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Aug 08, 2022

Lincroft 9U Baseball Claims District 19 Title in Extra Innings Game

By Les Pierce

The 2022 9U District 19 championship team

The Lincroft 9U All-Stars became involved in an intense rivalry with the Two Rivers East (TRE) squad in their quest to capture the District 19 championship. The two units met three times during the tournament with two of the games going into extra innings.

The first clash occurred in the first game of the double elimination tourney on June 24. Lincroft prevailed by a 9-2 score, relegating the losers to the dreaded bottom bracket.

Lincroft then advanced with two more victories, picking up wins over Tinton Falls (12-2) and Middletown (12-11).

TRE won every game along their route, and the two squads met again on July 7, with every other team now eliminated.  Lincoft, having arrived blemish-free, could claim the championship right here with a win.  

However, that was not to be, as TRE surged in the ninth stanza of an extra-inning marathon to win by a 19-13 tally. This set up the rubber match on the following evening.

Jax Brett got the start on the mound for Lincroft in the final. He pitched into the sixth inning and was forced to come out on the 75-pitch count limit, with a 6-3 advantage.

Once again, TRE put on a late rally and knotted the score at 6-6 in the sixth and final inning of regulation, sending the contest into extras.

In the top of the seventh, the TRE leadoff batter drew a walk. Relief pitcher Nicky Cerminaro took out the second batter with a pop up back to the box, creating a one-on-one out situation.  

Moments later, shortstop Jax Brett, second baseman Garrett Hurly and first baseman Christian Paglio collaborated on a nifty double play to end the threat and close out the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Lincroft put runners on first and second, with one out when Ryan McCall came to bat. McCall slapped a two-hopper between second and first on a 0-1 count.  Garrett Hurley rounded third and got the go sign. The right fielder made a great throw, but Hurley just barely beat the tag to score the winning run.  

Paglio was the pitching ace over the course of the tournament. He got the starting nod in all four games preceding the final. Jake Leonard called the signals from behind the dish to complete the battery.

A key to the success of the squad was a robust bullpen. Brett, Cerminaro and Hurley each made three appearances in relief. Also toeing the rubber were Nicky Ernst, James Crowley, Thomas Marks and Brendan Feeley.

The team was led offensively by the bats of Crowley and Jake Leonard who had seven hits each over the five games.  Hurley finished with six hits, which included a three-hit game.  

The top of the order featured three lefty batters – Christian Paglio, Brett and Cerminaro – who as a group scored 22 times. Posting multiple RBIs were Ernst, Feeley, Brett Garrett, Logan Pevonis and Thomas Marks.

“The coaching staff is in agreement that this was an extremely dedicated and enthusiastic group of boys who were a pleasure to coach,” said Assistant Coach Mike Feeley. “They all supported and rooted for each other no matter the situation. Their hard work and positive attitudes allowed them all to shine when it mattered most, and we know they will all continue to find success in seasons ahead.”

Guiding the Lincroft 9U squad to the championship were Manager Jim Brett and Assistant Coaches Adam Cerminaro and Mike Feeley.