LIVINGSTON, NJ - After coming up short of the title in previous seasons, the New Jersey Amateur Baseball League’s Livingston Athletics, known to many fans as the L-Town A’s, took home the NJABL state title last weekend in a tight battle against southern champions, the New Jersey Bulldogs.
As the northern champions of the NJABL intermediate division, the L-Town A’s took on the Bulldogs Sunday at TD Bank Ballpark, home of the Somerset Patriots minor league baseball franchise, and secured a 6-3 victory as well as the coveted NJABL trophy, a championship belt and free entry into next year’s season.
The A’s finally earned the northern-division title in August after losing it in the finals during the past two seasons. According to L-Town A’s General Manager Dan LaBrunda and Captain Brian Writt, these previous losses made the team stronger and more determined than ever to bring home a trophy for Livingston.
“To have finally achieved our squad goals is a surreal feeling,” said LaBrunda. “Being presented the championship belt that we specifically requested from our dedicated commissioner upon victory was a moment we can all cherish, as it was epically photographed with our excitement clearly evident.”
Each of the players, most of whom are Livingston residents, reached base at least once in the championship game, accumulating 12 hits. Pitcher Ryan Sullivan, who struck out 10 batters and only allowed one earned run over five hits in the final game, earned Playoff MVP honors after winning all five playoff games, including victories over division rivals New Providence Reds, Jersey City Vipers and the Jersey City Scrapers.
The team’s lineup supported Sullivan’s momentum in the championship game as Jimmy Napolitano drove in a run with a triple in the fourth inning and scored himself on a wild pitch at the plate to tie the game. As the A’s took the lead in the following inning, they never looked back and added three more runs to secure the victory.
According to LaBrunda, the team’s leadoff lefty duo Nick Questa and Brady McLaughlin began the night testing and learning the opposing pitchers’ tendencies with tough at bats, giving Writt the courage to break the Bulldogs’ defense with two hard hits. LaBrunda also said Matt Rehm was the most reliable player for the L-Town A’s offensively throughout the post season and his middle-infield partner Connor Kimmel was the most valuable defensively. John Sorrentino and Matt Larangera completed the bottom of the lineup with meaningful hits and scored the go-ahead runs to secure the championship.
“As general Manager I am glad to provide the L-Town A’s with the opportunity to play at a venue as prestigious as TD Bank Stadium, knowing we could theoretically compete versus teams that play on these professionally maintained fields on a daily basis,” said LaBrunda. “What makes the L-Town A’s unique is our love and respect of the game of baseball, and then our ‘bad-boy’ attitude with total disregard for other teams’ feelings. The love of the game doesn’t just stop on the field.”
LaBrunda and Writt thanked the fans and family that show up to every game, no matter its significance. They said that to return with a championship for all the time Livingston A’s fans have dedicated to supporting the boys makes the team prouder than ever to call the Livingston Oval its home field.
“The L-Town A’s will be honored to return to the NJABL,” said LaBrunda and Writt. “We are not finished inflicting nightmares in our opponents’ championship dreams while defending our title belts and trophies every Sunday as the ‘bad boys’ of summer.”