NORTHFIELD — Brady Arena followed one of the fundamental rules of Little League Baseball on Monday night.
Run until somebody tags you.
Nobody tagged Arena.
He scored the winning run as Northfield beat Ocean City 3-2 to win the District 16 championship for the second straight year at Birch Grove Park.
"It's pretty amazing thinking that we're now District 16 champs," Arena said. "All our hard work pays off."
Arena, Northfield's leadoff hitter, reached on a walk with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. He advanced to second and third on wild pitches and scored on a throwing error. Arena said he's normally not that aggressive on the bases.
What did he think when he crossed the plate?
"We just won (the district championship)," he said.
One of the reasons Arena could be confident that Northfield would hold the lead was that Finn Haines was on the mound.
The left-hander pitched the final two innings to get the win. He struck out four, including the side to end the game in the bottom of the sixth.
"I just wanted to throw strikes," Haines said. "Just throw strikes and pound the zone."
District 16 consists Little League baseball teams of 11- and 12-year-olds in Atlantic and Cape May counties. Northfield advances to the Section 4 tournament, which starts Saturday in Absecon.
Monday's game drew a enthusiastic crowd on a cool summer night. Fans filled the small bleachers. Many more stood along the fence that surrounds the field.
Both teams produced clutch hits and their share of outstanding defensive plays.
Will Hickman hit a two-run double for Northfield. Evan Taylor hit an RBI single and Vander Reeves an RBI double for Ocean City.
Taylor fielded a ground out deep in the hole at shortstop and threw out a Northfield runner at first base in the third inning. Northfield first baseman Colt Russo made a diving catch of a pop-up in the bottom of the fifth and doubled up an Ocean City runner off first base.
Northfield celebrated with friends and families. The players took a victory lap around the field with the District 16 championship banner.
"It's all about having fun," Haines said. "All the parents, friends and family in this community cheer you on. "
Northfield 020 001 - 3
Ocean City 101 000 - 2