Mainland Baseball’s 10-and-under team beat Hammonton 10-7 in the District 16 championship in Linwood on Monday night.
After trailing 6-3 early on, Mainland scored seven runs in two innings to take control. They sealed the game with big defensive plays, including a throw from center fielder Dom DeLuca to Carson Thomas at home plate. Jack Gregory later made the game-ending throw to Thomas for the final out.
It was the team’s fifth straight win after losing their first game in pool play.
Assistant coach John Franchini praised the boys on their commitment to working together.
“They’ve really bonded as a team,” Franchini said. “They’ve come together and bought in to doing what’s best for the team.”
The coach also added that the program hadn’t won the district championship in about 20 years.
“It was a big win for Linwood baseball,” he said.
With the win, Mainland advanced to the sectional tournament. They will face District 21 champion Berlin at 7 p.m. Sunday in Glassboro.
The sectional tournament is quicker than the district, and the team may play on three consecutive days. Franchini and the rest of the coaching staff have told every player to be ready and stay fresh.
“You have to play three or four games in a short amount of time,” Franchini added. “So we’re going to be using a lot of pitchers.”
Another message to the team was to continue to fight through adversity. With so many games in so little time, mistakes are bound to happen, and the coaches want the boys to stay focused.
“We have to pick each other up after any mistake,” Franchini said. “We know we can come back, and we’ve proven that we can come back.”