New Jersey's top hitters help send team to Little League World Series

Published on Saturday, 12 August 2017 23:08


BRISTOL - The top of the order for New Jersey made sure that its season didn’t end in Bristol.

Garrett Drew, Tai Mann, Chris Cartnick and R.J. Vashey combined for seven hits in the game and drove in six of the eight New Jersey runs in a 8-3 victory over Maryland on Saturday night.

“You can pitch around one or two, but you can’t pitch around everybody. Somebody is going to get you and somebody did get you [tonight],” New Jersey manager Robert Grano said.

With a six-run second inning led by Andy Osmond, Drew and Mann, New Jersey finished off the Mid-Atlantic Regional undefeated and secured a spot in Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series.

Osmond ripped a line drive single to the center fielder, scoring Charlie Meglio in the second frame.

Later in the inning, Drew and Mann both showed their ability to hit the ball to the opposite field as right-handed batters. Drew drove a two-run double to right field and Mann followed it up with a two-run shot to right.

The strong inning forced a quick pitching change as Maryland’s Peyton Castellow replaced ace Logan Simanski after just 1 1/3 innings.

Unlike Simanski, Castellow featured plenty of breaking balls. He pitched 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball.

“Peyton’s always performed in situations like that,” Maryland manager Tim Castellow said. “You get a team that hits a fastball pretty well and Peyton mixes his speeds well.”

It was in the fourth inning that the Maryland offense saw its chance to get back in the ball game with New Jersey starter Tai Mann in a jam.

Josh Skowronski started the inning with a single to shortstop Chris Cartnick. Mann came back and struck out the next two batters and was one out away from a fourth scoreless frame.

Mann lost control with two outs, hitting a batter and issuing three walks. Following the third walk, he called on his manager Robert Grano to take him out of the game.

“I told Tai that we have all our pitchers. You don’t have to be a hero,” Grano said. “Just do as much as you can. If you feel something or are tired, we have lots of pitching.”

Chris Andrews came in for Mann and pitched the rest of the game, not allowing a run.

New Jersey will represent the Mid-Atlantic and will face the Connecticut in the first game for both teams in the Little League World Series. The two teams just spent a week together in Bristol.

“We’ve been talking about it for so long and to be sitting here talking to you guys about it, it’s kind of like a fairy tale,” manager Grano said.

Dan Orencole can be reached at , or  On Twitter: @OrencoleDan

Posted in New Britain Herald, General Sports on Saturday, 12 August 2017 23:08. Updated: Saturday, 12 August 2017 23:10.