The Thurmont Little League team that represented Maryland in Saturday's Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship hoped its hard-throwing right-hander would find a way to silence a Holbrook Little League lineup that has overwhelmed all challenges this summer.

Once again, though, the sluggers from Jackson proved the the harder the pitching, the harder they hit it.

In front of a national audience on ESPN, Holbrook hung seven runs on Maryland starter Logan Simanski over the first two innings and held on to beat Thurmont, 8-3, to advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Tai Mann starred for Holbrook on Thursday by clouting a two-run home run in a six-run second inning and pitching 3 2/3 innings to earn the win. Mann launched a two-run blast over the right-center field fence to cap the second-inning scoring and later added an RBI single in the sixth to give his team an extra insurance run.

Mann and shortstop Chris Cartnick each finished 2-for-4 with a home run, with Cartnick connecting on his fourth home run of the regional tournament in the first inning to give Holbrook a 1-0 lead. Garrett Drew also went 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI in the win.

Mann coasted into the bottom of the fourth inning on the mound before running into trouble. The left-hander walked in a run with the bases loaded and Chris Andrews came in and walked in a second run. Simanski followed with an RBI single, but Andrews halted the scoring.

Andrews tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and a walk using mostly his curveball.

Andy Osmond also added an RBI single for Holbrook, which came in the six-run seventh.

Thurmont replaced Simanski with left-hander Peyton Castello, who kept the Holbrook lineup relatively silent during his 2 1/3 innings thanks to a mix of offspeed pitches that were much slower than what Simanski was featuring.

Saturday's win earns Holbrook a game against New England champion Fairfield American, Conn. The two teams will meet on Thursday on the first day of the World Series in Williamsport.

Holbrook is the second Ocean County team to reach the Little League World Series this decade and the first team from N.J. in the LLWS since 2012. Toms River National made the trip to Williamsport in 2010, as did Par Troy East of Parsippany in 2012.

 

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