BRICK — The 12-year-old Brick Little League All Star team can finally call themselves champions after beating Englewood Cliffs, 8-3, in the New Jersey state final at Holbrook Little League on Sept. 27 — the first state title for Brick in 30 years.
But there will be no further steps up the ladder that ultimately leads to the nationally-televised Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Little League season ends at the state level.
Even the regional series in Bristol, Connecticut, has been scrubbed.
“We kind of were expecting to win as 12-year-olds and get to Bristol,” manager George Cavanaugh said. “They just wanted it and I wanted them to have it so bad. And now that they have it … they can’t go to the Little League World Series. It’s kind of bittersweet.”
But the state championship is no small payoff for the work that began in the off-season and continued almost every day during the winter. They were ready to start the season, when the pandemic brought sports to a standstill.
As a result, the Brick Little League season did not begin until August. The All Stars were finally reunited on the field and wasted no time getting to work on the title run that ended in victory last weekend.
According to their manager, the team hoped for a rematch with their 2019 foe, Madison Township.
“Madison Township knocked us out of the finals last year, so when they did make it back to states this year, we wanted and were expecting to see them,” Mr. Cavanaugh said. “But they were eliminated by Englewood Cliffs.”
“We wanted our redemption,” he said, but they were more than happy to take an 8-3 win over Englewood Cliffs, for the title.
Jumping ahead early, Brick built up a 7-0 lead, which consisted of first-inning hits and multiple home runs, including a two-run home run from Dan Lubach.
Despite the lead, the nerves didn’t end until the final out.
“I was definitely nervous, but all of the hard work we put in and the heart we showed, it paid off for us winning that game,” center fielder Jake Rizzo said.
Everyone had contributed, he said.
“It wasn’t just the top five, it was the entire team.”
This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.
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