MILLBURN, NJ — The Millburn 12U baseball team coached by Anthony Dasti won the Northern New Jersey Cal Ripken State Tournament by defeating four-time defending champions, South Plainfield, on Saturday, August 15, in Monroe Township, NJ. South Plainfield had won the state championship at the 8U, 9U, 10U, and 11U levels. Millburn went 5-0 during the tournament.
In their first game, Millburn defeated Denville, 3-0. Charlie Wall pitched a complete game shutout for Millburn, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out five. Millburn scored all of their runs in the third inning when Ryder Rabinowitz, Kyle Chase, Quinn Conn, and Daniel Licciardi all singled. Denville's only threat came in the fourth inning when they put two runners on base with one out. Millburn's defense ended the threat when catcher Sawyer Stein picked off a runner at first, and third baseman Wes Dieckman recorded the third out on a fielder's choice.
In their second game, Millburn defeated Ridge, 4-1. Once again, Millburn was led by strong pitching. Jack Gukassey allowed one hit and one run while striking out three over four and two-thirds innings. Chase finished the game for Millburn, allowing no runs while striking out two. On offense, Chase, Stein, Licciardi, and Jake Solomon had hits for Millburn, while Brandon Wong and Conn had all of Millburn's RBIs. Wall led Millburn's defense with five putouts at shortstop. Second baseman, Charlie Krasnove, and first baseman, Conn, also had multiple putouts in the game. Wong made the defensive play of the game for Millburn when he ended the game and a threat from Ridge by throwing out a runner at first base from right field.
Chase took the mound for Millburn in their third game against South Orange - Maplewood, the District 12 champion, known for hitting home runs. Chase silenced their bats in Millburn's 8-3 victory, striking out nine over five and two-thirds innings while allowing no earned runs. Licciardi led Millburn's offense by going two for three with a home run and three RBI's. Chase, Conn, Stein, and Krasnove all added hits for Millburn. Once again, Wong made the defensive play of the game by throwing out a runner at first from right field.
Wall led Millburn in the semifinal with another complete game shutout to defeat tournament host, Monroe, 11-0. He allowed two hits and no runs while striking out four. Licciardi and Conn both went three for three including another home run by Licciardi. Wong also added a hit for Millburn. Conn, Stein, Licciardi, and Solomon all had RBI's. As usual, Wong made the defensive play of the game, this time with a diving catch on a line drive to right-center field.
Chase took the mound for the final and led Millburn to a 4-2 victory over South Plainfield, earning him the MVP award. Chase allowed three hits and one earned run while striking out three in six innings. Millburn scored one in the first on a lead-off double by Chase, a sacrifice bunt by Wong, and a single by Conn. Millburn scored two more in the third with a two-out rally consisting of singles by Conn and Stein followed by a double from Licciardi. Millburn added one in the fourth inning when Solomon led off with a single, Dieckman bunted to advance Solomon to second, Krasnove singled, and Chase hit a fly ball to left and reached on an error. On defense, Millburn minimized a threat by South Plainfield in the first inning with a double play, shortstop Wall to first baseman Conn to third baseman Gukassey, to retire the batter and a runner attempting to advance from second to third. In the second, Chase made an excellent play on a well-placed bunt down the third base line. Once again, Wong threw out a runner at first from right field in the third. In the fifth, second baseman Dieckman made a great catch on a hard line drive. Finally, in a tense sixth inning with bases loaded, third baseman Gukassey charged a grounder and threw to first to end the game.
This win marks the second consecutive year that Dasti has coached Millburn's 12U team to the state championship.