“I’ve got to find the right spot”

“Two out rally!”

“Protect the ball”

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“You fired up? I’m fired up! I can’t hear you!”

“Breathe!” “Deep breath, reset”

“Whoa..where are you going?? You can’t move”

Just a few of the statements you may have heard this past weekend at the 18th annual Mt. Olive Marauders Memorial Blast. From lucky pretzels to finding the "lucky" spot, to say our baseball teams and parents are a bit superstitious not only is an understatement but adds to the fun the West Orange PAL program had this past Memorial Day Weekend!

One of the highlights of the West Orange PAL Travel Baseball season is the Annual Mt. Olive Marauders Memorial Blast. Our teams have participated in this tournament for the past four years. The Mt. Olive Tournament is a town team only based tournament. This year the West Orange PAL Travel Baseball program had four teams representing West Orange – 9U, 10U, 12U, and 14U divisions. The Tournament began on Thursday May 24 and ran through Monday, May 28. During the Tournament games are played at Turkey Brook Park, Dan Jordan Fields, and Russ Nagle Fields, all in the Mt. Olive/Budd Lake area. West Orange sets up camp at Turkey Brook Park and it is a family day for all the teams. For the past few years Enzo’s Ristorante & Pizzeria has provided our teams and families with 6-foot sub sandwiches and pizzas while the teams relaxed between games. And to top off a great weekend, our 10U and 14U teams won their divisions to become Tournament Champions!

The 9U team took to the fields beginning Thursday night with a tough loss to Wayne PAL but came back to win their next 3 games: 6-5 over Denville, 13-2 over Montville, and 6-5 come from behind win over Randolph. The 9U team advanced to the semi final round played on Monday morning against Roxbury. It was tough loss, 4-2, but the team made great plays to stay in the game against the number 1 seeded Roxbury. This was the first time the 9U team had been in tournament play and their spirit to win was shown with each play of the games.

Our 10U team represented West Orange with a 2-2 record in the tournament. They took a loss to Randolph in game one, 7-4, but split Saturday’s games with a 9-1 win over Sparta, and a 9-3 loss to Bernardsville. They then came back to win 18-5 against Kinnelon (who prevented them from reaching the semi finals last year). The team was patient as they waited to see if they had made the semi finals! On Monday, the 10U team played with their hearts to take a 5-4 win over Denville to make it to the Championship played Monday afternoon. The Championship game was a pitching dual against Randolph…but not for long. The 10U team broke open in the 5th inning to go ahead 7-2. In the bottom of the 6th, the team held onto the lead with an 8-3 victory to win the 10U Division Tournament Championship!

The 12U team battled some stiff competition, playing Montville, Sparta, Fielders Choice, but unfortunately were not able to win their bracket. The teams' performance was highlighted by strong pitching. There were many great plays made in the field but the offense stole the show with homeruns clearing the fences.  Thursday night's play clearly set the tone for an exciting weekend for the team. The 12U did pull out a great win over host team, Mt. Olive, with a 7-4 victory. The 12U team now looks forward to moving into the playoffs of the USABL regular season.

A long time coming, the 14U team, went undefeated in the Tournament. This team was the original travel team entered into the Mt. Olive Tournament as a 10U team, 4 years ago when the PAL took over the Travel Baseball program. Coming back from being runner up in last year’s Championship, the team was determined to win this year. The team took a win over Belleville 11-6, and 7-0 win over Roxbury securing the #1 seed in the tournament. They took on Belleville in the Championship on Sunday evening with a 5-1 win. Smart base running and clean defense guided the team the Championship they had been waiting for.

Congratulations to all our teams on their dedication to the PAL program this past weekend. The West Orange PAL program received many compliments on our level of play, the way the teams and coaches carried themselves, and our sportsmanship towards our opponents and the umpires.  It was truly a wonderful experience to see players and families coming out to support all of our teams at each age level; players on the benches or outside the dugout of their peer players, siblings waiting outside the dugouts, and parents enjoying the company of one another – it is what the PAL family is all about! We could not be more proud to represent West Orange and putting our town on the map of youth baseball!  The 10U and 14U Tournament Trophies, affectionately named Olivia and Olive, are now on display at the PAL building.

Next up..the PAL Hit-A-Thon on Saturday June 2! We hope you will join us!

 

 

UPCOMING DATES:

Travel Baseball Hit-A-Thon

The West Orange PAL will host its Annual Hit-A-Thon Fundraiser on Saturday, June 2, beginning at 5pm following the Downtown Street Fair! The Hit-A-Thon will take place under the lights of the PAL field. Those who would like to participate should contact info@wopal.org or you can donate directly on: https://99pledges.com/fund/2018PALHITaTHON.

 

Football and Cheerleading Registration:

New season – new league! The PAL will hold registration beginning June 9th from 9-11am at the PAL Field (28 Prospect Place) for the 2018 fall Football and Cheerleading teams. Registration forms are  available on http://www.wopal.org.

 

Interested in volunteering with PAL?  Email info@wopal.org.

Interested in volunteering with MTL? Email mountaintopleague@gmail.com (sport-specific emails are available on the MTL website.

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Jennifer Buesser has lived in West Orange since 2005.  She is a long-time MTL volunteer and current trustee.  Cheryl Merklinger is a life-long West Orange resident.  She is a second- generation PAL volunteer and current trustee.  We Are West Orange highlights youth sports in town, including the kids they benefit and the volunteers who make them all possible.

For more information about MTL programs:   http://www.mountaintopleague.com/.

For more information about PAL programs: http://www.wopal.org.

For information about WO Recreation Dep’t Programs: http://www.westorange.org/index.aspx?nid=87.

Logo designed by Andrew Mazurek, WOHS Class of 2002: http://www.andrewmazurekart.com.