LINDEN, NJ - Although they received their tournament bid because of the disqualification of Mount Olive, the Livingston Junior Legion team proved that they deserved to be one of the final eight teams in the state by battling both Denville, the defending state champions, and Cherry Hill. Cherry Hill defeated Livingston 10-4 Tuesday afternoon in the double-elimination tournament in Linden at Memorial Field.
"We dominated Essex County and went neck-and-neck with some of the best teams in the state," Livingston head coach Bob Thiemer said. "There was not a game all year that we weren't in."
Cherry Hill struck early in Tuesday's contest as they scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning off of Livingston starter Brady O'Connor, even though only two of the three runs were earned.
Cherry Hill added two more runs in the bottom of the third to increase their lead to 5-0. Shortstop Brad Machinski led the inning off with a walk and was plated on a double by third baseman Alex Injaian. Injaian then advanced to third base on a pass ball and scored on a fielder's choice.
Livingston had a rally of their own in the top of the fourth inning, scoring two runs of their own.
Designated hitter Evan Miles, second baseman Connor Kimmel, and first baseman Justin Tepper had three consecutive singles—Miles scoring on Tepper's. Both Kimmel and Tepper advanced on a wild pitch and Kimmel scored on a Mike Botti sacrifice fly.
Hunter Bushwell came in on the mound for Livingston and shut Cherry Hill down in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Livingston struck for another run in the fifth inning. Catcher Doug Bresnick hit a 370-foot line drive double to left field. Bresnick caught Cherry Hill's starter, Brandon Perna, sleeping on the mound and stole third base, and Perna threw the ball away, which enabled Bresnick to score.
But Cherry Hill added three more runs in the bottom half of the fifth.
Livingston added their fourth and final run in the sixth inning. Evan Miles, who was 3-for-4, scored on a Justin Tepper single.
Cherry Hill added two more runs to increase their lead to 10-4 in the sixth inning and Livingston could not stage a rally in the seventh.
"We had a great season," Miles said. "If you told me we were going to lose six games going into the season then I would not have believed you."
Livingston did not win the state tournament but won the Essex County league and Essex County tournament.
"Going 20-2 in Essex County is phenomenal," Connor Kimmel said. "We had a great run and wanted to go out on the diamond and have fun."
"It was a tremendous 2010 season and this is a tremendous group of boys," Thiemer concluded.