Bob Everett is a happy man.
The state Little League Championships will be held at the Berkeley Little League complex off Moorage Avenue in Bayville this summer. 2014 is also the 75th anniversary of the birth of Little League.
The Berkeley Little League will be the host site for the New Jersey State Championships in the Little League and Junior League Divisions.
But it didn't come easy.
Everett - who is the longtime president of the Berkeley Little League - lobbied for months for the event to be held here. He's lined up a number of big-name sponsors.
"Our league is very excited to be hosting this once in a lifetime event," he said. "Berkeley Little League, through the dedicated work of hundreds of volunteers, has come a long way. We could not be prouder to be selected as the host site. We cannot wait to see the very best baseball in New Jersey this summer.”
To be chosen for the championship site in 2014 is an honor and brings some much-needed diversion to Sandy-battered Bayville, he said.
"As our area has continued in its struggle to recover from Superstorm Sandy, District 18 Little Leagues (Ocean County leagues) have decided to use this once in a generation event to help promote our shore area and give our residents something positive to look forward to," he said.
• Championship Week will begin on Tuesday, July 22, with the Banquet of Champions recognizing the four New Jersey Sectional Champions in the Little League Division.
• The opening ceremonies will be held on Wednesday, July
23,when all eight New Jersey section champs - four in the Little League Division and four from the Junior League Division,
start playing the double elimination tournament.
24 is a scheduled rain date with several planned community events - a team barbeque for the Junior League
champions, and a Little League 75th Anniversary Celebration at the Cove Waterfront Grille in the evening.
• July 25 will feature two double headers that will eliminate the first two teams.
• July 26 - Saturday is dedicated for the beach and boardwalk, since early semi-final games will give players, families and fans to visit Seaside Heights to take advantage of special Little League promotions.
• July 27 will feature the crowning of two new State Champions, unless the teams that advanced in the loser brackets pull off upsets to force do or die games on Monday.
“We are working on several more great additions to this week-long celebration," Everett said. As soon as plans are finalized, we will be releasing more information.”
The Summer of 2014 in Ocean County will feature the Best Beaches, Boardwalks and Baseball in New Jersey. Sponsors include TD Bank, Perlmart ShopRites, The Cove Waterfront Grille, and the Hershey Motel. Media partners include the Asbury Park Press, Townsquare Media’s Shore Sports Network, the Seaside Heights BID and the Ocean County Tourism Advisory Council.
Ocean County has produced two World Champion Little League teams - Lakewood Little League in 1975 and the Toms River East American Little League in 1998.
In 2013, District 18 Little Leagues won five of the
six possible sectional championships and played for the state titles in each
division. Manchester Little League won the State Junior League
Berkeley Township Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said. "We are centrally located and our partnership with our Little League has produced one of the very best baseball complexes in New Jersey. “Our township will be giving this event its full support.”
For more information, go to shoresportsnetwork.com or our website for updates.
Those interested in being a part of the championships may go to berkeleylittleleague.org or email BerkeleyLL@comcast.net for sponsorship information.