New Jersey team from Elizabeth loses 6-0 to Hawaii in the Little League World Series

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Elizabeth, New Jersey's Yamil Soto (2) and his team line up for the post-game handshake after a 6-0 loss to Wailuku, Hawaii at the Little League World Series tournament.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pennsylvania (WABC) -- The team from New Jersey came up short Monday at the Little League World Series, losing to Hawaii 6-0.

The game had been suspended Sunday in the fifth inning due to inclement weather.

When the game picked up, the Elmora Troopers from Elizabeth had their chance, putting two men on base but a groundout to first ended the inning.

Hawaii's pitchers went on to complete the shutout, allowing just four hits.

But it is a double-elimination tournament so the New Jersey team will get another chance when they face New England on Tuesday night.

The Elmora Youth League team is named in honor of Thomas Hanratty, a state trooper who was struck by a passing vehicle and killed while walking back to his car during a traffic stop in 1992.

Hanratty played baseball for Elmora, and ever since his death, the league has honored him by nicknaming themselves "the Troopers" and wearing a patch with Hanratty's badge number, 4971, on their uniforms.

Before the team's first game of the tournament Friday, the players were surprised by a few state police troopers and about eight busloads of fans from Elizabeth.

"Honestly, as a grown man, it was emotional," New Jersey manager Jairo Labrador said. "Because I know what it signifies and what it means to us and our league and what it represents."

This team isn't just carrying the weight of the New Jersey state police on its shoulders, but also the city of Elizabeth, which sits just south of Newark and only about 20 miles from Manhattan.

"We're a mixture of many ethnicities and different areas," Labrador said Friday. "A lot of us are Latinos and, and we party and we love and we hug and we kiss, and that's what the crowd was. It was a big ol' hug that we kept on getting the entire night.

"I looked over and I saw teachers that I teach with, firemen, police officers, city councilmen, the mayor. I mean, it felt like every person I ever saw in our city was there."

During the team's opening win over Oregon, the breakthrough moment came in the top of the fifth inning, with New Jersey trailing 2-1.

The bases were loaded after Yadi Mateo, whom Labrador referred to as a "Greek god," was intentionally walked. First baseman Jayden Capindica promptly whacked the next pitch up the middle for a base hit, driving in two runs and giving his team the lead for good.

"I think the whole stadium felt the energy because the crowd just erupted," Labrador said.

An errant throw home allowed Yadi to advance to third and Jayden to reach second. Once the play was over, they both turned to each other, put both arms up in the air and shook their hips in a dance move they call "the Jersey shuffle."

"Dancing is a way to show the fans, 'I love you,'" Jayden said.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube