Old Bridge Little Leaguers capture emotional title

The Old Bridge Little League Junior 13-14-year-old team won the District 10 championship on Monday night, soundly defeating Woodbridge 20-6.

The game featured a rematch of the Old Bridge-Woodbridge district final played in 2003, which Woodbridge won, 6-3. The victory capped a 6-0 record for Old Bridge in the eight-team District 10 all-star tournament, defeating notable opponents such as Laurence Harbor, Franklin Township, Milltown and Metuchen.

The team, managed by George Gonzalez Sr., and coached by Frank Santoro and Eddie Tomaszewicz, played only one close game out of six — a 3-1 win over Franklin.

The win over Franklin came after a 12-8 win over Metuchen and a 10-3 triumph over Laurence Harbor, and preceded a 24-2 win over Milltown, a 7-4 win over Franklin in a rematch, and the win over Woodbridge in the final.

“The victory was extremely emotional and rewarding for the boys,” Gonzalez said.

In May of this year, the Old Bridge Little League lost one its most beloved and dedicated coaches, Vinnie Perschelli, to a massive heart attack at age 43. The Junior team that won the District flag last night was the last District team managed by coach Vinnie.

Ironically, coach Vinnie managed the team in 2003 when Old Bridge lost to Woodbridge in the finals.

Throughout the tournament, many players were motivated knowing that Coach Vinnie’s spirit was with them in their pursuit of victory.

“Vinnie’s memory was undoubtedly a source of inspiration for the team,” said coach Tomaszewicz. “Every game was played in Vinnie’s memory.”

At the conclusion of the championship game on Monday night, coach Vinnie’s wife, JoAnn Perschelli, presented the team with the District flag.

The Old Bridge L.L. Junior team members are: Dan Avella, Joe Caria, Dan DiPoalo, Kyle Donahue, George Gonzalez, Trevor Haughney, Jeff Jacobs, Robert Orrechio, Nick Panos, Peter Rahn, Jeremy Rusakowski and Austin Tomaszewicz.

The team now moves on to the Junior Little League Sectional championship at the South Wall Little League, beginning July 22.