MANCHESTER, NJ - Jackson Little League was undefeated throughout the District 18 and Section 3 tournaments and was looking to wrap it up Thursday night. They met their match against Clark, whichhad only lost once in that same period. Now they are even. Clark took Game 1, 10-7, and forced a winner-take-all rematch against Jackson Friday night with the state tournament on the line.
Clark had a huge first inning as Matt Sot opened with a line single. After Max Carmino and Stephen Harrington walked, centerfielder Shane Mulroy roped a single up the middle to open the scoring. A walk to Patrick Grady brought the hot bat of John Petrucci to the plate. Petrucci delivered a clutch single scoring two. After a walk to Tommy Armstrong, Sot knocked in two more with his second hit of the inning. Carmino, up for the second time in the first, drove in Clark’s seventh run.
Jackson would not quit and came back strong. They scored runs in the second and third, while leaving runners in scoring position in both innings. Clark knew it needed more runs.
Clark struck again in the fourth inning with much needed insurance. Carmino led off with a long home run. After Pat Brennan lined a single, Grady crashed a double high off the brick wall in right for an RBI. Clutch Billy Sasse then singled up the gap driving in Grady for the tenth run.
Jackson came storming back with 3 runs in the fifth to make it 10-5. A great catch by Tommy Armstrong in right field saved further runs.
Jackson kept at it in the sixth, made it 10-7 and had the tying run at the plate as reliever Grady closed the door and Clark held on to the win. Strong defense by AJ Martucci, Joe Greenbush and Nick Sofiankos helped preserve the win.
So now it comes down to one game for all the marbles in Manchester Friday night. The winner-take-all game, Clark vs. Jackson, begins at 8 p.m. Watch it live or follow the play-by-play on Twitter @ClarklittleLg.