NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - High School baseball is back as players across the Garden State took the field for the first round of games in the Last Dance Tournament. The Last Dance Tournament is the brainchild of St. Joseph's of Metuchen High School's head baseball coach Mike Murray and is meant to give graduating New Jersey high school baseball players one last opportunity at bat. The Last Dance Tournament includes more than 200 teams.
United States Specialty Sports Association is sanctioning the tournament not the NJSIAA, which is the governing body behind high school sports in New Jersey. Since the tournament is not sanctioned by the NJSIAA, participants are not allowed to wear their school-issued uniforms, use any equipment provided by area high schools or be identified by their high school team name. The Last Dance Tournament is considered a youth sports event not a high school sponsored tournament.
Spotswood took the field on Monday against Middlesex in the late game of the North Brunswick Regional. All North Brunswick Regional games are being played at Community Park. The eight teams in the North Brunswick Regional bracket were divided into A and B groups. The North Brunswick Regional brackets are in the southern region of the tournament. Spotswood is in the B group along with Middlesex, South Plainfield and MCVTS. The Vikings, OB Knights, STA Trojans and North Brunswick Township make up the A Group.
Second seeded Middlesex came away with a 12-0 victory over third seeded Spotswood last night. Top seeded South Plainfield blanked fourth seeded MVCTS 14-0 in the other B North Brunswick Regional game. On Tuesday, Monday's winners South Plainfield and Middlesex will face off at 5:45 p.m. Spotswood takes on MCVTS in the other game at 8:15 p.m.
The top seeded Vikings defeated the fourth seeded STA Trojans 8-6 and the second seeded OB Knights had a commanding 13-3 victory over third seeded North Brunswick Township in the A group. Old Bridge plays the South Brunswick Vikings at 5:45 p.m. tonight while the STA Trojans hit the field against North Brunswick Township at 8:15 p.m.
The first three games of the Last Dance Tournament are pool play. Each participating team is guaranteed three games. The remaining rounds of the tournament that follows the template of the NCAA College World Series is single elimination.
Wednesday's games for the North Brunswick A/B Regional will be seed crossover games. All four teams in the North Brunswick A and B Regional will be reseeded after Tuesday's games to determine Wednesday's matchups. The winner of the game between the number one seeds in the A and B North Brunswick Regional advances to the round of 16 against other South regional winners.
Spectators are welcome at all Last Dance Tournament games, but must wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. Admission is free for most games except those being played at minor league professional baseball fields and independent parks.