SOMERS POINT - Nick Droboniku may have been nervous going into the championship game, but he didn't show it Wednesday night.
Droboniku threw a seven-hit, complete-game shutout to lead the Atlantic Shore Babe Ruth team to an impressive 3-0 victory over South Shore (N.Y.), clinching the 13- to 15-year-old Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.
With the victory, Atlantic Shore advances to the Babe Ruth World Series in Loudoun County, Va., from Aug. 17-24.
The shutout was Atlantic Shore's fifth of the tournament.
"It's unbelievable what these kids have accomplished," said head coach Bill Rauzzino, referring to the team's 6-0 record in the tournament.
"To go through a tournament like that, and five of your six games were shutouts. We haven't trailed in a game since the (state tournament). These kids are unbelievable. They worked hard, they've done everything that they needed to do, and I couldn't be more proud."
Atlantic Shore's offense was powered by the bat of Steve Myers. Myers, 15, had a pair of doubles and drove in the first two runs in the win.
"It was great," said Myers of Margate. "We were getting hits, but it wasn't like we were stringing hits together. So we had to get those key hits to get runs and they so happened to be mine."
Droboniku, 15, struck out three, allowing seven hits and a walk in his seven innings of work.
"I just had to dig in and focus on throwing the pitches the way I've been taught, and hitting my spots and it just worked out pretty well tonight," said Droboniku, of Northfield.
Droboniku wasn't going to take any of the credit as he deferred to the brilliant play of his defense.
In the third inning, Anthony Boselli made a diving catch in center field that would have easily scored a run if it fell in. Then in the fourth, catcher Jack Loefflad turned a double play on a tag play at third.
The final big defensive stop came in the seventh inning following a lead-off double by South Shore's John Donahue. After a single by Nick Sanacure that was destined to plate a run, Droboniku cut off a throw to the plate to force Sanacure back to first before throwing out Donahue at third to kill the scoring threat.
Droboniku struck out the next two batters and he and his team were on their way to the World Series.
"These guys behind me are unbelievable," Droboniku said. "We'd be nothing without the defense we put out here. It's absolutely unbelievable with the amount of double plays that we turned. It's unreal. I have a whole squad around me. It's nothing like anything I've ever experienced."
Droboniku also said that is going to be the key to their success in Virginia.
"We hit the ball a little bit, too," he added with a laugh.
Contact John Russo:
South Shore 000 000 0 - 0 5 2
Atlantic Shore 101 100 x - 3 9 2
2B - Regina, Donahue, SS. Myers 2, Sadreameli, Thomas, Trifiletti, AS.
WP - Droboniku. LP - Regina.
Records - Atlantic Shore 6-0, South Shore 4-3.