ELIZABETH—The 11-year-olds of the Elmora Troopers team entered the District 7 tournament with high expectations. As 10-year-olds this group of players fell just short of taking the district flag. In 2008, the team rolled through the playoffs with a perfect record but they needed to beat Hoboken Little League to take the championship.
The team, coached by Kent Campbell, wasted no time as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and added another three in the second to post a 8-0 score that held for the final four innings. Pitcher/shortstop Kevin Campbell scored the first run as he singled, stole second and stole home on a passed ball to give the Troopers a 1-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
“For the 2008 season, all of our baseball tournament teams are named the ‘Elmora Troopers’ in honor of Trooper Thomas Hanratty,” said Elmora Youth League President Stan Bell. The league’s home fields are the Westfield Avenue fields named for the NJ state trooper killed in the line of duty. The fields were dedicated in 1998.
In 1999, Elmora Youth League chartered with the Little League organization of Williamsport, Pa. “In 2003, our Junior League baseball team won districts, but this team is the first to take a Little League district championship’” said EYL information officer and former president Ralph Abbate. “It may have taken 10 years to get this flag, but we have high hopes that future teams can put the effort that Team Manager Campbell, his coaches and these 11 players put into this summer season.” he continued.
The Troopers’ pitchers did a phenomenal job shutting down a hot hitting Hoboken team. The best threat the Hoboken club could manage on the day was in the second inning when they got a runner to third base. Pitcher Elliot Lopez took a grounder and made the play to first for the third out to end the rally. EYL used four pitchers who combined to strike out 13 batters in six innings. Pitcher Liam Burke came out for the final inning and he got the last two strikeouts to seal the victory.
In the second inning, Anthony Colletti Jr. hit a solo home run over the fence to push the Trooper lead to 6-0. Josh Gruber and Omari Hurston each had two singles. In a previous district game, Chris Solano hit a home run to aid the Troopers’ amazing run through the playoffs.
The boys next play in the Little League Sectionals on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Ironbound section of Newark. Coach John Burke said, “We are pretty excited about the team; the Troopers are playing with a lot of heart and they know they have more games to play in their journey to the Little League World Series.”
Check the ElmoraYouth.com website for information on game time and dates for the 11-year-old team.
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