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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jul 23, 2021

Little League Makes a Comeback in the 2021 Season

By Tim Morris

Little League baseball and softball at the Jersey Shore has rebounded since the COVID-19 pandemic. With the 2020 season canceled, there was apprehension over just how big of an impact the lost season and continued restrictions would have on the 2021 season. If participation is the measuring stick, Little League was back and strong as ever.

Bud Coates – District Administrator of District 19, which includes Colts Neck, Middletown, Lincroft and Two Rivers among its leagues – reported that participation was up in 2021 over 2019, the last Little League season. In 2019, District 19 had 5,089 participants (players only, not including coaches). This year, there were 5,355.

Coates remarked that while not all leagues saw increases (some were down and others up), the overall numbers were promising.

“It was very positive,” Coates said of the turnout and the ’21 season itself. “Everyone had a complete season. There were very few problems.”

The post-season All-Star tournaments, always a highlight of the Little League season, are on the docket again. Leagues will be playing for district, section and state championships. Little League Baseball announced that Major League (ages 10 to 12) Baseball and Softball Divisions will play through to the World Series which will host only United States teams this year because of the pandemic. Williamsport, Pennsylvania is home to the baseball tournament and Greenville, North Carolina the site for the softball World Series. The teenage divisions (Junior and Senior Leagues) will play only to the state tournaments. 

In District 19 tournaments that have been completed, some local standouts prevailed. In baseball, Lincroft won the Minor League championship, defeating Sandy Hook, 6-3, in the final, and the 9-10-11-year old tournament bested Freehold Township, 10-6. Middletown won the Senior League flag, beating Tinton Falls, 14-8, in the final.

The Major League softball district pennant went to Lincroft via its 15-2 victory over Tinton Falls.