Brooklawn Wins 30th State Senior American Legion Baseball Title

by Marc Narducci | Aug 6, 2019
Brooklawn Wins 30th State Senior American Legion Baseball Title
Nothing has come easy this season for Brooklawn’s American Legion team, but the most storied franchise in state history has returned to its accustomed position at the top.
 
With recent Timber Creek graduate Logan Manuola hitting a three-run triple, Brooklawn defeated defending state champion Broad Street Park, 3-1 at Kean University in the NJ American Legion championship game.
 
Brooklawn thus advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Regional, beginning Aug. 7 in Asheboro, North Carolina. Brooklawn will face the Virginia state champion in its opener. The championship is Sunday, Aug. 11, with the winner advancing to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina.
 
This was one of the few years that Brooklawn was an underdog. Technically, the team is known as Brooklawn Red, because there was also a Brooklawn Blue team that competed in the seven-team Camden County American Legion League.
 
Brooklawn finished second in the league to West Deptford.
 
After Brooklawn lost to West Deptford, 11-1 in the District 4 tournament, it had to win its next game just to qualify for a berth in the eight-team state tournament.
 
The top two teams in the four districts earned a spot in the state tournament. Brooklawn had to overcome a 5-3 deficit to defeat Allentown, 10-5 and punch its ticket in the state tournament.
 
Brooklawn began the state tournament at Kean University, the way it ended it – by beating Broad Street Park, 7-3.
 
Mike Shannon, a recent Triton graduate who is headed to Rowan, earned the win with a complete-game effort, while catcher Dustin Bellis, a rising senior at Audubon, had two doubles.
 
After a 4-1 loss to Hopewell Valley, Brooklawn rebounded with an 11-3 win over Bordentown to advance to the semifinals. Zach Cerveny, a rising senior at Paul VI earned the win, while former Gloucester Catholic standout Nick Nocella hit a home run.
 
Brooklawn then earned a berth in the final with a 4-1 win over last year’s runner-up Whitehouse Post 284. The winners took advantage of four Whitehouse errors.
 
In the final, Shannon was pitching well before he was hit by a line drive and had to leave the game. Joe Kidd, a recent graduate of Audubon, entered with a runner on first and no outs in the fifth inning and Brooklawn trailing 1-0.
 
Kidd pitched three shutout innings. Manuola, who hit the key three-run triple, was named the tournament MVP.
 
Incredibly, this was Brooklawn’s 30th state title and first since 2015. Brooklawn has won the World Series in 1991, 2001, 2013 and 2014. This year’s team wasn’t considered a powerhouse, but it kept battling and staying in the national championship hunt.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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