Greetings From Troy, Michigan
Taylor, Michigan in August does not rate with Disney World or even the Jersey Shore but its where a group of kids from Manchester are hoping to be because that’s the site of Little League Baseball’s Junior League World Series.
Before the 14-year olds, their coaches and parents can book a trip to the Wolverine State they must first claim the East Regional Tournament which gets underway this weekend in Freehold.
The team is the first in the history of the Manchester Little League to win a sectional and state title and they will go up against 9 other teams from Maine to Maryland in the upcoming regional with their opener tomorrow morning against the Maine state champs.
The double elimination tournament concludes on Thursday with all games at the site of what used to be Liberty Oak Park and is now Michael J Tighe Park. As is usually the case pitching will be the key with Matt Bryant to get the start on Saturday…other hurlers on the staff include Dillon Barry, Gavin Pabst and Jake Byrnes.
The team’s offense is led by the likes of Steve Rodriguez, Mark Wernoch, Ryan Vahnderham, Matt Migliaccio and Joe Tomei. Manager Ed Carney, who has had this team together since most were 8-year olds, is helped by coaches Pat Barry and Henry Wernoch.
Jim Dowd is best known for his exploits on the ice with 10 different teams over 17 NHL seasons, including the New Jersey Devils who he helped win a Stanley Cup in 1995. The former Brick Green Dragon established his “Shoot for the Stars Foundation” during his pro career and each summer hosts a high school All-Star game matching teams from Ocean and Monmouth County against one another.
The 16th Annual Shore High School All Star game will be played Sunday at 5pm at the Red Bank Armory with proceeds to benefit The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Tickets will be sold at the door for $10 and there will be raffles with several pieces of NHL signed memorabilia as prizes.
Monmouth leads the overall series 10-5 and will feature 8 players from CBA, including Brendan VanRiemsdyk, whose brother James plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Ocean roster is headed up by six players from Brick, including Andrew Reiss who was their MVP in last year’s 8-5 loss. The coaching staffs are from Jackson Liberty and Wall.