Six-Time Defending American Legion...

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Aug 4, 2016
Six-Time Defending American Legion... Six-Time Defending American Legion State Champion Brooklawn Sees Streak End

All runs have to eventually end as Brooklawn's Senior American Legion team discovered last week. For decades Brooklawn has been among the top programs (for players 19 and under) in the country and very few programs can win a division title and advance to the state championship and end up disappointed.

Yet the six-time defending state champions, saw their season end with a 7-1 loss to a talented Flemington team in the New Jersey American Legion final at Ewing's Moody Park.

Now Flemington advances to the Mid-Atlantic Regional while also snapping Brooklawn's incredible streak of five consecutive trips to the American Legion World Series.

Brooklawn, which advanced to World Series semifinals last year and won the title in 2014 and 2013, has won four national titles since its inception in 1952.

Barth had plenty of praise for both Flemington and his team.

"They have got a real good team and have been with us the last four to five years," Barth said of Flemington. "Hopefully they can bring a national title back to New Jersey."

As recently as a few years ago both the state champion and runner-up advanced to regional play, but with fewer teams in the state, New Jersey only has its state champion advance to the regionals.

The champion of each regional advances to the World Series.

Barth gave his team tremendous credit because this was among the youngest squad he coached. He said there were 15 new players on the team.

"A lot of times when guys win a lot in high school, they kind of wait for the state tournament, but these kids really had to grind and they grinded it out from the beginning because nothing easy," Barth said.

As an example, Brooklawn won its division in the Camden County American Legion League with a 23-2-1 record, and overtook Gloucester Township (22-4) on the last game of the regular season.

Brooklawn finished second in district competition to advance to the state tournament. The top two teams in the four districts advanced to the state tournament.

Brooklawn received a clutch pitching performance from righthander Dan Wilson to advance to the final. Wilson, a rising senior at Audubon, pitched a complete game in a 4-3 semifinal victory over Hopewell.

In the final, Brooklawn had nine hits, but couldn't score until the ninth inning on Wilson's RBI groundout. Righthander Bob Girgenti, a recent graduate of Gloucester, pitched well, but on this night Flemington was simply better.

With a veteran team returning, Brooklawn will no doubt expects to make another run next season.

Photo by Marc Narducci:

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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