SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA – When the Little League World Series began, not many people would have predicted that the teams from Jackson, NJ and Fairfield, CT would ever meet not only once, but twice. On a beautiful Wednesday morning, the two teams faced yet again in the tournament that would narrow down and determine who would play Thursday in a game qualifying for the United States Championship game on Saturday.
The first inning began with many walk offs and tag ups that would put New England ahead 5-0. A walk off from Charlie Meglio to score would put Mid-Atlantic on the board 5-1. New England basically saw no action on the scoreboard for the next inning and later in the third inning, Chris Cartnick would score to put another point on the board for the Holbrook Little League team and make the score 5-2 New England.
The fourth inning was the main turning point of the game as the New England team floored a grand slam by Troy Ashkinos to make the game score 9-2 New England. Chris Andrew and R.J. Vashey would come in as pitchers to relieve Dean Daddio from his duties as the team struggled with pitches all afternoon. During the top of the fifth inning New England pitcher Ethan Righter was brought out from his pitching duties as he pitched an 88-52. He will not be eligible to pitch until Sunday or Monday.
Mid-Atlantic, struggling to find a way to keep guys on base, came up and tried to put points on the board yet again, but saw no action and the score would be kept at 9-2. The final inning of the game came early, as the ten-run rule was applied. Sean O’Neil stole for home making the score 10-2 New England respectively. But then, Tyler Bauer would be brought in to score along with Matt Vivona to cause a 12-2 win over Mid-Atlantic. The game would be called over.
In a press conference later, New England manager Mike Randazzo expressed his appreciation for his team and their efforts calling the season a, “Magical Summer and what a feeling.” Troy Ashkinos, Ethan Righter, and Matt Vivona also joined in the press conference and were just as excited and expressed their appreciation from all the supportive fans as well as making some small talk and jokes to keep the press conference entertaining for all.
New Jersey manager Robert Grano praised Ethan Righter in his press conference calling him the, “Best pitcher I’ve ever seen in a game.” Grano responded to questions saying many of the pitching line up was injured with various injuries, causing the loss. Grano also expressed his appreciation for the town of Jackson, state of New Jersey, and the fans, families, friends, and neighbors. He looks forward to coming back to Williamsport in the future calling the world series, a “bucket list destination” for all baseball fans.
The New England team will play in game 26 on Thursday at 7:30pm in Lamade Stadium. Game 26 will feature the loser of game 24 between the Southeast and Southwest tonight at 7:30pm on ESPN. The Mid-Atlantic team will return home to Jackson, NJ after a very successful and well-played season.