The Atlantic Shore Babe Ruth 14-year-old baseball all-star team shook off its losses in the Southern New Jersey championship games Friday night.
The Devils have more baseball to play.
Atlantic Shore is the host team of the Middle Atlantic Regional tournament, which begins Thursday. Most games will be played at Surf Stadium in Atlantic City, with a few played in Somers Point at the site of last week’s Southern New Jersey tournament. The Middle Atlantic quarterfinals and semifinals will be played next Tuesday, Aug. 7, and the championship game the next day.
Atlantic Shore fell just short of its goal of repeating as a state sectional champion, losing twice Friday to Washington Township in games that would have given them the title. But the Devils know what they have to do to improve.
“We need to focus on playing hard all seven innings,” said Kyle Gerace, a Linwood resident who plays second base and pitches.
As a 13-and-under team last summer, Atlantic Shore won the Mid-Atlantic Regional and reached the Babe Ruth World Series in Clifton Park, N.Y. The Devils went 2-2 in that tournament.
Following the World Series run, the Babe Ruth organization approached Atlantic Shore about hosting this year’s regional tournament.
“Atlantic Shore doesn’t really have a home base, so we approached Atlantic City to see” about hosting the regionals at Surf Stadium, Atlantic Shore manager Mike Gill said. “They were ecstatic about the opportunity to host the tournament.”
The Devils will open pool play against Delaware at 4 p.m. Thursday. Atlantic Shore is in Pool A, while state sectional winner Washington Township is in Pool B.
Despite a disappointing end to the Southern New Jersey tournament, Atlantic Shore enters the regional tournament with confidence.
“We’ve gotten a lot stronger (since last year). Our bats are increasing tremendously. Our pitching is great,” Gerace said. “We’ve had people taking new roles, and they’re filling in spots.”
Atlantic Shore hopes to get back to the World Series. This year, it will be held in Murray, Utah. However, another big accomplishment already been secured. Last year’s World Series run increased awareness of baseball in South Jersey. Hosting the regional tournament is the next step.
“It showcases the area and the baseball we have here,” Gill said. “It opens opportunities for us to hold bigger events in the future. Maybe even a World Series.”
Contact Brittany Grugan:
10 a.m., Metro N.Y. vs. Western N.Y., Surf Stadium
1 p.m., Pennsylvania vs. SNJ runner-up, Surf Stadium
4 p.m., Atlantic Shore vs. Delaware, Surf Stadium
4 p.m., Northern N.J. vs. Southern N.J., Somers Point
9 a.m., Western N.Y. vs. Delaware, Surf Stadium
12 p.m., Eastern N.Y. vs. Metro N.Y., Surf Stadium
3 p.m., SNJ runner-up vs. Maryland, Surf Stadium
10 a.m., Southern N.J. vs. SNJ runner-up, Surf Stadium
1 p.m., Delaware vs. Eastern N.Y., Surf Stadium
1 p.m., Maryland vs. Northern N.J, Somers Point
4 p.m., Southern N.J. vs. Pennsylvania, Surf Stadium
4 p.m., Western N.Y. vs. Atlantic Shore, Somers Point
10 a.m., Northern N.J. vs. Pennsylvania, Surf Stadium
1 p.m., Maryland vs. Southern N.J., Surf Stadium
4 p.m., Eastern N.Y. vs. Western N.Y., Somers Point
4 p.m., Metro N.Y. vs. Atlantic Shore, Surf Stadium
10 a.m., Pennsylvania vs. Maryland, Surf Stadium
1 p.m., Delaware vs. Metro N.Y., Surf Stadium
4 p.m., SNJ runner-up vs. Northern N.J., Somers Point
4 p.m., Atlantic Shore vs. Eastern N.Y., Surf Stadium
Tuesday, Aug. 7, Quarterfinals, semifinals
10 a.m., 3rd Place Pool A vs. 2nd Place Pool B, Surf Stadium
10 a.m., 3rd Place Pool B vs. 2nd Place Pool A , Somers Point
1:30 p.m., Winner of Game 21 vs 1st Place Pool A, Surf Stadium
4:30 p.m., Winner of Game 22 vs. 1st Place Pool B, Surf Stadium
Wednesday, Aug. 8, Championship
4 p.m., Winner of Game 23 vs. Winner of Game 24, Surf Stadium.
Pool A—Delaware, Western N.Y., Eastern N.Y., Metro N.Y., Atlantic Shore
Pool B—Northern N.J., Pennsylvania, Maryland, SNJ runner-up, Southern N.J.