By Phil Anastasia
Fran Kinsey missed the sign.
Like just about everything else for the Brooklawn baseball team this weekend, the mistake turned out to be a blessing.
Kinsey delivered an RBI single to break a 6-6 tie in the top of the eighth inning, and Brooklawn held on for a 9-6 victory over West Seneca, N.Y., to win the American Legion baseball Mid Atlantic Regional championship Monday in Campbell's Field.
"I got to third and he (Brooklawn coach Dennis Barth) said, 'Nice job, but you missed a sign,'" Kinsey said. "I was supposed to drag bunt."
Kinsey, a rising junior at Gloucester Catholic, was 2-for-4 with three runs and four stolen bases for Brooklawn, which clinched a berth in the American Legion Wiorld Series for the third year in a row.
The World Series runs Aug. 16-20 in Shelby, N.C.
Nick Cieri, a recent Rancocas Valley graduate, was named the tournament MVP. He was 1-for-2 with two runs and an RBI and was 9-for-16 (.562) with seven walks and no strikeouts as Brooklawn went 5-0 in the tournament at the Camden Riversharks' home stadium.
Anthony Harrold, a rising junior at Gloucester Catholic, was 3-for-4 with two RBIs as Brooklawn (42-8) won its 17th game in a row.
Brooklawn is 13-0 in post-season play.
"We are playing with so much confidence right now," Cieri said.
Brooklawn fell behind 3-1, took a 6-3 lead, then saw West Seneca rally to tie the score at 6-6.
Jon Theckston, a recent Gloucester Catholic graduate, roped a double off the left-field wall with one out in the eighth.
Initially, the second-base umpire called it a home run, creating a ruckus as several West Seneca players complained. West Seneca's centerfielder was ejected from the game for charging at the umpire.
The call eventually was changed to a ground-rule double.
But during the commotion, Kinsey said he missed the sign for a drag bunt from Barth.
"I guess it worked out," Kinsey said with a smile.
Kinsey's single scored Theckston and made it 7-6. Kinsey stole second and third and scored on Mike Garofolo's RBI single.
Brooklawn added a run in the ninth on Harrold's RBI single.
Lefty Dan Higgins worked three innings and earned the pitching win. Matt patt pitched the first four innings for Brooklawn.
Mike Shawaryn, a recent Gloucester Catholic graduate and Maryland recruit, earned the save. Shawaryn pitched the last two innings, allowing no run with four strikeouts.
Brooklawn made the World Series in 2011 and 2012 with veteran teams. This year's squad is a little less experienced but no less determined.
"This organization doesn't rebuild, it reloads," Kinsey said. "We're going down there to win the World Series."
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