BORDENTOWN, NJ - Intensity, jubilation, heartbreak and pride are all words used to describe the NJ Section 3 elimination game Sunday between two of the most talented Little League teams in the state: Bordentown, the reigning state champs from one year ago vs. the powerful Clark Little League. The winner of this match up would be the favorite to move on to the state tournament.
Clark jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning, capitalizing on two Bordentown errors. Danny McCaffrey crashed a one out double up the gap. Dom Carlucci’s ground ball to short was thrown away, allowing McCaffrey to score. Carlucci then scored as Andrew Fernandez reached on a throwing error.
Carlucci, who turned in a brilliant pitching performance, navigated through the powerhouse offense of Bordentown for the first 3 innings; mixing power and finesse and not allowing a hit.
Clark added another run in the 3rd on a line single by Andy Troczynski, two passed balls, followed by an RBI single by Carlucci.
In the 4th inning Bordentown finally caught up to Carlucci, getting their first two hits of the game and threatening with runners on first and third with one out. On the next play Andrew Fernandez snagged a hard grounder up the middle and started a slick 6-3 double play to preserve Clarks 3-0 lead.
In the 5th inning Clark added important insurance runs as Andy Troczynski opened with his second hit of the game, a single up the middle. After McCaffrey walked, Carlucci crushed a long home run to right field to give Clark a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the 5th.
In the 5th, Bordentown finally broke through with 4 runs on an opening walk, 3 singles and a throwing error as they cut the lead to 6-4 heading into the 6th and final inning.
In the fateful last half of the 6th inning, the end came quickly. Carlucci continued his brilliance, retiring the first batter, taking a ground ball and firing to first base. The second batter reached on a throwing error. He forced his final batter to hit into a fielder’s choice as he reached his maximum Little League pitch count.
Tommy Flanagan relieved Carlucci to face the top of the batting order. The Bordentown power took over, crushing the next pitch for a home run to tie the game. A single and double followed as Bordentown capped a thrilling come-from-behind 7-6 victory on this day.
The Clark Bombers showed tremendous heart which they have shown in the team’s three consecutive NJ District 10 championships since they were 10-year-olds.
League officials congratulated all of the boys and coaches on their Little League accomplishments this year.