Two region champions have pulled out of the single elimination portion of the Last Dance World Series due to positive tests for the coronavirus. JSZ has the new matchups and reaction from both teams
The Last Dance World Series saw 333 games played over three days as 222 teams played baseball across the state. The 32 region winners are set to begin the single elimination portion of the tournament this Tuesday. Two of those region winners have made an early exit due to positive tests on the roster for the coronavirus.
Middletown South and Point Pleasant Boro have both pulled out of the tournament in a story first reported by NJ Advance Media. Two play-in games originally scheduled for Monday have been canceled as all four teams (Gloucester Catholic, High Point, Jefferson, and Deptford) are now in the field of 32.
Dave Esposito, the father of Eagles catcher Anthony Esposito was the head coach for the Middletown South baseball team in the Last Dance.
“On Friday morning I was made aware of kids in the community that tested positive and were in contact with players on our team,” Esposito said. “At that point, those kids had to be tested. I felt the best thing to do was have all the kids tested and if everyone was negative we could still continue to play. After receiving some positive results on our team, we reached out to the tournament director, who said we could continue to play with the kids that tested negative. This morning I received a call telling me the CDC came back and said we would need to sit out five days and then have a negative test to play. At that point, the director had to remove us. I thought we had a real chance to advance far in this tournament but unfortunately, we will never know. Just being able to get on the field for three games is a blessing after losing the entire season. I hope the kids will at least remember the excitement especially in our final game and remember that for a lifetime.”
Middletown South went 3-0 to win the Wall-Ocean Regional highlighted by a walk-off grand slam by Anthony Esposito in the bottom of the 7th to beat Matawan in what proved to be the Eagles final game. Middletown South would have played Middletown North in one of the state’s best rivalries but that game will not happen.
Point Pleasant Boro had a player who tested positive on Saturday according to a report from the Shore Sports Network’s Matt Manley. Coach David Drew’s team was 3-0 in the Barnegat-Bayville Region scoring wins over Point Pleasant Beach, Barnegat, and Donovan Catholic.
“The Panther Baseball community would like to thank the Last Dance tournament directors Mike Murry and John Kroeger for putting on a great event and for giving these seniors one last opportunity to play, ” Drew said. “We’d also like to thank Barnegat High School Head Baseball Coach Dan McCoy and Athletic Director John Germano and their staff for hosting. Although we ended the tournament the way we did, we are proud to say that we put the players and their families first. Winning will never be as important as family and that is what we are in Point Pleasant. Good luck to all the remaining teams and above all stay safe!”
Red Bank Regional was supposed to play in the Red Bank-Belmar Regional hosted by Red Bank Catholic but was forced to pull out due to a player’s sister testing positive for COVID-19 just hours before their opening. Manasquan also had to exit the tournament before it began and schedules were adjusted. Wall took Manasquan’s place in the four-team pool hosted by CBA. The four Shore Conference teams are the only teams in the state that have dropped out of tournament play due to health and safety concerns.
Jersey Sports Zone’s coverage of the Last Dance Tournament continues on Tuesday throughout the state. Crowds are limited to 450 at each site per game and tickets are no longer being sold in advance. Fans will be able to purchase tickets on a first come, first serve basis.
LAST DANCE ROUND OF 32
Tuesday, July 21
Skylands Stadium, Augusta
Bridgewater-Raritan vs. Jefferson, 10 a.m.
Nutley vs. Ridgewood, 1 p.m.
TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater
Cranford vs. Montclair, 10 a.m.
Delbarton vs. Wood-Ridge 1 p.m.
Yogi Berra Stadium, Little Falls
Bergen Catholic vs. Mount Olive, 10 a.m.
Governor Livingston vs. Don Bosco Prep, 1 p.m.
At Caven Point, Jersey City
St. Peter’s Prep vs. Ridge, 11 a.m.
Voorhees vs. Millburn, 3 p.m
Arm & Hammer Park, Trenton
Jackson Memorial vs. Middlesex, 3:30 p.m.
Hamilton West vs. Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (sold out)
Owens Park, Williamstown
Cherokee vs Bishop Eustace 4 p.m.
Holy Spirit vs. Williamstown, 7 p.m.
FirstEnergy Park, Lakewood
Middletown North vs. Brooklawn/Gloucester Catholic, 8:30 a.m.
Sussex Red vs. Washington Township, 11:30 a.m.
Kingsway vs. Howell, 3 p.m.
St. Joseph (Met.) vs. Deptford, 6:30 p.m.
LAST DANCE ROUND OF 16
Wednesday, July 22
North Region (Teams to be assigned after Tuesday’s play)
Skylands Stadium, Augusta – Games at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Yogi Berra Stadium, Little Falls – Games at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
South Region (Teams to be assigned after Tuesday’s play)
FirstEngergy Park, Lakewood – Games at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m, 7:00 p.m.
LAST DANCE ROUND OF 8
Tuesday, July 28 at TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater and First Energy Park, Lakewood
LAST DANCE FINAL FOUR
Wednesday, July 29 at Skylands Stadium, Augusta and First Energy Park Lakewood
LAST DANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Friday, July 31 at Arm&Hammer Park, Trenton – 7:00 p.m.
Jersey Sports Zone’s Last Dance Tournament highlights are being brought to you by Sterling National Bank
Coming this Friday….JSZ Top Plays from the Last Dance Tournament
We’ll compile the top plays captured by JSZ cameras in the first week of the Last Dance Tournament and ask you to vote for the top play. The winner of our poll this weekend will get a JSZ Game Ball and a presentation with their teammates. Thanks to RWJ Barnabas for supporting the Last Dance Tournament and our coverage!