2002 New Jersey State Little League® Tournament Results
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New Jersey State Tournament

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New Jersey State Tournament
Host - Marlboro Township (Morganville) (District 19)
At John Hanson Memorial Field

Participating Teams
Section 1 Champions Randolph East (District 1)
Section 2 Champions Millburn-Short Hills (District 9)
Section 3 Champions Nottingham (Hamilton Square) (District 12)
Section 4 Champions Winslow Township (District 21)

NOTE: The New Jersey State Tournament used a round-robin schedule. The top two teams at the completion of round-robin competition advanced to the championship game.

Tournament Results:

Round 1 (Saturday, July 27):
Randolph East 2, Nottingham 1 (9 innings)
Millburn-Short Hills 11, Winslow Township 1 (4 innings)

Round 2 (Saturday, July 27):
Randolph East 9, Winslow Township 4
Nottingham 7, Millburn-Short Hills 4

Round 3 (Sunday, July 28):
Nottingham 4, Winslow Township 1
Millburn-Short Hills 4, Randolph East 0

Tournament Standings


Nottingham 2 1 7
Millburn-Short Hills 2 1 8
Randolph East 2 1 9
Winslow Township 0 3 24

Ties are broken based on records in head-to-head competition among tied teams. If a clear winner cannot be determined from head-to-head results, the tie is broken by calculating the ratio of runs allowed to defensive innings played for all teams involved in the tie. The team with the lowest runs-per-defensive-inning ratio advances.

In the event of a tie involving three or more teams, once the initial tie is broken, the remaining tied teams are again compared on head-to-head record to determine if a clear winner can be identified. If no clear winner can be identified from head-to-head results among the remaining tied teams, the runs-per-defensive-inning ratio is again used. This process is repeated until all ties have been broken.

Consolation Game (Monday, July 29)

Randolph East versus Winslow Township (Cancelled; mutual consent)

New Jersey State Championship Game (Monday, July 29)

Nottingham 4, Millburn-Short Hills 3 (TITLE)


Nottingham Little League saved its best for last.

And its other best.

And the other best, too.

"Somebody asked me how I would pick an MVP of this team," said manager Tom Raynor. "I told them there are three MVPs, the three pitchers, and you don't even have to number them one, two, three. They've all pitched in big games and they've all come through."

Nottingham had top pitchers Michael Alleman, Bradley Raynor, and Michael Russo all available for the championship game of the New Jersey State Tournament.

They needed all three.

The three hurlers combined on a four-hitter as Nottingham rallied from a 3-0 deficit to edge Millburn-Short Hills Little League 4-3 at John Hanson Memorial Field in Morganville. With the win, Nottingham claimed the sixth state championship in the league's 49-year history.

Alleman was Nottingham's championship game starter on a steamy, 95-degree evening, and he departed after allowing Ben Spicehandler's leadoff triple in the fourth with Millburn leading 2-0. Nottingham rallied, and Russo, pitching two days after throwing 125 pitches in a nine inning outing on the tournament's opening day, threw 51 more to take his team within one out of the title. When Russo ran into trouble in the final inning, Bradley Raynor extinguished a Millburn rally by inducing a game-ending groundout.

Millburn-Short Hills opened the scoring in the third inning. Luke Geller walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on leadoff hitter Sean Campi's single. Third baseman Geoff Twombley drove in Campi with a two-run double, and Millburn had an early 2-0 lead.

Spicehandler tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the third to extend the lead before Nottingham's bats began to warm up. Russo drilled a two-strike changeup onto Tennet Road beyond the left-center field fence to give the District 12 champions their first run, and catcher D.J. Ruppert lofted a foul-line hugging home run to left field on the first pitch in the fourth inning.

Nottingham then grabbed the lead. James Laver followed the homer with a double to left-center field, and Scott Fryczynski's single put runners at the corners. Ken Ridge's game-tying groundout scored Laver, and Bradley Raynor laced a triple just inside the left-field line to drive home Fryczynski with the go-ahead run.

Millburn's defense escaped further damage, and its offense began to stir in the sixth. Russo retired the first two hitters, but Spicehandler walked and sped to third when first baseman Jeremy Gordon singled. Gordon took second on the throw, and Tom Raynor called on the third of his MVP pitchers.

Bradley Raynor induced a ground out to second base, and Nottingham had its first state title since 1993.

Nottingham's pitching depth was critical due to the compressed format used at the 2002 state tournament. Instead of a traditional double-elimination bracket, New Jersey officials employed a round-robin format, with each of the tournament's four teams playing three games before two finalists met in a winner-take-all championship game.

Because of an agreement with the YES Network to televise the championship game, officials scheduled the entire tournament to be played in a three-day timespan, with each team playing a doubleheader on the opening Saturday.

"Every team is going to be in the same boat as far as pitching goes. We're all playing three games in two days," said Tom Raynor before the tournament.

Winslow Township coach Dave Magrann concurred.

"Playing a doubleheader on Saturday doesn't bother us. Everybody else is in the same boat," said McGrann before the tournament.

Randolph East manager Paul Brennan pointed out the main change caused by the new format.

"Before you could have one bad game and still win the championship," said Brennen as his team awaited their tournament opener against Nottingham. "Now it might be one bad game and you're done."

Brennan's team suffered exactly the scenario he suggested. Nottingham, Millburn-Short Hills, and Randolph East all finished round-robin play with 2-1 records, and Randolph became the odd team out when the tournament's tiebreakers were applied. After breezing through District 1 and Section 1 tournament play without a loss, Randolph's season ended when Millburn's Spicehandler threw a three-hit shutout in the final game of pool play.

"Take nothing away from Millburn," said Brennan. "Their pitcher did what he needed to do. It was just the first game of the year when it didn't work out for us."

Nottingham also needed a win in their final round robin game. The District 12 champions had dropped a nine inning decision to Randolph in the tournament's opening game before rebounding to defeat Millburn-Short Hills 7-4 later in the day. Because of their earlier loss, Nottingham needed a win in their final round robin game, and also a strong pitching performance to position themselves favorably under the tournament's runs per defensive inning tiebreaker.

Despite this, Tom Raynor rolled the dice, and sent Laver, his seldom-used number four pitcher, to the mound against Winslow Township.

"People looked at me funny," said Tom Raynor of his decision to start Laver instead of Alleman with Nottingham's season on the line.

"I kept telling him eventually he'd have to win us a game," said the Nottingham manager. "He knew which game it was."

Laver allowed only one hit over five innings to lead Nottingham into the championship game with a 4-1 victory over Winslow Township. The right-hander faced only seventeen batters, striking out four and walking two before turning the game over to Alleman in the sixth.

"James was phenominal today," said Tom Raynor.

Laver's performance helped send his team to the championship game, where Nottingham rallied past Millburn-Short Hills to advance to the Mid-Atlantic Region tournament in Bristol, Connecticut. The Garden State representatives reached the Mid-Atlantic semifinals before falling to Lehigh Little League (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) by a 10-3 score.

Follow Nottingham at the Mid-Atlantic Region Tournament -- click here to view results.


  Championship Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Millburn-Short Hills 0 0 2 1 0 0 3 4 -
Nottingham 0 0 0 1 3 x 4 7 -

2002 New Jersey District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results:

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D1 - Randolph East
D2 - Pequannock
D4 - Ridgewood National
D17 - Middlesex
D20 - Hobb Engler (Byram Township)

Section 1 Tournament
Host - North Hunterdon (High Bridge) (District 17)

Tournament Results:
1 - Hobb Engler 1, Pequannock 0
2 - Randolph East 9, Ridgewood National 0
3 - Middlesex 3, Hobb Engler 0
4 - Pequannock 3, Ridgewood National 1 (elim.)
5 - Pequannock 4, Hobb Engler 1 (elim.)
6 - Randolph East 2, Middlesex 1
7 - Middlesex d. Pequannock (elim.)
8 - Randolph East 6, Middlesex 5 (TITLE)

D5 - Rutherford American
D6 - Palisades Park/Leonia
D7 - Pershing Field (Jersey City)
D8 - Nutley National
D9 - Millburn-Short Hills

Section 2 Tournament
Host - Secaucus (District 7)
At Buchmuller Park

Tournament Results:
1 - Palisades Park/Leonia 7, Rutherford American 6
2 - Millburn-Short Hills 6, Nutley National 4
3 - Nutley National 3, Rutherford American 1 (elim.)
4 - Pershing Field 4, Palisades Park/Leonia 2
5 - Nutley National d. Palisades Park/Leonia (elim.)
6 - Millburn-Short Hills 7, Pershing Field 3
7 - Nutley National 2, Pershing Field 1 (8 innings; elim.)
8 - Millburn-Short Hills 10, Nutley National 0 (4 innings; TITLE)

District Champions
in Section 3
District Champions
in Section 4
D10 - Franklin Township
D11 - Ocean Township North
D12 - Nottingham (Hamilton Square)
D18 - Toms River
D19 - Tinton Falls

Section 3 Tournament
Host - Nottingham (Hamilton Square) (District 12)
At Jim Reed Field; Sayen Park

The Section 3 tournament used a round-robin format.

Tournament Results:
1 - Franklin Township 8, Ocean Township North 7
2 - Nottingham 6, Toms River 3
3 - Nottingham 2, Franklin Township 1
4 - Tinton Falls 2, Ocean Township North 1
7 - Franklin Township 7, Toms River 5
8 - Nottingham 12, Tinton Falls 2
9 - Franklin Township 2, Tinton Falls 1 (8 innings)
10 - Toms River 15, Ocean Township North 6
5 - Nottingham 4, Ocean Township North 1
6 - Toms River 5, Tinton Falls 4

Games 5 and 6 had been postponed by rain.



Nottingham 4 0
Franklin Township 3 1
Toms River 2 2
Tinton Falls 1 3
Ocean Twp North 0 4

Championship Game:
Nottingham 6, Franklin Township 2 (TITLE)

D3 - South Vineland
D13 - Cherry Hill American
D14 - Haddon Heights
D15 - Westville
D16 - Northfield
D21 - Winslow Township

Section 4 Tournament
Championship Game Host - South Vineland (District 3)

Tournament Results:
1 - Cherry Hill American 5, Haddon Heights 3
2 - South Vineland 2, Westville 1
3 - Cherry Hill American 13, Winslow Township 11 (8 innings)
4 - South Vineland 10, Northfield 0 (4 innings)
5 - Haddon Heights 6, Northfield 5 (7 innings; elim.)
6 - Winslow Township 6, Westville 4 (elim.)
7 - Cherry Hill American 4, South Vineland 2
8 - Winslow Township 9, Haddon Heights 3 (elim.)
9 - Winslow Township 5, South Vineland 0 (elim.)
10 - Winslow Township 4, Cherry Hill American 3
11 - Winslow Township 3, Cherry Hill American 0 (TITLE)

Toward the past

Toward the present

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Last revision: 10/26/2003