first_img BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer The two-year wait was well worth it. The Freehold Township Little League Junior League all-stars (ages 13-14) finally got to experience a World Series, and it was everything they were hoping it would be. “We waited two years to get here,” pitcher Shawn Purves said. “It was our goal this year. “It was awesome,” he added. “We had a great time playing baseball and meeting other kids from around the country. It’s been amazing. Not many kids get to do this.” Two years ago, playing in the Little League (ages 11-12) tournament, the all-stars lost in the Eastern Regional, one step away from a World Series trip. That experience fueled them throughout the summer as they looked to take the next step this time around, which they did in capturing the Eastern Regional title. Purves said that when the team arrived at the Taylor (Mich.) Little League Complex, host of the Series, he first realized the magnitude of it all. “When we got off the plane, a bus took us to the field, which was pretty amazing,” he said. “When we got our uniforms that had EAST written on them, I was thinking ‘this is great,’ ” he said. Shortstop Anthony Cirillo Jr. said the series lived up to expectations. “It was everything and more,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. They treated you like royalty, giving you jackets and uniforms, and having you sign baseballs. It was a great experience.” Freehold Township’s juniors distinguished themselves rather well in their first venture to the World Series, finishing in fifth place. The 2005 Eastern Regional champions beat Orleans LL form Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 6-1, in the fifth/sixth place consolation game on Saturday. As manager Anthony Cirillo Sr. sees it, fifth place in the world isn’t all that bad. “Three-thousand teams started out and the 10 best in the world were here [Taylor, Mich.],” he said. “To finish fifth in the world, to me is an accomplishment. “Every team here is good,” he added. “We saw some amazing baseball. We played great.” Freehold Township established itself as one of the teams to watch in Taylor out of the gate, beating an undefeated West Side Little League team (Southwest Regional champion) from Texas, 7-0. Chris Bresnahan pitched the shutout for Freehold Township and had as many hits himself, three, as Texas got. Cirillo Jr. led the attack with a two-run home run. Cirillo said that after playing the East Regional at Freehold Township, which is 390 to dead center field, the Taylor complex was a welcome sight to hitters, with its dimensions of 310 to center and 280 down the lines. Losses to Pearl City, Hawaii (West), 11-5, and East Lake (South), 3-1, followed, but Freehold Township bounced back with a 10-5 win over Fort Wayne (Central), to finish pool play at 2-2, and as the third-place team in the U.S. pool, got to play in the consolation game for fifth place. Cirillo Jr. was 4-for-5 against Fort Wayne and Purves was 3-for-3, scoring two runs and driving in two. John Morrill had three hits and scored twice. Pitchers Matt Cadigan and Cirillo Jr. combined for a three-hitter (all five runs were unearned). They then beat Canada, 6-1, Saturday in the fifth/sixth-place consolation game to finish at 3-2 in the tournament and end the season with one more win. “It was good to come home with a win and nice to have a winning record,” Cirillo said. Freehold Township’s finish is the best-ever by a New Jersey team at the Junior League World Series. Vineland had previously had the best finish, going 2-2. Cirillo Jr. said that the World Series experience put the Eastern Regional title in a different perspective. “We didn’t realize how much we had accomplished when we won the regional,” he said. “We knew we were good, but we didn’t think we were one of the best teams in the world. It showed us that we can compete with anyone.” The defense and pitching depth that had made such a difference for Freehold Township in earning its trip to the World Series was on display in Taylor, as the all-stars proved they can play with the top junior teams in the world. Freehold Township’s juniors finished the summer with a 13-2 record. The 2005 Eastern Regional champions and fifth-place World Series team are: Nathaniel Androski, Chris Bresnahan, Matt Cadigan, Anthony Cirillo, Jr., Mark Dolan, Dan Klinsky, Chris LeRoy, Mike Miranda, John Morrill, Gerry Plescia, Shawn Purves and Stephen Talbott. Glen Purves and Anthony Piccola are the coaches on Cirillo’s staff. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Team goes 3-2, beats Canada in consolation game last_img