MILLTOWN, NJ - When the Milltown Little League's U12 team sealed the first District 10 championship in the borough in more than a decade on July 9, there was only one place the players wanted to be; at the hospital with their injured teammate. Tyler Oleksy or Bubba, as he is affectionately known by teammates, friends and family, went down early in the game with a leg injury. Oleksy had to be taken off the field and went right to the hospital to have his leg evaluated.

The first baseman who also pitches and plays right field suffered a bad break. Oleksy will miss the Section Three Tournament in Toms River, which begins today as well as a trip to Cooperstown later this month to compete in a U12 baseball tournament played at Dreams Park. The players rallied after Oleksy's injury, coming from behind to win the championship by a score of 3-2 over Sayreville. Afterwards, the players and coaches headed to the hospital to celebrate with Oleksy. The gesture and moment was especially poignant for Eric Oleksy, the team's manager and dad to Tyler.

"Extremely emotional," Oleksy said of the post-win celebration at the hospital. "I get choked up thinking about it. These boys are all like sons to me, and to see them come together and show their support like that was simply amazing. After the game ended, instead of going out and celebrating, they all car-pooled over to the hospital, draped Bubba in the D-10 championship banner, gave him the game ball and celebrated with him there. I could not hold back my tears. I cannot thank these boys enough for what they did for him."

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Bubba is resting, but he is devastated because he will be unable to play in the next tournament and is missing out on the Cooperstown trip that takes place July 20 to July 26 and the "Field of Dreams" experience.

"He would miss the biggest game of his career up to that point and miss out on playing in Cooperstown a few weeks later, which is essentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as children cannot play there after the age of 12," Oleksy continued. "This has been a horrific obstacle for us to overcome, but I think the experience will make him stronger. I will also believe that this gave the team a "Win it for Bubba" mentality and provided the strength and courage they needed to win."

The District 10-winning team was put together early in June for the Little League's District Tournament. The roster includes:

  • #24 Cody Rullo - P/SS
  • #7 Trey Lazar - P/3B/SS
  • #31 Carter Cumiskey - P/1B
  • #22 Ryder Simpson - P/C
  • #13 Tyler "Bubba" Oleksy - P/1B/RF
  • #34 Ronaldy Peralta - CF
  • #28 Ryan Nunn - LF/C
  • #5 Bobby Duffy - 3B/RF/LF
  • #27 Tristan Obriski - 2B
  • #1 Jack Bicsko - LF/P
  • #14 Stephen "Steveo" Spisso - 2B/RF

Oleksy is joined on the bench by coaches Colin Cumisky and Steve Spisso and back-up coach Mark Obriski. Most of the boys have been playing together since they were in kindergarten even though the team was put together last month.

"I have coached the boys their entire baseball lives, since T-Ball," Oleksy said. "They are essentially like my own children."

 
So far this summer, the boys have been playing a lot of baseball.
 
"In the pool play of the district round, we finished with a record of 4-1," Oleksy explained. "We advanced to double elimination and had a record of 4-1. So overall in the District round we were 8-2."
 
"Expect the unexpected," Oleksy said when asked about some tournament highlights. "A pitcher, Ryder Simpson, who is our starting catcher and hadn't pitched at all in the tournament prior was asked to pitch the first game of  the championship. We expected him to give us maybe four innings and he went the complete game. Our first baseman, my son Bubba, who is a southpaw, had to gear-up behind the plate and only ever caught a few times in his entire career. and we won!"
 
In preparation for today's 1 p.m. game against North Howell, the team is getting a well deserved rest.
"Taking a break," Oleksy said when asked how the team is preparing. "We just finished playing 10 games, five of which came back-to-back and the boys need a break. Its summer, and boys need to be boys. They needed a rest and some breathing room, so no practice!"

Toms River East Little League will host the Section Three Tournament. Milltown joins four other teams with play beginning on today. The other teams will include the District 12 champs from Bordentown Little League, the District 11 winners from North Howell Little League, the District 18 winners from Holbrook Little League and the District 19 champs from Toms River East Little League.

The Section Three victors advance to the Joe Graziano Little League Tournament, which will be played in Sayreville on July 24 to July 29. Milltown will play North Howell at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The winner of that game will play Bordentown on July 15 at 5:30 p.m. The championship game is scheduled to take place on July 20.

"The Borough of Milltown has shown a ton of gratitude and support for our boys," Oleksy added. "It is truly the 'Greatest Little Town in the Land.' You would think our boys just won game seven of the World Series. I simply cannot thank the players, parents, friends and families of Milltown Little League and our community for all they have done to show their support."