1999 New Jersey State Little League® Tournament Results
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New Jersey State Tournament

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New Jersey State Tournament
Host - Cherry Hill National (District 13)
At Lafferty Field

Participating Teams
Section 1 Champions Pequannock (District 2)
Section 2 Champions Millburn-Short Hills (District 9)
Section 3 Champions Toms River East American (District 18)
Section 4 Champions Medford (District 13)

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Toms River East American 9, Pequannock 0
Medford 13, Millburn-Short Hills 3 (4 innings)

Elimination Bracket Semifinals (four teams remain):
Pequannock 14, Millburn-Short Hills 3 (elim.)

Winner's Bracket Finals:
Toms River East American 13, Medford 1

Elimination Bracket Finals (three teams remain):
Pequannock 9, Medford 7 (elim.)

Championship Series:
Pequannock 8, Toms River East American 2
Toms River East American 3, Pequannock 2 (TITLE)


The directions are fairly simple. Pick up the northbound Garden State Parkway and cross the Hudson River via the Tappan Zee bridge. Pick up Interstates 684 and 84, and jog over to northbound Connecticut Route 8. Finally, head eastbound on U.S. Route 6. The 180 mile journey takes you from Ocean County, New Jersey to Bristol, Connecticut in a little more than three hours. The Toms River East American Little League all-star team knows the route well.

The formula is also deceptively simple. Start with a fundamentally sound group of players, all of whom must have last names starting with the letters A through J. Mix in outstanding pitching. Choose to be the visiting team, and jump to a quick lead before your opponent has the opportunity to bat. And don't let a loss or two along the way slow you down. Toms River East American is familiar with the formula, as well.

Toms River won its second consecutive New Jersey state crown -- and its third in five years -- with a 3-2 victory over Pequannock in the state championship game at Cherry Hill American's Lafferty Field. The win sent TREA to the Eastern Region Tournament in Bristol, Connecticut, where -- for the third time in five years -- Toms River also won the Eastern Region title and advanced to the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Toms River opened and closed the 1999 New Jersey state tournament with victories over Pequannock. The District 18 champions set the tone in the opener by jumping to a 4-0 lead before Pequannock came to bat in the bottom of the first inning. Consecutive RBI doubles by Steve Bernath, Dave Cappello, and Chris Cunningham helped to build Toms River's first inning lead, and two-run homers from Eric Campesi in the second and Mike Casale in the third widened the margin to 9-0. Casey Gaynor, who along with Campesi was a holdover from the 1998 Little League World Series championship team, threw a four-hit shutout and struck out eleven in Toms River's win.

Medford rolled past Millburn-Short Hills 13-3 in four innings in the other opening round game, and advanced to face Toms River. Medford's offensive attack was led by Brad Veit, who hit three-run homers in both the first and second innings. Veit's second inning blast highlighted a seven-run Medford rally, and essentially put the game out of reach. Winning pitcher Jeff McAndrew, Kevin Dybalski, and Greg Pustuzzi added solo home runs for Medford.

One day after initiating a 13 run onslaught, Medford was victimized by one, as Toms River claimed a title game berth by shelling the Section 4 representatives 13-1. TREA again used a first inning rally to jump to an early lead, as Jeff Burgdorff's check-swing single scored Gaynor and Bernath. In the third, Toms River turned two hits into five runs. A walk, an infield single, and an error loaded the bases with out out, and R.J. Jones walked to force in a run. Campesi then blew the game open by lining a pitch over the center field fence. The grand slam upped TREA's lead to 7-1, and the defending champions were on their way to the title round.

Pequannock recovered from its opening round loss, and eliminated Millburn-Short Hills and Medford in consecutive games to set up a rematch with Toms River in the state finals. Toms River again used early offense to take a first inning lead, as Bernath drove home Campesi with a single up the middle. However, Pequannock pitcher Ryan Slootmaker pitched out of a one-out, bases loaded jam in the first without allowing any further scoring.

Pequannock then found an antidote to Toms River's early offense: a five run rally. Second baseman Steve Darmofalski's bases-clearing double highlighted the Pequannock explosion in the bottom of the first, as the Passaic County squad exploited the momentum shift that accompanied Slootmaker's earlier escape. Ryan Rowland's two-run homer in the second stretched the lead to 7-1, and silenced the usually vocal TREA crowd as Pequannock won in the end by an 8-2 margin. Slootmaker gained strength as the game progressed, allowing only two hits after the third inning and finishing with a ten strikeout, six hit complete game.

The Pequannock victory forced a winner-take-all meeting between the two clubs, and Toms River prevailed when Fontinelli's bloop single to right field scored Jones to break a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth inning. Toms River then held on for the 3-2 win, and their third state title in five years.

As usual, Toms River elected to be the visiting club in the tournament finale, and the defending state champions struck for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Campesi walked, advanced to third on Gaynor's single, and scored on Casale's single to left field. Bernath then singled to load the bases. After a pop out, Cappello flied to the left fielder, and Gaynor scored when the Pequannock outfielder threw to the shortstop instead of the plate after the catch.

Pequannock pitcher Mike Moran settled down, and allowed only four hits the rest of the game. In the meantime, his teammates tied the game with a two-out rally in the third. Slootmaker opened the rally by beating out a single on a dribbler hit ten feet in front of the plate. After Rowland followed with a ground-rule double, Steve Terpstra hit another roller in front of the mound. Campesi fielded the ball, but had no play, and Slootmaker scored to halve the Toms River lead to 2-1. Third baseman D.J. Sackmann then hit a chopper off of the plate that scored Rowland and tied the game at two.

The game remained tied until Toms River's final rally in the sixth. Burgdorff reached on a one-out single, and was replaced by Jones, who then moved to second as Moran's third-strike curveball to Cappello broke into the dirt and got past the Pequannock catcher. Zack Del Vento legged out an infield hit, and Fontenelli drove home the lead run by blooping a first pitch curveball into right field. In the bottom of the sixth, Campesi put down Pequannock quickly, recording a comebacker and a pair of strikeouts to seal the win.

Toms River's victory advanced them to the Eastern Region Tournament, where they competed with eleven other Eastern state champions for the right to advance to the Little League World Series. A 3-2 finish in pool play competition qualified Toms River East American for the quarterfinal round, and victories over State College National (Pennsylvania), Capitol City (Washington D.C.), and Middleboro (Massachusetts) helped Toms River to successfully defend its Eastern Region crown.

With the Eastern Region crown securely in hand, the Toms River contingent began another familiar drive: I-80 West to northbound U.S. 15, and hit the brakes at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport. At the Little League World Series, Toms River East American won all three of its pool competition games before falling in a rain-delayed U.S. championship game to the Phenix City National (Alabama) Little League.

Follow Toms River East American at the Eastern Region Tournament -- click here to view results.


  Championship Series 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Toms River East American 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 6 0
Pequannock 5 2 0 1 0 X 8 9 0
  Championship Series
Toms River East American 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 7 0
Pequannock 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 8 0

1999 New Jersey District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results:

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D1 - Hanover
D2 - Pequannock
D4 - Washington Township
D17 - North Hunterdon American (High Bridge)
D20 - Kittatiny

Section 1 Tournament
Host - Randolph (District 1)
At Heistein Park

Tournament Results:
1 - Pequannock 12, Kittatiny 2 (5 innings)
2 - North Hunterdon American 3, Washington Township 1
3 - Kittatiny d. Washington Township (7 innings; elim.)
4 - North Hunterdon American 7, Hanover 3
5 - Pequannock 8, North Hunterdon American 0
6 - Hanover 6, Kittatiny 4 (elim.)
7 - North Hunterdon American 4, Hanover 0 (elim.)
8 - North Hunterdon American 9, Pequannock 2
9 - Pequannock 6, North Hunterdon American 4 (TITLE)

D5 - Rutherford National
D6 - Cliffside Park
D7 - West New York National
D8 - Ironbound (Newark)
D9 - Millburn-Short Hills

Section 2 Tournament
Host - Lodi (District 5)

Tournament Results:
1 - Cliffside Park 6, West New York National 3
2 - Millburn-Short Hills 10, Ironbound 4 (8 innings)
3 - West New York National 7, Ironbound 4 (elim.)
4 - Rutherford National 1, Cliffside Park 0
5 - West New York National 3, Cliffside Park 2 (elim.)
6 - Millburn-Short Hills 2, Rutherford National 1
7 - Rutherford National 9, West New York National 7 (elim.)
8 - Millburn-Short Hills 11, Rutherford National 1 (TITLE)

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D10 - Sayreville
D11 - South Wall
D12 - Ewing American
D18 - Toms River East American
D19 - Freehold Boro

Section 3 Tournament
Host - Sayreville (District 10)

Tournament Results:
1 - South Wall d. Sayreville
2 - Toms River East American 6, Freehold Boro 2
3 - Ewing American 2, South Wall 0 (7 innings)
4 - Sayreville 3, Freehold Boro 0 (elim.)
5 - Sayreville 2, South Wall 1 (elim.)
6 - Toms River East American 7, Ewing American 2
7 - Ewing American 17, Sayreville 7 (elim.)
8 - Ewing American 6, Toms River East American 2
9 - Toms River East American 9, Ewing American 3 (TITLE)

D3 - South Vineland
D13 - Medford
D14 - Gloucester City
D15 - Deptford Township
D16 - Hammonton
D21 - Franklin Township

Section 4 Tournament
Held at Multiple Sites

Tournament Results:
1 - South Vineland 2, Hammonton 1
2 - Medford 4, Deptford Township 2
3 - South Vineland 15, Franklin Township 3
4 - Medford 3, Gloucester City 2
5 - Hammonton 16, Gloucester City 6 (elim.)
6 - Deptford Township d. Franklin Township (elim.)
7 - Hammonton 13, Deptford Township 3
8 - Medford 2, South Vineland 1
9 - Hammonton 10, South Vineland 0 (elim.)
10 - Hammonton 10, Medford 8
11 - Medford 12, Hammonton 2 (4 innings; TITLE)

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Last revision: 10/26/2003