2011 New Jersey State Little League® Tournament Results
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New Jersey State Tournament
Major Baseball Division

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New Jersey State Tournament
Host - Monroe Township (Williamstown) (District 21)

Participating Teams
Section 1 Champions Paramus (District 4)
Section 2 Champions Livingston American (District 8)
Section 3 Champions Holbrook (District 18)
Section 4 Champions Erial (District 14)

Click here to view 2011 district tournament results for New Jersey.

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Paramus 12, Erial 0 (5 innings)
Holbrook 8, Livingston American 1

Elimination Bracket Semifinal (four teams remain):
Erial 11, Livingston American 8 (8 innings; elim.)

Winner's Bracket Final:
Paramus 4, Holbrook 0

Elimination Bracket Final (three teams remain):
Erial 6, Holbrook 5 (elim.)

Championship Series:
Erial 10, Paramus 0 (4 innings)
Paramus 3, Erial 0 (TITLE)


Twenty-four hours after his team endured a 10-0, mercy rule-shortened defeat that forced the New Jersey state tournament to a deciding game, Paramus Little League manager Frank Smith felt very good about his team's chances of bouncing back.

"That team is an unbelievable hitting team," said Smith of the Erial Little League all-star team that handed his team the lopsided defeat. "They're crazy good. I just happen to have, in my opinion, the best pitcher in the state. When you have him going, there's a lot of confidence."

And for good reason. Because Paramus pitcher Hiro Mizutani is crazy good in his own right.

Mizutani struck out nine batters and threw a three-hit shutout to lift Paramus over Erial, 3-0, in the state championship game at Monroe Township Little League's field in Williamstown. The win marked Mizutani's second victory and Paramus' third shutout in four state tournament games. Paramus advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Region tournament in Bristol, Connecticut, where the team finished as the runner-up.

Mizutani was in command throughout in the championship game, facing just one batter over the minimum through five innings. A catcher's interference call and a pair of two-out singles loaded the bases and brought the winning run to the plate for Erial in the sixth, but Mizutani threw a called third strike on a curveball to the Erial cleanup hitter to end the game.

"We knew we were facing a good pitcher," said Erial manager Carl Foltz. "We knew he would win his innings, but I thought we could scratch out a couple of runs off him. But it just didn't happen."

It marked the second time Mizutani stymied Erial's hitters in the tournament. The right-hander surrendered just two hits in 4-2/3 innings in the tournament opener, when Paramus sent Erial to the bottom bracket with a 12-0, five inning victory. Smith replaced Mizutani after his 64th pitch, which based on Little League Baseball pitching restrictions, ensured that the Paramus ace would be eligible to throw again if the tournament went to a final game.

"He's not just a guy who's going to go out there and throw 70 miles per hour," said Smith after the championship game. "He hits spots better than any pitcher I've seen, and with that slow motion of his, the ball is on you before you know it."

"That's what makes him so tough," said Foltz of Mizutani's curveball. "He kept us off-balance all night with his breaking ball. You don't often see a kid that young that can throw a breaking ball that effectively."

Mizutani had moved to Paramus from Japan the previous summer, after his father was transferred by his company to a new assignment in New York City. He augmented an already potent collection of players who coalesced during the 2011 international tournament and brought Paramus its first-ever state championship.

Mizutani's teammates staked him to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning in the tournament's final game. Catcher Brandon Smith looped a base hit into left field to open the game, then moved to third on a sacrifice and a wild pitch. Nick DeNigris reached on an error that scored Smith with the game's first run, and then scored when Mike Daniele drove a double down the left field line.

Paramus added an insurance run in the fourth, loading the bases with one out before Brandon Smith's sacrifice fly scored special pinch runner Joe Rendine.

Frank Smith had Mizutani available in the 'if' game because of a calculated gamble he took the prior evening. With a loss to give against a once-beaten Erial team, Smith started Mizutani, but pulled him from the mound after just 18 pitches with Erial leading 1-0 in the second inning. The District 14 champions added two runs in the third and tallied seven more in the fourth to invoke the mercy rule.

"We were facing their ace (Adam Holland, who held Paramus to just one hit in the game), and I just thought we would have trouble scoring against him," explained the Paramus manager after the tournament. "I liked our chances better with Hiro going against their second and third pitchers. I guess you can say the decision turned out okay."

Holland, who was making his first pitching appearance since fracturing the thumb on his pitching hand the prior week, struck out six and allowed just three baserunners in the win. He added a pair of doubles, including one that drove in a pair of runs to spark Erial's decisive sixth inning rally.

Jake Vespa started the scoring with a line drive home run in the first inning, and Erial added two more thanks in part to a throwing error and a wild pitch in the third. In the fourth, Jason Reynolds lined a double down the left field line that drove in the final two runs of the inning and ended the game.

"The kids came into the game very confident," said Foltz after his team won its third consecutive elimination game. "These kids have a lot of faith in themselves, and it really showed tonight. They were ready from the very start."

"You've got to hand it to that team and that kid (Holland)," said Frank Smith of Erial's efforts. "That was a great performance."

The mercy rule victory mirrored Paramus' victory when the two teams met in the opening round. The District 4 champions grabbed an early lead on DeNigris' two-run homer in the first, and cruised to a five inning, 12-0 victory. Paramus extended the lead to 6-0 in the game's middle innings, and capped the win with a six-run burst in the fifth. Jimmy Criscione delivered a run-scoring single in the third, and led off the fifth with a solo home run. Gavin Niland's two-run single in the fifth plated the final runs of an inning that made Frank Smith comfortable in pulling Mizutani with an eye toward latter round games.

"Those runs were big," said Frank Smith of the six-run flurry. "They allowed me to remove my ace and keep him eligible."

The next night, Paramus' other top pitcher, Conor Heim, turned in a strong outing of his own as Paramus topped Holbrook Little League, 4-0, in the winner's bracket final.

Heim allowed just four balls to be hit out of the infield and struck out seven batters against a team that tallied eight runs in its opening round victory. Heim allowed a pair of baserunners in the first and fourth innings, but in each case registered a pair of strikeouts to end the threats.

"Once he gets that curveball going and shows he can throw it for strikes, he is tremendous," explained Frank Smith. "And he did it against a good-hitting team. That's two powerful teams we've pitched well against."

Criscione drove in Paramus' first run with a double into the left center field gap in the second inning, before Paramus added a lead in the fourth. DeNigris homered in the fifth, and Eric Waxman added a double that plated Rendine with the game's final run.

"We got great performances from everybody tonight," said Frank Smith. "You get a kid who gets one at-bat a game (Waxman) who comes through with a hit like he did... that was a big run. A 4-0 lead is way different from a 3-0 lead."

Four days later, Paramus was able to spot Mizutani a 3-0 advantage, but with the crowd at a fever pitch during Erial's final inning rally, the right-hander calmly closed out the tournament.

"They're screaming, yelling, jumping on the fence," said Frank Smith of the tournament-ending scene. "He's stone-faced."

Mizutani's cool effort helped to lift Paramus into region tournament competition for the first time in the league's history. Paramus split its four pool games at the Mid-Atlantic Region tournament, and avenged one of its defeats with a 2-1 victory over Newark National (Delaware) Little League in the semifinal round. In the championship game, Mizutani and Keystone Little League (Clinton County, Pennsylvania) pitcher Alex Garbrick each posted three innings scoreless in a constant drizzle before tournament officials suspended the game. Neither pitcher was eligible to return to the mound when the game resumed the next day, and Keystone snapped the tie on Wyatt Koch's three-run home run in the fifth inning before going on to a 5-2 victory.

Follow Paramus at the Mid-Atlantic Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


  Winner's Bracket Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Paramus 0 1 0 1 2 0 4 - -
Holbrook 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 -
  Elimination Bracket Final
Holbrook 0 0 0 0 4 1 5 - -
Erial 1 0 1 4 0 x 6 - -
  Championship Series Game 1
Paramus 0 0 0 0 0 1 -
Erial 1 0 2 7 10 - -
  Championship Series Game 2
Paramus 2 0 0 1 0 0 3 - -
Erial 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 -

2011 New Jersey District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D1 - Mendham
D2 - West Milford
D4 - Paramus
D17 - Basking Ridge East
D20 - Jefferson Township (Oakridge)

Section 1 Tournament
Host - Wayne (District 2)

Tournament Results:
1 - Basking Ridge East 12, Jefferson Township 2 (4 innings)
2 - Mendham 3, Paramus 0
3 - Basking Ridge East 8, West Milford 5
4 - Paramus 7, Jefferson Township 2 (elim.)
5 - Mendham 12, Basking Ridge East 6
6 - Paramus 9, West Milford 0 (elim.)
7 - Paramus 5, Basking Ridge East 4 (elim.)
8 - Paramus 6, Mendham 3
9 - Paramus 14, Mendham 5 (TITLE)

D5 - Lyndhurst
D6 - Palisades Park/Leonia
D7 - West New York American
D8 - Livingston American

Section 2 Tournament
Host - Hoboken (District 7)

Tournament Results:
1 - Lyndhurst 8, West New York American 5
2 - Livingston American 8, Palisades Park/Leonia 2
3 - Livingston American 5, Lyndhurst 3
4 - West New York American 4, Palisades Park/Leonia 0 (elim.)
5 - West New York American 6, Lyndhurst 5 (7 innings; elim.)
6 - Livingston American 8, West New York American 2 (TITLE)

District Champions
in Section 3
District Champions
in Section 4
D10 - Woodbridge
D11 - North Howell
D12 - Nottingham (Hamilton Square)
D18 - Holbrook
D19 - Marlboro Township South (Morganville)

Section 3 Tournament
Host - Tinton Falls (District 19)

Tournament Results:
1 - Nottingham 2, Marlboro Township South 0
2 - North Howell 16, Woodbridge 10
3 - Woodbridge 9, Marlboro Township South 4 (elim.)
4 - Holbrook 5, Nottingham 2
6 - Woodbridge 4, Nottingham 3 (elim.)
5 - Holbrook 5, North Howell 1
7 - North Howell 2, Woodbridge 1 (elim.)
8 - Holbrook 6, North Howell 4 (TITLE)

D3 - North Vineland
D13 - Cherry Hill Atlantic
D14 - Erial
D15 - West Deptford Township
D16 - Linwood
D21 - Berlin Boro

Section 4 Tournament
Championship Game Host - Gloucester City (District 14)

Tournament Results:
1 - Cherry Hill Atlantic 9, Linwood 5
2 - Erial 15, North Vineland 5
3 - West Deptford Township 9, Cherry Hill Atlantic 6
4 - Erial d. Berlin Boro
5 - Linwood 11, Berlin Boro 1 (elim.)
6 - Cherry Hill Atlantic 3, North Vineland 2 (elim.)
7 - Erial 7, West Deptford Township 0
8 - Cherry Hill Atlantic 12, Linwood 1 (4 innings; elim.)
9 - Cherry Hill Atlantic 12, West Deptford Township 0 (elim.)
10 - Erial 7, Cherry Hill Atlantic 2 (TITLE)

Toward the past

Toward the present

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