Upper baseball team wins state title

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Upper's Ben Hoag makes solid contact during the state title game Those Upper Township 9- and 10-year-old baseball players have done it. They won the New Jersey State Championship.

Upper Township swept through the state tournament for their age group, beating Ridgewood American, 8-2, in South Hackensack for the championship.

The Upper Township team is headed to Cranston, R.I., this weekend for the Eastern Region Tournament. They will play the New York state champion at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. They are also scheduled to play Maryland at 10:30 on Sunday morning, Pennsylvania on Monday morning at 11 a.m. and then have two days off before playing Delaware on Aug. 7 at 11 a.m.

Tom Finnegan was impressive on the mound for Upper Township in the championship game. He pitched 4 2/3 innings, struck out seven and did not allow an earned run. He also contributed a two-run double.

Ben Hoag and Joe Garcia both had a pair of hits and drove home two runs apiece. Ben Liebrand came on to pitch the final 1 1/3 innings, striking out three batters.

Upper Township coasted into the championship game with a 17-10 win over Marlboro.

Ridgewood American gave the Upper Township team a battle in the opening round of the state tournament. Upper actually trailed, 7-5, as they came up for the final time. But they scored three runs in the sixth inning to win the game, 8-7. Brandon McGonigle produced the winning run when he drew a walk with the bases loaded.

In addition to Finnegan, Hoag, Garcia, Liebrand and McGonigle the new state championship team includes Cohl Mercado, Tristan Laughlin, Will Moffitt, Ryan Couse, Joe Brace, Dylan Oliver, C.J. Furey and Mike Wagner.

The team is managed by Mike Liebrand. Dan Mercado and Jason Couse are the coaches.

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