Hot Pitcher Joey Norton Helps West Deptford American Legion Earn District Championship

Hot Pitcher Joey Norton Helps West Deptford American Legion Earn District Championship
The temperature couldn’t have been hotter on Sunday but righthander Joey Norton was up to the task.
 
Norton was the winning pitcher as West Deptford’s Senior American Legion baseball team scored an 11-1 win over perennial power Brooklawn in the district playoffs. The game lasted just six innings due to the 10-run rule.
 
The win earned West Deptford one of the eight postseason berth in the New Jersey State Senior American Legion championship, which begins on Friday at Kean University.
 
On a day when the temperature was nearly 100 degrees with high humidity, Norton stayed relatively cool on the mound, allowing just the one run in 5 2/3 innings.
 
“It was definitely hot and my whole body was drenched,” Norton said afterwards. “It was hard to get a grip but I had some quick innings and long breaks in the dugout.”
 
The Senior American Legion is for players up to 19-years-old. There are a number of players who compete at that level who have just completed their first year in college.
 
Norton is one of those players.
 
He attended his first three years of high school at Woodbury and then spent his final season at Gateway.
 
This past year, he was a freshman at Widener and saw considerable action as the season went on.
 
He appeared in 15 games, with four starts. He threw 44 innings and was 2-2 with a 5.11 ERA. He saved his best for last at Widener.
 
With Widener facing elimination in the MAC Commonwealth Championship, Norton pitched a 9-inning complete game in a 5-2 victory over Alvernia. He threw exactly 100 pitches. Widener would lose in the final, but North was able to extend the Pride’s season with his best college effort.
 
He allowed nine hits, but walked just one and struck out two.
 
“In the beginning of the year I was a reliever but made my way into the starting rotation,” Norton said. “It was a lot of fun.”
 
He said the return this summer to American Legion baseball has also been a blast. West Deptford won the regular season title in the Camden County League. (Even though West Deptford is in Gloucester County, it competes in a league named Camden County).
 
West Deptford then won its two games in the District 4 competition to advance to the eight-team state final.
 
Norton returned to American Legion baseball this season after playing the past several years in travel ball. He played previously for Washington Township in American Legion, but that was years ago. He has enjoyed his time this summer with West Deptford.
 
“I like it a lot and am getting a lot of innings,” he said. “It is a good time to work on stuff I couldn’t in college season and it is nice to be here.”
 
He hopes he is “here” for most of the summer.
 
The winner of the New Jersey state tournament advances to the regionals. The eight regional champions advance to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina. West Deptford opens 5:30 p.m. on Friday against last year’s state runnerup Whitehouse 284.
 
“The ultimate goal is to make it to Shelby,” Norton said. “That is what we are all playing for.”

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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