Eight local teams to compete for chance to go to Little League World Series
Tonight, all eight of the remaining district 18 Little League teams competing to take home the title of District 18 Champion and a chance to advance to the Sectional phase of the Little League tournament will begin the next leg of their long journeys. A journey each 12 year old little leaguer hopes will take him and his team to Williamsport, PA for the 2011 Little League World Series. The chances to reach Williamsport is a 1 in 1,000 shot for local leagues. According to Steve Barr, Director of Media Relations for Little League International, over 7,000 teams compete in the tournament each year. 6,500 of those teams are from the United States. Over 2,513,760 children played in Little League in 2010. Only 12 of them were crowned Little League World Series champions.
The odds however don’t mean much here in District 18. After all, over the past few years several teams in the district, which encompasses most of Ocean County have made it to the Little League and Junior League World Series from the Holbrook Little League in Jackson and the Toms River Little League in Toms River. Then there’s always the 1999 Little League champions from Toms River East Little League.
This year, as the teams move into the second step of their journey, a double elimination round of eight teams, five of those teams from the local powerhouse leagues in Toms River in Jackson. So far in this tournament we’ve seen a perfect game thrown by 12 year old Brandon Ryan of the Toms River Little League, on field domination on the mound and behind the plate by Toms River Easts’ Jarod Pollaro and gutsy never give up play by the Holbrook Little League team. If the first round of District 18 Little League baseball is a preview of things to come, tonight’s games held at the Jackson Township Justice Complex for the first games of the second round are sure to provide excitement for any baseball fan.
Tonight, all eight teams begin their quarterfinal round of double elimination. When a team loses their second game, they’re done. They join the pool of 2.5 million kids not going to Williamsport. Their season ends and for most, because of age limits at the Little League Baseball (Major League) level, it will be their last shot to compete to play in Williamsport. Most players get one chance when they’re 12 years old. Some of the better players get two years if they make the team as an 11 year old. Once they’re 13, they’re ineligible and must play at the next stage, 13′s or Junior League.
The action at the fields begins at 6:30pm. The undefeated Manchester Little League (4-0) will play Toms River American (1-3). Manchester has played tough and gritty baseball to stay perfect after 4.
In one of the games to keep an eye on tonight, Holbrook (3-1) will try to do something not team has done yet, which is to try to beat Toms River East National. Holbrook has a very good team this year and has played exceptional baseball, but Toms River East’s team is deep and have only given up 9 runs in their first 4 games.
Brick (3-1) will play Lakewood (2-2). The Lakewood team, after a slow start has raised some eyebrows after winning their next two games.
In a rematch of the 2010 District 18 final, Toms River National will play the home team, Jackson Little League. While Toms River National is a completely new team from their 2010 championship team, Jackson was lucky enough to have a couple return players. Last year, Toms River dominated Jackson from the mound and Jackson’s pitching couldn’t keep Toms River batters off the bases. This year, Jackson’s pitching is deeper, but Toms River is once again fielding another extremely solid and well rounded team.
The action begins at 6:30 a the Jackson Justice Complex on West Veterans Highway. Come on out and cheer your local little league teams as they all compete for a shot to advance. In 7 days, only one team will remain of the eight playing tonight.
You can check out our 2011 District 18 Photo Gallery here: http://www.tomsrivernjonline.com/category/toms-river-news/toms-river-sports/
Read news from the 2011 district 18 tournament at www.tomsrivernjonline.com.
Coaches and Parents: Submit your game day recaps, news and photos to email@example.com.