2014 New Jersey State Little League® Tournament Results
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New Jersey State Tournament
Major Baseball Division

Toward the past

Toward the present

New Jersey State Tournament
Host - Berkeley (Bayville) (District 18)
At Moorage Complex

Berkeley Little League's Moorage Complex is located at 43 Moorage Avenue in Bayville.

Participating Teams
Section 1 Champions Somerset Hills (Bernardsville) (District 17)
Section 2 Champions Wood-Ridge/Moonachie (District 5)
Section 3 Champions Toms River (District 18)
Section 4 Champions Ocean City-Upper Township (Ocean City/Marmora) (District 16)

Click here to view 2014 district tournament results for New Jersey.

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Ocean City-Upper Township 9, Somerset Hills 4
Toms River 7, Wood-Ridge/Moonachie 4

Elimination Bracket Semifinal (four teams remain):
Somerset Hills 4, Wood-Ridge/Moonachie 1 (elim.)

Winner's Bracket Final:
Toms River 4, Ocean City-Upper Township 2

Elimination Bracket Final (three teams remain):
Ocean City-Upper Township 10, Somerset Hills 7 (elim.)

Championship Series:
Ocean City-Upper Township 10, Toms River 6
Toms River 7, Ocean City-Upper Township 6 (TITLE)


First, Kayla Roncin gave her team the lead. Then she made sure they held onto it.

Roncin slammed a third inning home run that gave her Toms River Little League a 4-2 advantage, then recorded a one-pitch save in the bottom of the sixth as Jonathan Giordano's diving catch quelled a bases loaded rally. The pitch and catch meant that Toms River edged Ocean City-Upper Township Little League, 7-6, in the final game of the New Jersey state tournament at Berkeley Little League's Moorage Complex. With the win, Toms River advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Region tournament in Bristol, Connecticut.

Toms River and Ocean City had split two earlier meetings in the state tournament, with Toms River rallying in the sixth inning for a 4-2 victory in the winner's bracket final, and Ocean City earning a rematch and forcing the tournament to a deciding game with a 10-6 win in the first championship series meeting.

Ocean City grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the tournament's final game. Gannon Brady drove the game's second pitch over the center field fence, and two batters later, Joe Gallagher followed with a solo home run of his own. But Toms River tied it in the second, and pulled ahead before holding on at the end. Connor Cino was hit by a pitch to open the second, and singles by Christian Wood and Phil Antoniotti loaded the bases. Colin Baker hit into a fielders' choice that scored Cino, and an error on the throw to first base enabled Wood to also score and tie the game.

In the third, Ocean City-Upper Township's defense erased a baserunner when Brady turned an unassisted double play, but Cino kept the inning alive with a single to right field. Roncin, pinch hitting for Wood, then drove the first pitch she saw over the left field fence to break out of a mini-slump and give her team the lead.

The teams then traded runs as the game arced toward the final inning. Toms River added a pair of runs in the fourth, but Ocean City narrowed the margin to a single run in the fifth when Brock Mercado launched a two-run homer to left field and Brian Furey followed with a two-out RBI single. Toms River responded, and Jason Kapp wheeled around from first base to score on Baker's single to give his team a 7-5 lead entering the bottom of the sixth.

Toms River recorded two quick outs in the sixth before Ocean City made one final push. Ninth-place hitter Luke Bowman drew a four-pitch walk, then Brady and Mercado singled to produce a run. Gallager was intentionally walked to load the bases, then the next Ocean City hitter took two pitches for a 2-0 count. With the inning spiraling out of control, Avallone called time out and moved Roncin to the mound. A fly ball to short center field on her first pitch looked like it might fall in, but Giordano made the sprawling catch to send his team to Bristol.

"One swing, one pitch," said Toms River coach Jim DeRose. "Can you believe it?"

"I had no idea who caught that ball," said Avallone of Giordano's tournament-ending catch. "All I know is it wasn't on the ground."

Toms River's win came one day after Ocean City-Upper Township forced the tournament to a final game with a 10-6 victory that left both teams with one loss in the tournament. Ocean City opened the bottom of the first inning with five consecutive singles to take a 3-1 lead, and added four more in the second on home runs from Gavyn Fox (solo homer) and Gallagher (three-run shot). Toms River closed to within 7-4 in the third inning when Wood slammed a two-run homer, but Ocean City regained the momentum when Brady lined a three-run homer over the center field fence with two outs in the fifth.

Toms River collected eleven hits in the game, but stranded nine baserunners, including at least one in every inning after the first.

"We didn't get the big hit when we needed it," said Avallone. "In a game like this, three or four plays and at-bats determine how things turn out. And if there were four today, we were 0-for-4."

Toms River reached the championship series by producing sixth inning rallies that decided each of its first two games in the state tournament. The District 18 champions opened the tournament by overcoming Wood-Ridge/Moonachie Little League, 7-4. Wood-Ridge's Phil DeCresce slammed a grand slam home run in the bottom of the first to give his team a 4-0 advantage, and Toms River spent much of the remainder of the game chasing that deficit. Avallone immediately called on Giordano, his top pitcher, to stymie the Wood-Ridge offense, and Toms River began to nibble away at the deficit. After scoring single runs in the third and fourth innings, Toms River tied the game when Nick DeRose drilled a two-run homer in the fifth. They then moved ahead in the sixth. Kapp opened the inning with a double to left field, and ninth-place hitter Bill Fleury then gave his team its first lead of the game with a two-run home run beyond the center field fence. DeRose later added a run-scoring single.

Giordano's pitch count stood at 64 pitches entering the bottom of the sixth, but Avallone elected to continue riding his ace, who soon closed out the win. Giordano struck out eleven batters and allowed just one hit in 5-1/3 innings after moving to the mound.

"We thought about it (removing Giordano just shy of the 65-pitch threshold that would mandate an additional day of rest before another pitching appearance), and debated it quite a bit," explained Avallone. The extra day of rest would mean that Giordano would not be eligible to pitch again until a potential 'if' game on the tournament's final day.

"But they are a good team," said Avallone. "(And) we felt we needed to get the win. We didn't want to be put in the loser's bracket."

Ocean City-Upper Township also won its opener, and two days later, the Cape May County team carried a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning before Toms River again rallied to win. First, Giordano laced a no-doubt two-out, two-run home run that traveled 320 feet and tied the game. After Cino singled to left, Nick DeRose drove a pitch just beyond the right field fence to give his team a 4-2 advantage. Phil Antoniotti then struck out the side on eleven pitches in the bottom of the frame to lift his team into the championship round.

"Our team battled back all season when we have been down," said Avallone. "I knew we could come back and win it. We've always been hot with the bats and we know we could come back from anything."

Brady, the Ocean City starting pitcher, struck out twelve and allowed only one hit, but reached his pitch count and was forced to exit after retiring the first batter in the top of the sixth. Brady was perfect through four innings, struck out nine of ten hitters during the game's middle innings, and allowed only a two-out single by Christian Wood in the fifth inning.

Antoniotti, meanwhile, struck out fifteen and allowed just three hits. He threw an 87-pitch complete game, and did not allow a run after surrendering a two-run homer to Joseph Gallagher three batters into the game.

Neither starting pitcher walked a batter in the game.

"Phil Antoniotti had one bad pitch," noted Avallone after the game. "He hung a cutter that (Gallagher) hit out in the first inning. Other than that, he was dead on."

Ocean City-Upper Township earned a rematch, erasing a 7-2 deficit to defeat Somerset Hills Little League, 10-7. Isaac Eberly's RBI double in the fifth gave Ocean City the lead for good, and reliever Eric Greenling made sure the lead held up by closing out an effort in which he allowed just one hit in 2-2/3 innings. The win made Ocean City-Upper Township the first league from Cape May County ever to reach the state championship game in the major baseball division. (Ocean City's 9-10 year old all-star team won the New Jersey state championship in 2014.)

Ocean City pressed Toms River to the limit in the championship series, but in the end, Toms River was able to stave off a last-ditch rally and extend a season that continued on to the Mid-Atlantic Region semifinals.

"This was a total team effort," said Jim DeRose after the tournament. "I could go down the roster and everyone played a role."

That includes Giordano, whose lights-out pitching saved Toms River in its first game, and whose glove helped to seal the final game. And Roncin, whose bat and right arm were two of Toms River's most potent weapons when the tournament was on the line. And eleven other players who helped Toms River to engineer two sixth inning rallies in the state tournament, and to curtail a third.

"They're never out of a game," said Toms River manager Pete Avallone of his team's resiliency. "They always find a way to come out on top. I'm just really proud of these guys."

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


  Opening Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Ocean City/Upper Township 2 2 2 2 1 0 9 10 0
Somerset Hills 0 4 0 0 0 0 4 10 3
  Opening Round
Toms River 0 0 1 1 2 3 7 - -
Wood-Ridge/Moonachie 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 -
  Elimination Bracket Semifinal
Wood-Ridge/Moonachie 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0
Somerset Hills 1 3 0 0 0 x 4 8 1
  Winner's Bracket Final
Toms River 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 5 0
Ocean City/Upper Township 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 0
  Elimination Bracket Final
Ocean City/Upper Township 2 0 0 4 4 0 10 12 0
Somerset Hills 1 0 6 0 0 0 7 6 3
  Championship Series Game 1
Toms River 1 0 3 0 0 2 6 11 0
Ocean City/Upper Township 3 4 0 0 3 x 10 13 0
  Championship Series Game 2
Ocean City/Upper Township 2 0 0 0 3 1 6 9 0
Toms River 0 2 2 2 1 x 7 10 1

2014 New Jersey District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D1 - Morristown National
D2 - Pequannock
D4 - Ridgewood American
D17 - Somerset Hills (Bernardsville)
D20 - Sparta

Section 1 Tournament
Host - Tri-Town (Boonton) (District 1)
At Pepe Field

Tournament Results:
1 - Ridgewood American 11, Sparta 3
2 - Somerset Hills 11, Pequannock 3
3 - Ridgewood American 8, Morristown National 5
4 - Sparta 4, Pequannock 3 (elim.)
6 - Sparta 4, Morristown National 0 (elim.)
5 - Somerset Hills 14, Ridgewood American 8
7 - Sparta 5, Ridgewood American 4 (elim.)
8 - Somerset Hills 11, Sparta 3 (TITLE)

D5 - Wood-Ridge/Moonachie
D6 - Little Ferry/South Hackensack
D7 - Elmora Youth (Elizabeth)
D8 - Nutley East

Section 2 Tournament
Host - Belleville (District 8)

Tournament Results:
1 - Wood-Ridge/Moonachie 7, Elmora Youth 2
2 - Nutley East 9, Little Ferry/South Hackensack 2
3 - Wood-Ridge/Moonachie 4, Nutley East 2
4 - Elmora Youth 8, Little Ferry/South Hackensack 4 (elim.)
5 - Elmora Youth 8, Nutley East 6 (elim.)
6 - Elmora Youth 8, Wood-Ridge/Moonachie 2
7 - Wood-Ridge/Moonachie 7, Elmora Youth 5 (TITLE)

District Champions
in Section 3
District Champions
in Section 4
D10 - Old Bridge
D11 - Ocean Township
D12 - Nottingham (Hamilton Square)
D18 - Toms River
D19 - Manalapan

Section 3 Tournament
Host - Sayreville (District 10)

Tournament Results:
1 - Ocean Township 10, Old Bridge 9
2 - Toms River 12, Manalapan 2
3 - Nottingham 22, Ocean Township 5 (4 innings)
4 - Manalapan 7, Old Bridge 4 (elim.)
5 - Toms River 9, Nottingham 1
6 - Ocean Township 13, Manalapan 3 (elim.)
7 - Nottingham 12, Ocean Township 11 (elim.)
8 - Toms River 15, Nottingham 5 (5 innings; TITLE)

D3 - Millville American
D13 - Haddonfield
D14 - Erial
D15 - East Greenwich (Clarksboro)
D16 - Ocean City-Upper Township (Ocean City/Marmora)
D21 - Monroe Township (Williamstown)

Section 4 Tournament
Host - North Vineland (District 3)

Tournament Results:
1 - Ocean City-Upper Township 7, Erial 4
2 - Haddonfield 10, Millville American 2
3 - Ocean City-Upper Township 7, Monroe Township 1
4 - Haddonfield 3, East Greenwich 0
5 - Erial 19, East Greenwich 4 (elim.)
6 - Monroe Township 5, Millville American 3 (elim.)
7 - Ocean City-Upper Township 3, Haddonfield 1
8 - Monroe Township 10, Erial 6 (elim.)
9 - Haddonfield 16, Monroe Township 6 (elim.)
10 - Ocean City-Upper Township 7, Haddonfield 4 (TITLE)

Toward the past

Toward the present

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Last revision: 06/12/2015