TOMS RIVER, NJ – A game, but undermanned and tired Milltown Little League U12 team entered the District 3 playoffs coming off an emotional, come from behind 3-2 victory over Sayreville last week. The fatigue showed, and although never giving up, the young warriors fell to North Howell on Saturday afternoon by a 12-2 score in a game shortened to 4 innings due to the ten-run rule. Milltown played with only 9 men, with players unavailable due to other athletics, as well as Tyler Oleksy’s broken leg suffered in the Sayreville playoff game. Howell jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first on a series of walks and infield hits, and a bloop hit to left field. The lead grew to 5-0 in the third on a ground ball right down the left field line, scoring the two runs. Milltown grew closer in the bottom of the third, scratching a series of walks and singles to cut the lead to 5-2. As Milltown starting pitcher Cody Rullo, who pitched gamely through the first three innings approached his mandatory pitch limit, one could see him start to fatigue, and Howell took advantage with a long double and two homers, which contributed to the seven run outburst in the top of the fourth inning. With lead now 12-2, Milltown had one last chance to extend the game in the bottom of the fourth, however the needed run was stalled at third base, as Howell got the third out and ended the game. All is not lost however as the first loss only moved Milltown to the tournament’s loser’s bracket, where they get a chance to stave off elimination against Two River East on Monday evening at 7pm again at Toms River East Little League Field.