wagner's sacrifice fly scored the fourth run for the Indians. But Colin Mason was thrown out trying to advance to second on the play, ending the rally.

    With a two-run lead, it looked like the title was there to be won by Whitehouse. But Broad Street Park, which had beaten the Indians 4-1 in pool play Monday, would not go down quietly in search of a state title.

    Tyler Diefenbach complete game sends Whitehouse Post 284 to state final

    Connor Luckie led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk. After Kiefer Goss flew out, Darius Land, who homered in the bottom of the third after a lengthy rain delay, was hit by a pitch.

    Mike Brennan came into the game in relief of Luke Pizzicco, and the first batter he faced was Brien Cardona. The Broad Street hitter battled, fouling off two pitches with the count full, before he was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

    That set the stage for Harrington, who fell behind 0-2 in the count. He fouled off three pitches to stay alive, took a borderline pitch for ball two, then crushed the ball deep over the left-center field fence to set off the raucous celebrations at home plate.

    "I think I saw, in four at-bats, at least 12 curveballs," Harrington said. "They are good pitches to hit when they are strikes, but I was trying to get that fastball. I waited for it, and I got it.

    "I knew it was in the gap, and I saw them going nuts. I don't even remember it. I didn't even see the ball go out. I just heard everyone go nuts. 

    "I love playing for Petrowski. This is my fourth or fifth year. Once I figured out I wasn't going to end up playing (at Mercer), I was either going to play collegiately or come get reps and have fun.

    "I got a couple of pitchers to come out that were not going to play. We were talking weeks ago about trying to sneak into the states. Then we won Saturday to start here, then we had to face Whitehouse and Brooklawn. You think maybe you get one. But beating them twice? I don't think anyone thought we would come this far.

    "I don't think we did. Until we realized that when we play our game, we are legit."

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    Play was halted, and the players headed to their respective dugouts, and then eventually back to their clubhouses, to wait out the rain.

    Have you ever wondered what professional baseball players do during long rain delays?

    It is not much different from the fans that wait out the rain on the concourse at Arm & Hammer Park.

    Friday night, with the Thunder up a run in the sixth inning against Portland, the rain that had been falling for the better part of the frame intensified. Play was halted, and the players headed to their respective dugouts, and eventually back to their clubhouses, to wait out the rain.

    Anytime a game is halted, there is a minimum delay of 30 minutes before the game can be postponed, but most of the time teams will try to wait out the storm and get back on the field to complete the contest.

    Friday, that was the case. The game, which was halted at 8:41 p.m., restarted one hour and 14 minutes later at 9:55 p.m. During the break, the Thunder players, and manager Jay Bell, had time to relax.

    "Some guys do different things," Bell said. "When I was playing, we played cards. Some of the guys here played cards. Some of them watched tv or a movie. You just try to settle in and wait until someone gives them information one way or the other.

    "Either the game is over, or we are going to resume. Guys just hung out and did what they have to do, until it was time to get back after it.

    "I can speak for me. Being in Pittsburgh, we had a lot of rain. So there were a lot of long rain delays. It is just part of it. You want to get the games in; you don't want to play doubleheaders. I am not a big doubleheader fan.

    "Like tonight's game, we were going to wait around. We do have curfews, but for the most part, we want to get them in."

    Thunder manager Jay Bell knows about trade deadline from time in majors

    Thunder starting pitcher Trevor Stephan was already out of the game when the delay hit, exiting after 5.2 innings of work. He struck out seven, and allowed just two hits, holding the visitors scoreless.

    "That was a long rain delay, so we had time to get off the field and just hang out in the clubhouse," Stephan said. "You kill time, do whatever you wanted, then regroup and go back out there.

    "For me, I was done already, so I could take care of what I needed to and just relax."

    Unfortunately for Trenton, the Sea Dogs took advantage of some walks, and an error, to score five total runs in the eighth and ninth, to come away with a 5-1 win.

    "The eighth, we got two outs, and Phil (Diehl) walked the one guy before the home run," Bell said. "Walks will get you every once in a while. But we got sloppy in the ninth. It is disappointing because it was such a good start from Stephan. 

    "He did exactly what we wanted him to do. We just didn't get the job done."

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    At issue is the suspension of a 2016 federal rule designed to keep "gliders" - vehicles that combine rebuilt truck engines with new bodies and cabs - off the roads in an effort to reduce their deadly effects.

    Imagine a vehicle that gives off 30 times more harmful nitrogen oxide and 60 times more particulate matter than a modern truck.

    Now consider the dangers those emissions pose by contributing to acid rain and smog, and wreaking havoc on vulnerable lungs.

    Given New Jersey's densely packed cities and highly trafficked roads, it's a no-brainer that state Attorney General Gurbir Grewel acted last week to join 15 other states in suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to minimize the dangers these super-polluting trucks pose.

    At issue is the suspension of a 2016 federal rule designed to keep "gliders" - vehicles that combine rebuilt truck engines with new bodies and cabs - off the roads in an effort to reduce their deadly effects.

    The regulation, enacted in the final months of the Obama Administration, limited the sales of glider truck to 300 per manufacturer annually.

    N.J. wants these big polluters off the roads

    In one of his last actions before being ousted in the wake of scandals too numerous to count, former EPA head Scott Pruitt acted to ditch the policy. It was an overly generous gift to the freight truck industry, which sells about 10,000 of the reconstituted vehicles ever year. Pruitt's decision was no gift to the rest of us.

    Andrew R. Wheeler, acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, reversed the decision to allow more of these glider trucks on the roads. Wheeler's directive may be just a temporary reprieve, however. In an interview with the Washington Examiner, he described the Obama glider regulations as being unfair to truck manufacturers.

    In New Jersey, the state's Department of Environmental Protection warns that trucks and other automobile traffic are the leading source of ozone pollution in the Garden State, giving off emissions that become smog after undergoing a chemical change.

    And glider trucks are among the worst offenders.

    DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe calls them a dangerous throwback to a bygone era.

    "They emit significantly higher amounts of particulates and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere, putting at risk the health of people, particularly those who live along highways and in urban areas," McCabe said.

    Inhaling smog compromises a person's respiratory system, leaving it inflamed and weakened. Environmentalists liken it to sunburn for the lungs.

    In his obscene frenzy to undercut Barack Obama's legacy, President Donald Trump and his enablers are reversing years of environmental progress, in essence sending us back to the days of polluted air, befouled rivers and streams, and potentially dangerous food.

    The damage will be incalculable. Its heirs will be our children and their children.

    Grewel and his boss, Gov. Phil Murphy, recognize the threat and are right to lend the state's weight to the EPA lawsuit. Unlike Trump's minions, they have their priorities in the right place.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.

     

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    The new area code, 640, will overlay the current 609 code territory but the change affects people calling from outside.


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    Celebrity speakers will inspire young minority students at leadership conferences on Princeton University campus.

    Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover, actress Nicole Ari Parker and actor Delroy Lindo are headlining a two-week leadership conference for minority students at Princeton University.

    At The Well Conferences operates the two leadership academies for high school students from across the country, which kicked off July 22 and run until Aug. 2.

    Glover will deliver the keynote address this Sunday, July 29.

    "We are offering guidance and instruction that encourages these students to see the power within them and others," states Toby Sanders who is the co-founder and director of curriculum. He also holds a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

    The young men's conference, From the Fire: Leadership Academy for Young Men, focuses on leadership development, mentoring, and rites of passage. The girls' leadership program concentrates on developing leaders through academic, social and career segments.

    Speakers at the conferences will provide encouraging messages to inspire, uplift, and motivate the young men and women throughout the two weeks. 

    Lindo chairs the young men's conference. He's appeared in "The Cider House Rules," several Spike Lee movies, including "Malcolm X," and "Ransom."

    Parker chairs the women's side. She's best known for her performance as 'Teri Joseph' of Showtime's award-winning original series "Soul Food" and Nicole is back on Showtime guest starring in "I'm Dying Up Here" and she recurs as 'Giselle Barker' on the Fox show "Empire."

    Glover is known for numerous film roles, as well as portraying 'Roger Murtaugh' in the Lethal Weapon film series.

    Follow NJ.com on Twitter @njdotcom. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Find out which schools have the highest average SAT score in your area.


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    Stephan showed why he is one of the top prospects in the organization. Jay Bell was happy to see his starter moving in the right direction.

    With two trades by the Yankees, Thunder pitcher Trevor Stephan is now the number eight prospect in the organization.

    But the big 22-year old righty, who was a third round pick last year out of the University of Arkansas, has found his first full minor league season challenging. Stephan made seven starts at High A Tampa (3-1, 1.98 ERA, 49 strikeouts in 41 innings) this year, before heading to Double A on May 22.

    Stephan had struggled over the last month, going 0-5 from June 25 until Friday night, when he took the mound against Portland in the second of a four-game series with the Sea Dogs. He was very good in the game, leaving after 5.2 innings of work, after he allowed just two hits.

    While the Thunder eventually lost the game 5-1, Stephan left with a 1-0 lead, and showed why he is one of the top prospects in the organization. Trenton manager Jay Bell was happy to see his starter moving in the right direction.

    "I am really encouraged with Steph," Bell said. "I think he maintained his posture, and his delivery, his arm slot, that kind of stuff. That is one of the things that Scotty (Minor League Pitching Coordinator Scott Aldred) and Norty (Thunder pitching coach Tim Norton) have been working on these last few days.

    "He looked really good, he looked comfortable out there. He didn't stress over anything. He made a couple mistake pitches, but pitched right back to his strengths again. He did a good job. I was really impressed by him.

    "He has really good stuff. He is pitching at an upper level of pro baseball, and he is competing against really good players. He is going to have some growing pains, there is no doubt about it. But I was really impressed with the way he got after it tonight. He is a guy we have high expectations for organizationally, so hopefully he will continue to do it."

    What do Thunder players do during a long rain delay?

    After the game, Stephan felt like he had possibly turned a corner, after going back to his pitching fundamentals. 

    "I felt good," Stephan said. "I just kind of got back to the basics. I just went out there and competed. It has been a little bit a a roller coaster, but when you are in Double A, there is a little bit of a learning curve that goes with it.

    "There are more experienced hitters, and you have to learn to make pitches. When the fastball is there, it makes the other two pitches play better. This past month, I wasn't executing the way I needed to be, and everything was playing down because of it. 

    "Tonight, I just executed the fastball when I needed it, and it helped out a lot."

    Stephan is also in the process of developing two secondary pitches to add to his fastball, after he scrapped his curveball during the end of his time at Arkansas. He now works with a slider and changeup, and he is still perfecting the pitches.

    "I had a curveball in college that I scrapped later in my college career," Stephan said. "Since pro ball, I have been fine tuning it. But really it is the changeup that is my third pitch, that I didn't throw in college, and I am now having to throw.

    "For me, it was just a feel thing. I felt like in college, the curveball was just not a good pitch. I had a pretty good feel for the slider pretty quick. It wasn't a hard change at all. It is something I did on my own, to get more swings and misses, to make my arsenal better." 

    NOTES:
    Brandon Wagner's walk-off single powered the Thunder to a 3-2 win Saturday night.

    The big news from the game came in the top of the fifth, after Yankees number five prospect Domingo Acevedo left the game.

    Manager Jay Bell said he pulled Acevedo for precautionary reasons, after his trip to the mound.

    "Before we talk about it, I don't even know what it is yet," Bell said. "Before we talk to Jimmy (Downam, the athletic trainer), I would imagine it is just a precaution more than anything else.

    "I will now a little bit more tomorrow. It wasn't his shoulder at all. I think he felt a little bit of a thing in his bicep. It is one of those things where he is one of our 40-man guys, and we want to make sure we take every precaution. We are not going to let him pitch through it."

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    Wagner had his big night in front of a large contingent of friends and family, as well as a huge crowd of 7,155 fans.

    Domingo Acevedo, who left the game Saturday night one batter into the fifth inning, was placed on the 7-Day DL Sunday with upper arm soreness.

    "I don't feel too good, because I want to stay ready in case anything happens in the big leagues," Acevedo said. "I think I am going to be ready soon. I don't know yet. I will get an MRI tomorrow, and I will know after that what is going on. But I did a strength test, to see how it is, and I passed everything.

    "I felt it in the second inning a little bit. Every pitch after it, I felt it a little more. I knew I had to stop, when the coach and the trainer came out, because I didn't want to make it worse. It hurts, because during the week I felt excellent, and then this came out of nowhere.

    "Most of the time you feel a little something in your arm, but this time it was getting worse, and I did not want to make it worse."

    Trevor Stephan, Yankees number 8 prospect, turns corner with Thunder

    This has been somewhat of a hectic week for Brandon Wagner.

    The Hopewell Valley native arrived into Trenton early Tuesday morning from Tampa, and was in the lineup Wednesday morning, for his first start at Double A.

    The first few days were a blur, and while he got his first hit Wednesday against Hartford, and another the next day in the series opener with Portland, he was still settling in with his new team.

    Saturday night, in his fourth game with the Thunder, it became apparent that Wagner has settled in with Trenton. Playing third base (Wagner has played first, second, and third base in his four games), Wagner went 3-for-5 against the Sea Dogs.

    His final hit of the contest, a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, gave the Thunder a 3-2 win, and a chance to win the series Sunday. Wagner drove in Trey Amburgey, who doubled to set up the winning hit.

    "I am starting to get comfortable," Wagner said. "The first couple of at-bats, I was a little jittery, a little nervous. I am settling in. It is new scenery, and I am starting to feel a little more comfortable.

    "I was looking for a pitch over the plate. It was a lefty. I faced lefties all night. I was staying middle of the plate, using the big part of the field. Trey hit that double, so I knew a base hit would drive him in. 

    "I like those situations. They don't come very often, but it feels good coming up with that hit to score Trey."

    Wagner had his big night in front of a large contingent of friends and family, as well as a huge crowd of 7,155 fans. 

    "I had a bunch of family here today," Wagner said. "Mom, dad, sister, and bunch of friends, aunt, uncles, cousins. So it was pretty cool to do it in front of them."

    When the Thunder are not on the road, Wagner is living at home in Hopewell. It is something that has brought back memories for the 22-year-old.

    "Honestly, it feels like I am playing summer ball," Wagner said. "I am sleeping in my bed, waking up coming to play baseball. It feels like I am 14 again, playing summer ball. It is fun. 

    "Again, it is just getting settled in, I guess. Settling back into my house, but still playing, it is a little weird. But I am starting to get comfortable."

    Thunder manager Jay Bell spoke about Wagner, who is continuing his breakout 2018 campaign.

    "For him to come through like that, with the three hits and the big RBI there in the ninth, it is something that he is capable of doing," Bell said. "That is what he was doing on a consistent basis at Tampa, getting big hits for those guys, and that is why he is here. He deserved the promotion, and it is pretty cool to see him coming through in a big game.

    "We needed some help tonight. The pitchers came through tonight, and for him to come through like that, it was great."

    NOTES:

    Trenton (59-47) beat the Sea Dogs 4-1 Sunday, to win the series. The Thunder head out onto the road Tuesday, to take on Reading and Hartford for three games each.

    * The Thunder had one other roster move before the game with Portland Sunday.

    Reliever Brady Koerner, who pitched one third of an inning in relief Friday night, was promoted to Triple A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

    Trenton has just 22 players on the roster Sunday, three less than the 25 allowed.

    * Caleb Frare, who was an All-Star for the Thunder and was 4-1 with a 0.62 ERA in 31 appearances in 2018, was traded to the Chicago White Sox Sunday for $1.5 million in international signing money.

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    Animals throughout New Jersey await adoption at shelters and rescues.

    There's summer heat, and then there's oppressive summer heat.

    We've experienced some of the latter recently, and while we do everything we can to keep ourselves cool, it's important to remember our pets as well.

    "If it's hot to you it's just as hot for your dog or cat, and probably even worse," said John Gickling, a board certified veterinarian in emergency and critical care. "We're better equipped to handle the heat because we perspire."

    Some tips on making sure your pets can deal with excessive heat:

    * If you walk your dog, pick the coolest time of the day, follow a shady route and bring water for your pet.

    * Older pets, overweight animals and dogs with short snouts suffer more in high heat.

    * If your pet is outdoors, make sure it has a cool place to lay and that water is always available. Avoid taking your pets anywhere that has concrete or blacktop until temperatures normalize.

    * Dogs may be overheating if they can't get up, aren't alert or can't stop panting. If you suspect overheating, hose your dog off but never use ice water, which worsens the situation. If this doesn't work, a visit to a veterinarian is important.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at greghatalagalleries@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    The Hamilton woman was found unresponsive on July 27, 2018

    A 55-year-old woman was found dead in her backyard swimming pool Friday afternoon in Mercer County, authorities said. 

    Cynthia A. DiLorenzo, of Hamilton, was found unresponsive when Hamilton police arrived at her Weathersfield Drive home, according to a statement. 

    Teenager drowns in Atlantic County park

    Her death is not considered suspicious, police said. The Middlesex County Medical Examiner is working to determine a cause of death.

    Anyone with information is asked to call the Hamilton police's tip line at 609-581-4008. 

    A spokesman for the Hamilton police couldn't immediately be reached for more information.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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