NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Put these boys in coach because they are ready to play! Players from more than 200 high school teams throughout New Jersey will pull on the gloves and dust off the bats for the Last Dance Baseball Tournament. The three-day tournament will be played at 60 different fields throughout the Garden State on July 14, July 15 and July 16. An overall Last Dance Tournament Championship will take place July 31 at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton.
The format of the tournament will follow the template of the NCAA College World Series, dividing the participants into north and south regions. Each region will have sweet 16 and elite eight rounds played on July 21 and July 22. The North and South Regional semifinals will be played on July 28 and 29.
The Last Dance Tournament is the brainchild of St. Joseph's of Metuchen High School's head baseball coach Mike Murray and is meant to give graduating New Jersey high school baseball players one last opportunity at bat. United States Specialty Sports Association is sanctioning the tournament not the NJSIAA, which is the governing body behind high school sports in New Jersey. Since the tournament is not sanctioned by the NJSIAA, participants will not be allowed to wear their school-issued uniforms or use any equipment provided by area high schools. The Last Dance Tournament is considered a youth sports event not a high school sponsored tournament.
Spotswood will play in the North Brunswick Regional at Community Park. The North Brunswick Regional is divided into A and B sections. The North Brunswick Regional A teams are:
- Vikings (South Brunswick) - first seed
- Knights (Old Bridge) - second seed
- North Brunswick - third seed
- STA Trojans (St. Thomas) fourth seed
The North Brunswick Regional B teams are:
- South Plainfield - first seed
- Middlesex Blue Jays - second seed
- Spotswood - third seed
- MVCTS Vo Tech - fourth seed
Since the Last Dance Tournament is a youth sports event, players must follow the COVID-19 guidelines recently enacted for youth sports. Players will not be able to share any equipment, gear, drinks or foods. They are also not supposed to car pool. Participants are required to use hand sanitizers during games and practices. Players do not have to wear masks while practicing or during games. However, coaches and game officials are strongly encouraged to wear masks while interacting with players. All participants of the Last Dance Tournament will be asked to sign a COVID-19 waiver and will have their temperatures taken before taking the field.
Admission is free to most games except for those being played at minor league professional baseball fields and independent parks. The admission fee will most likely be between $5 and $10 according to published reports. Spectators are expected to follow the state's coronavirus guidelines that include wearing masks in crowded public places and practicing social distancing.