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Ramsey Advances To Little League State Championship

Action on the third-base line at Finch Park as the Ramsey Little League team of 11-year-olds practices for the state championship. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
These Ramsey baseball players are to compete in the 11U Little League State Championship. With them are two of their three coaches -- Art Manzo, left back, and Billy Kanwisher, right back. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Batting practice. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Fielding a grounder. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Catching a fly ball. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Waiting his turn to bat. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

RAMSEY, N.J. — The Ramsey baseball team for 10- and 11-year-olds heads to Sayreville on Friday to compete in the 11U Little League State Championship.

It’s the second team in borough history to go that far.

“In 2010, we won the states,” said coach Billy Kanwisher, who coached both teams past the sectionals.

Kanwisher’s son Drew was on the team of 10-year-olds in 2010. His son Brooks is on this year’s team of 11-year-olds.

The games start Saturday in Middlesex County with Ramsey playing Holbrook first. Next up: Millville plays Livingston.

After that, the two winners play.

The state championships, which end Wednesday, are a double elimination tournament.

The Ramsey players practiced Monday and Tuesday night in Finch Park. They were cool and calm, taking their lead from their three coaches – Kanwisher and assistant coaches Art Manzo and Oren Bibergal.

“Our philosophy is that we don’t want them to be nervous,” Manzo said. “Everything is confidence. If they’re confident, they’re good enough to win.

“It’s more of a mental approach than it is physical,” he added. “They have the ability. Now they just have to believe and not make themselves nuts.”

The secret to a successful team, Kanwisher said, is getting the players at a young age and playing as much baseball as possible with them.

“You want to play and lose some games against tougher teams,” he said, adding that the players and their families miss out on a lot of summer fun to play.

Only one player, Anthony, dared to utter a prediction on an outcome in the days ahead.

“We’re gonna win,” he said, grinning from ear to ear.

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