Taking a one-game-at-a-time approach the Elmora Youth Troopers Little League team – this summer’s New Jersey state champions – just kept playing.
Because the group of youngsters from Elizabeth, ages 9-12, kept winning.
As a result, Elizabeth, N.J. will be represented at the Little League World Series that begins Thursday in Williamsport, Pa.
Elmora Youth defeated Haverstraw, N.Y. 19-4 in Saturday night’s Mid-Atlantic Region championship game played in Bristol, Conn.
Now the Troopers will be playing in the LL World Series for the first time.
Dreams can come true after all.
“It is very surreal for us right now,” Elmora Youth manager Jairo Labrador told The New York Post Saturday night, just momentsafter the Elizabeth squad advanced to compete on the biggest LL stage in Williamsport.
Labrador continued: “it was definitely a goal we had in mind when the kids were 6 and 7 and we got them together.”
The LLWS, featuring players between the ages of 9 and 12, commences Thursday in Williamsport and continues through Aug. 25.The tournament features eight teams from regions throughout the United States and eight international squads.
Elmora’s first LLWS game will be against Oregon, the Northwest Region champion, on Friday at 8 p.m.
In the Mid-Atlantic Region championship game, JR Rosado provided solid pitching and Elmora scored two in the first, seven inthe second and two in the third for an 11-4 advantage. Rosado struck out 11 in 4 and 1/3 innings and at the plate was an outstanding 4-for-5, with two runs.
Jayden Capindica and Yamil Soto each drove in four runs.
Elmora Youth went 5-1 in double-elimination Mid-Atlantic Region competition. The only loss was against Washington, D.C., withElmora Youth defeating the same squad in Friday’s semifinals.
Elmora Youth is not – ‘just happy’ – to make it to Williamsport, Pa. for the first time.
“Our expectations are to compete and to go up there and win,” Labrador said.
You can be sure the Elmora Youth Troopers will be heavily supported from a large contingent of fans from their hometown of Elizabeth.
All of the action will be broadcast on ESPN.
Elmora Youth advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Region after defeating Holbrook Little League from Jackson twice to capture the stateLL crown.
Holbrook was the last squad from NJ to make the LLWS, doing so in 2017.
Other NJ teams to capture the Mid-Atlantic Region title and advance to the LLWS were Par Troy East of Parsippany in 2012 andToms River National in 2010.
The Troopers were the first Elizabeth team since 1978 to advance to the regionals.
The team is called the Troopers in honor of State Trooper Thomas J. Hanratty, who was killed in the line of duty April 2, 1992in a motor vehicle accident. Tpr. Hanratty was born in Elizabeth and played in the league growing up.
The team’s home field was named in Hanratty’s honor in 1998 and wears his badge number 4971 on their sleeve in his honor.
Reaching the Mid-Atlantic Region of the tournament is the furthest that a New Jersey Little League from an urban community hasgone in a long time. The last squad to do it was Jersey City’s Roberto Clemente Little League in 1988.
FROM BRISTOL, CONN.
Sunday, Aug. 4
Elmora Youth Little League 1, Pennsylvania 0
Pitchers J.R. Rosado and Yadriel Mateo combined on one-hitter.
Mateo drive in Sal Garcia III with a double in fifth after Garcia walked.
Monday, Aug. 5
Washington, D.C. 8, Elmora Youth Little League 7
Washington, D.C. wins on two-out, 3-run, walk-off home run in bottom of sixth.
Garcia pitches 4 and 1/3 innings and slugs solo home run to give Elmora 4-3 lead.
Tuesday, Aug. 6
Elmora Youth Little League 4, Maryland 1
Mateo earned mound win and Mateo (single) and Derek Escobar (double) both drove in two runs.
Wednesday, Aug. 7
Elmora Youth Little League 4, Pennsylvania 0
Escobar pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout, striking out three.
GAME 5 – SEMIFINALS:
Friday, Aug. 9
Elmora Youth Little League 5, Washington, D.C. 0
Pitchers Jayden Capindica and L.J. Aponte combined for the shutout.
Pinch runner Jaime Tamayo scored game-winning run.
GAME 6 – CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:
Saturday, Aug. 10
Elmora Youth Little League 19, Haverstraw, N.Y. 4
J.R. Rosado provided solid pitching and Elmora scored two in the first, seven in the second
and two in the third for an 11-4 advantage. Rosado struck out 11 in 4 and 1/3 innings and at the plate
was an outstanding 4-for-5, with two runs. Capindica and Yamil Soto each drove in four runs.