Part of the tsunami of cancellations caused by COVID-19 was the spring high school sports season. For high school baseball players, however, there is one last chance to play with their teammates: the Last Dance World Series tournament.

According to the state-wide tournament will feature 222 teams made up of high school aged players (and recently graduated seniors) at 60 venues starting on July 14th. There is a North bracket and a South bracket; the winners of each bracket will play each other for the championship on July 31st at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton that would approximate a state championship. Since the tournament is not sanctioned by the NJSIAA (the New Jersey high school governing agency) the teams will not be using their school’s uniforms or equipment, but the teams are primarily formed according to schools.

The competition was conceived by Mike Murray, the head baseball coach at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen. He told he was frustrated that his seniors wouldn’t be getting their last season to play together, “A lot of guys want the same thing - for their kids to run around together a couple more times and have some fun.”

At first it was going to just be a North Jersey tournament, but due to the overwhelming response it was expanded to include teams from all 21 counties. Strict operational procedures will be in place to protect the players and coaches, including social distancing where possible, mandatory masks in the dugouts, and temperature checks. Play ball!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

55 baseball players from NJ (that Joe V could find stock photos of)

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