Little League Baseball In Tom’s River
If you haven’t heard of the rich tradition of Little League baseball in Tom’s River, you are probably new to the area. The town is home to one of the best little leagues in the entire world! Tom’s River is also the home to what could be the best Little League team of all time and certainly the most famous. The tradition of Little League baseball in Tom’s River even warranted a story by ESPN (http://www.espn.com/espn/commentary/news/story?page=kreidler/100820) Below is a little more on the rich history of youth baseball in Tom’s River.
What Is The Little League World Series
The Little League World Series is one of the biggest and certainly the most popular youth sporting events in the world. Players can be from age 11-13, depending on when their birthday falls. Teams must win their district, state, and regional championship to qualify to be one of the 16 teams fighting for the world championship. Each year the tournament features 8 American teams and 8 international teams, who must win their national or multinational championship in order to qualify. For years, even in recent times, dynasties have dominated the tournament. Taiwan and Japan account for 27 of the 69 championships. Taiwan ran into eligibility issues and their dynasty fell by the way side, only to be overtaken by the Japanese. The tournament takes place in remote Williamsport, PA, just a few hours from Tom’s River. It is truly a great family atmosphere and a great trip for anyone with kids who enjoy baseball.
1998 World Championship Team
In 1998 Tom’s River East Little League won the Little League World Series Championship. This means that of the 2.6 million little league baseball players in the world, the 12 from Tom’s River were the best. The team actually managed to make the world championships 3 out of 5 years, some players making multiple runs. This kind of success was nearly unheard of for a United States team. The roster was headlined by the now MLB star Todd Frazier who had 4 hits, a homerun, and was the winning pitcher in the championship game against Kashima, Japan.
Part of what made the team so famous was the underdog story they represented. For years Asia dominated the sport, with the U.S. going years without winning a championship. Taiwan seemingly was a lock to win it every year, which quickly transitioned to the Japanese dynasty. The Japanese were the most feared team each and every year and even won it 3 out of the 5 years after Tom’s River did. Going into the tournament Tom’s River was not given much of a shot, mostly based off the mid-atlantic region of the United States’ lack of success in previous tournaments. Despite the odds stacked against them, Tom’s River defeated Greenville, North Carolina in the United States championship before defeating Japan 12-9 in the world championship. The run is one that is still talked about today and widely accepted as one of the best in Little League History!
2010 Mid-Atlantic Champions
Not to be outdone, the 2010 Tom’s River Little League team made it to the Little League World Series. They were able to win the Mid-Atlantic region and qualify for the big show, where they struggled against some tough competition. Tom’s River is one of the only Little League programs in the entire world to qualify for the world series multiple times, further proving the league’s dominance. Unfortunately for the 2010 team, they were grouped in a pool with a Hawaiian team that ended up finishing 2nd in the world. Their struggles in Williamsport certainly do not take away from the incredible success the 2010 team had.
There is no doubt that Tom’s River is one of the best youth baseball towns in the world. The town really comes together when a team starts to make a run and gets behind them. It is so big here that they even named a street after the 1998 World Championship team, “Little League World Champions Boulevard”. So now that you know a little more on the rich history of Tom’s River Little League baseball, you should try to make it out to catch a game!