RIDGEWOOD, N.J. – Ridgewood residents turned out in force Monday afternoon at Van Neste Park, where they celebrated the U14 Ridgewood Junior League All Star Team as they returned from the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Mich.
The Raiders — one of only five U.S. teams to compete in the international championship — were escorted by police to the park and greeted with community fanfare, free food, medals and letters of congratulations from Gov. Chris Christie.
Though they beat Virginia — this year’s U.S. championships — in the series, they lost the opportunity to vie for the title by a fraction of a point.
“We battled hard,” said Bret Thompson, whose favorite play of this season was as simple as a ground ball to pitcher Avery Scott that clinched Ridgewood’s win versus Toms River in the regional championship.
“I was playing second base at the time,” recalled Thompson. “That was my favorite part because it was the first time we realized we were going to the World Series.”
The 2015 Ridgewood Raiders are the first U14 group to compete in the Junior League World Series.
The last team to compete at that level was the U12 team in 1979.
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