The South Brunswick Post 401 American Legion baseball team placed in a tie for third in the state, finishing the final New Jersey tournament with a record of 2-2.
South Brunswick had a chance to place second and reach the regionals, but it was defeated by Brooklawn, 24-2, in the decisive game on Friday.
In district and state final 8 play, South Brunswick was only defeated by Brooklawn and Flemington. Those happen to be the two teams that grabbed the top spots in the state and are still active.
"The kids who made the commitment to play were very resilient," South Brunswick Manager Tony Cosumano said. "They wanted to win.
"Dont know how much better we could have done in the final eight. Flemington and Brooklawn were both very good. They were the best two teams in the state."
Flemington had defeated South Brunswick in the districts, but Post 401 advanced with a second-place finish. In the first game of the state final 8 -- hosted at Mercer County Park -- Brooklawn defeated South Brunswick, 18-6, on July 31.
South Brunswick was now thrust into the loser's bracket of the final 8 and faced elimination when it trailed Park Ridge on August 1. Fortunately, it rallied for a 17-7 win.
Tyler Paquette hit a grand slam in the first to give South Brunswick an early lead. After three batters had walked earlier in the inning, Paquette saw a strike.
Post 401 was trailing before tying the game at 7-7 with three runs in the seventh. Post 401 then exploded for 10 runs in the eighth.
"I was confident we could score runs," Cosumano said.
Bryan Wasniewski had a two-run double in the eighth. Ariel Torries had a two-run single. The inning was also dragged out by a rain delay. Finally, it ended on a run-scoring hit by Dan Levin. Amazingly, a game South Brunswick had trailed an inning before was a 10-run blowout win in its favor.
Wasniewski won the game in relief. Vic Sorrento worked the first seven innings and only allowed two earned runs.
South Brunswick was also put to the edge of elimination against Lyndhurst on August 2 before rallying for a 14-7 win. That game was 7-7 going into the ninth.
Luke Rimmer, Dan Levin, Victor Sorrento, Nick Wolfson and Kevin Mayce all had hits in the decisive ninth.
"At this time in the tournament, teams are starting to run out of pitching," Cosumano said. "Are guys kept battling and jumped on some guys late. The players that showed up never quit."
Brendan McKee worked into the eighth inning. Danny Strickland picked up the win in relief.
South Brunswick's tournament then ended on Friday. South Brunswick ended the year with a record of 22-10.
"We've been fortunate to have some good finishes in the states over the years," Cosumano said. "This would have to rank as one of our best teams."
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