A team of 11-year-old all stars brought home a title to Brick Township for the second consecutive year, and face their next challenge tonight.
Brick Little League defeated Toms River Little League 2-1 in the NJ Little League District 18 11-Year-Old Tournament Championship Game at Jackson Little League’s Justice Turf Complex last week.
For the second straight year, Brick and Toms River faced off in the District Championship for this age group and – again – it was a close and exciting game, with Brick coming out on top to repeat last season’s victory.
“I watched the team celebrate on the field, chanting back-to-back before shaking hands with Toms River,” said Brick Manager Jason Burgess. “But I celebrated a little less, because we still have unfinished business to take care of in the Section 3 Tournament from last year as runners up, and will celebrate more after we win that tournament and advance on to States.”
According to the team, this year the Championship game was a pitchers’ duel, scoreless through four innings and was highlighted by defense. Both teams’ starting pitchers “threw gems,” the team said in an announcement.
Andrew Attardi, the starting pitcher for Brick, threw five innings, giving up only one run in the 5th. In the bottom half of the inning, Brick was down by one run and ended up scoring two to take the lead. Toms River starter hit Brick’s Attardi with a pitch to give them their first base runner of the inning, which led to a polemic Toms River pitching change. On the next pitch, Brick’s Max Steinhandler, whose only other at bat was an intentional walk in the 1st, hit a line-drive single off a first-pitch fastball to put runners on first and third. In the next at bat, Brick’s Jacob Booker hit a line drive to left field which scored Attardi to tie up the game.
Then, Brick’s two baserunners advanced a bag each after a Toms River wild pitch. In the next at-bat, Brick’s Stienhandler scored the go-ahead run on a wild throw behind the runner at second base after a ground out. Brick’s closer, Danny MacInnes, threw only six pitches to win the District Championship again for Brick – the second time he’s closed out the championship series.
“With the Little League International Tournament rule changes this year, going to a continuous batting order, most Little League All Star teams took less players not this team,” said Burgess. “We took 13 players again, there is not an easy out in our lineup. I am really proud of this team and am extremely proud to represent NJ District 18 again in the Section Tournament next week.”
With their win, the Brick 11s have advanced to the NJ Section 3 11-Year-Old Tournament, starting Monday, July 10 at the South Wall Little League complex.