Schedule announced for high school baseball in Ocean City

By TOM WILLIAMS

The schedule for the three-day first round of the Last Dance Tournament, a baseball competition for high school players from 222 schools around New Jersey, has been announced. Ocean City’s 5th & Bay field will be one of more than 50 sites around the state where Last Dance will start.

None of these teams are affiliated with the high schools the players attend. Each team has adapted a new name for the tournament, which is run through the United States Specialty Sports Association. The NJSIAA is not involved in the event and the entry fee paid by each team covers insurance.

Last Dance Baseball.jpg

The primary purpose of the competition is to give baseball players from the Class of 2020 who lost their senior seasons to COVID-19 cancellations, a final chance to play. The tournament will also include freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

In addition to the six teams playing in Ocean City, three other teams featuring CAL players are playing. Vineland will play in a group of teams at Glassboro High School. Cedar Creek and Buena will be part of the pool play at Williamstown.

The winners from these many pool groups across the state will meet the week of July 21 in single elimination games at minor league stadiums around the state. The championship game will be July 30 at Arm & Hammer Field, the home of the New York Yankees’ affiliate Trenton Thunder.

High school coaches cannot be involved in coaching their players until after July 13, including practice sessions. And the rules covering the games will be different – there will be unlimited substitutions and no pitch count.

All those involved will have their temperatures taken before each game. If the temperature is 100.4 or higher, that person will be sent home. Face masks will be required in the dugouts but not by players in the field or at bat.

The team with the best record after the three days in Ocean City will advance to the single-elimination round at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, home of the Phillies’ Class A minor league team, the Lakewood BlueClaws.

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