The Burlington County players and coaches gathered in the left-field seats at Citizens Bank Park to say goodbye for the last time.
Despite a 2-0 loss to pitching-strong Jersey Shore in Friday's championship game of the 29th annual Carpenter Cup Classic, there was a mostly upbeat vibe about the team's run in the prestigious baseball showcase.
"This was a great group," said Nick Corbi, a second baseman from Shawnee. "To become friends with these guys in a short period of time, I feel very fortunate."
Four Jersey Shore pitchers combined on a five-hitter and 10 strikeouts in winning the game in 1 hour, 59 minutes. Burlington came in averaging seven runs.
"They had talented kids who could throw hard and hit spots," said Burlington coach Rich Doppler, who is in charge at Northern Burlington. "You have to tip your hat to them."
Jersey Shore, composed of players from Monmouth and Ocean Counties, yielded just four runs (three earned) in four contests this year. With four championships, it trails just Olympic Colonial (five).
"As good as our hitting was before this, they made things tough," said Corbi, who will play football at Gettysburg. "They kept us off balance."
Zach Gakeler (Northern Burlington) opened Burlington's second inning with a single, and Mike Muchowski (Florence) followed with a walk. But Jersey Shore starter Evan Lobato escaped with a liner to shortstop, strikeout, and foul pop.
Jersey Shore took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Russell Messler (leadoff double) scored on a wild pitch. His sacrifice fly to center in the fifth provided an insurance run.
Jersey Shore had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth. Righthander Scott Zimmer (Moorestown) came on in relief for Burlington and ended the threat with a whiff and fly to center. The Delaware recruit struck out the side in the seventh.
Zimmer's fastball has been clocked at 92 m.p.h.
"I definitely didn't have my speed today," the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder said. "I tried to mix my pitches up as much as I could."
With Burlington runners on first and second and one out in the eighth, Jersey Shore's Jason Groome induced a 5-4-3 double play.
Burlington also came up empty after having men in the same spots with two out in the ninth. Jersey Shore clinched its first title since 2010, and record 39th tournament victory, with another strikeout.
Burlington County 000 000 000 - 0 5 1
Jersey Shore 000 110 00x - 2 7 0
WP: Ryan Wares. LP: David Viselli. 2B: JS-Russell Messler; Tyler Kapuscinski.