Holbrook beaten in states


The Holbrook Little League Senior League All-Stars of Jackson were eliminated from the state tournament on Aug. 1 by Madison, 7-3.

Holbrook won its state tourney opener on July 29 over the same Madison team, 9-6, before it was knocked into the losers’ bracket on July 31 by defending state champion South Vineland, which beat the all-stars, 13-3.

Holbrook manager Dave Citron was proud of this his team’s performance.

“We did well. They wanted to go farther, but so does everybody in the tournament,” said Citron. “It was a terrific run. The kids showed up [to play] every day. Even in the Madison loss, we were down, 7-2 in the last inning, and the kids still scored a run and tried to come back. We played our hearts out.”

Holbrook had two runners aboard when the game ended.

The Aug. 1 game vs. Madison was tied, 2-2, in the sixth inning when a double-steal produced one run and a grand slam delivered the others off Holbrook starter Tyler Pallante.

“It was a tight strike zone. We felt we should have been out of there,” said Citron. “The kids showed they deserved to be in the states, as did all [four] of the teams, but I believe we came out of the toughest bracket in the district and section for the states.

“I think they proved it as Juniors last year [when they reached the World Series]. We play some of the best baseball right here in the Shore and through the district and the section to get there [to the state tourney].”

Vin Sica had pitched effectively into the third inning of Holbrook’s opening-game 9-6 victory over Madison, while a five-run sixth inning stretched the lead to 9-2 for relievers Pallante, Jake Byford and James Volpe.

Pallante pushed across the first run in the big sixth inning with a bases-loaded walk. Chris Russo lashed a run-scoring single and Brian Johnston drilled a two-run double.

Russo and Jordan Mundell each had two hits for Holbrook, which scored two of its three runs in the first inning on a passed ball and added to a 3-2 lead on a run-scoring double by Tyler Flores in the fifth inning.

Holbrook survived Madison’s basesloaded threat in the last inning with a gameending double-play grounder to Pallante at third base as he stepped on the bag and threw to first in time to get the batter.

Citron said pitching was his priority on July 31 against a formidable South Vineland team, and he felt his staff was getting thin and weary.

Two mishandled bunts set the scene for a nine-run South Vineland uprising in the second inning, which included a grand slam and a two-run homer.

Russo had belted a three-run homer in the first inning for Holbrook, but that turned out to be all the runs the Jackson stars would score.