SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The 2018 10U South Plainfield Tigers did not disappoint.

The returning 12 players began preparing in January for summer baseball, fitting in indoor practice between wrestling and basketball events. It was a demanding schedule for a 10-year old and their parents. To prepare for the season, the Tigers played in the Basking Ridge Spring League. The league included Club Teams in addition to perennial powerhouses such as Hillsborough (2018 state semifinalist), North Hunterdon (2018 state finalist), and Basking Ridge (2017 state finalist.

Most town teams draw from a larger talent pool due to being bigger towns that are heavily populated or are regional, which combines players from multiple little leagues and make one travel team. Most teams the Tigers see in the states tournament and Mid-Atlantic Region draw from a pool of at least four to five times the number of boys who try out for the South Plainfield team.  As travel teams continue to take local talent away from town teams, the Tigers continue to show that with the right coaching, attitude, and on-field determination, they can compete with the big boys.

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The Tigers have bested numerous big-name club teams over the past three years, on their way to winning three consecutive District 9 Titles, three Northern New Jersey State Titles, and three top six finishes in the Mid-Atlantic Regions, including making the semifinals in both 2017 and 2018. Both years, South Plainfield’s only losses in the Regions came at the hands of the teams made the championship game.

It has been an amazing ride, and we are looking forward to the next two years and heading to Cooperstown, N.Y. Although we did not make the final this year at Regions, we lost to teams (Flood City PA. and Poughkeepsie N.Y.) who draw from a huge talent pool which shows what a talented and close-knit family the Tigers have become.

There are no other 12 boys I would rather go to battle with between the lines. I would not trade a single player on this team for any reason. There’s a lot of talent out there, but it’s not always about talent. It’s about attitude and cohesion, and the chemistry these 12 have.  Whether it is dominant pitching, impeccable defense, or timely hitting, all 12 played a role, and someone different stepped up every day.

These boys continue to impress every day. They aren’t only teammates, they are family. The Tigers’ performance in the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Regions, played in South Plainfield, in front of their home fans, did not disappoint. The entire team, staff, and parents were equally impressed with the support from the community. The hundreds of residents of South Plainfield who turned out for the Tiger games was unprecedented at the SPJBC complex. The quarterfinal game against Upper Perk, Pa. was standing room only. Fans were three to four deep around the field. The players felt the support and were in awe of the amount of people who showed up.

You could feel the electricity, and the boys fed off of it. It was an amazing sight! These young boys now have lifelong memories already that may go unmatched. This is a very special community, and they showed it by coming out to support this very special team.

South Plainfield went 2-2 at Regions. Flood City won the title and advanced.

ROSTER:
Eddie BUDZINSKI - 18
Ryan BALENT - 7
Justin CULVER - 27
Nick IRIZARRY - 2
Daniel KAPSCH - 11
Dominic MASSARO - 6
Alex PIGNA - 10
Will BETHEA - 19
Braden TANKIEWICZ - 33
Aidan KAPLAN - 4
Dylan OLLER - 44
Anthony TOMEI - 5

COACHES:
Jay CULVER - 8
Dan KAPSCH - 25
Ed BUDZINSKI - 36
Bill BETHEA - 49