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NY Post
New York Post
5 Aug 2023


NextImg:Massapequa Coast, East Hanover eye chance at Little League World Series

The best teams from the New York metro area will be competing for Little League glory beginning Saturday. 

Only it won’t be in The Bronx or Queens or North Jersey. 

The most talented played aged 10 to 12 from the area are set to battle it out in Bristol, Conn., at the Metro Region Tournament (a double-elimination bracket that also includes teams from East Lyme, Conn., and Smithfield, R.I.) for a chance at making it to Williamsport for the Little League World Series. 

The two local teams couldn’t have more disparate identities: one is a state powerhouse; the other is a relative newcomer. 

Representing New York is Massapequa Coast Little League, a Long Island team that has won the state championship for the third straight year. 

East Hanover will represent New Jersey for the first time, aiming to become the first Morris County team ever to advance to Williamsport. 

Massapequa Coast Little League won the New York state title.
Jason Paderon

“Every year we’re pretty competitive as far as the district but for our town, we’ve never even got out of the districts and won anything,” East Hanover coach Joe Cheringal said. “So this is huge for our town and, and the town of Florham Park as well, because we go to the same high school together, so our towns combined for Little League.

“So both towns are super excited and showed really well in a lot of our state games. It’s huge for us. There’s a big buzz around the town.” 

To reach the regional finals in Connecticut, East Hanover stunned state favorite Holbrook 4-3 last Sunday, beating the previously undefeated squad twice in the same weekend. 

Massapequa, on the other hand, is no stranger to Williamsport.

Massapequa's team is no stranger to the Little League World Series.

Massapequa’s team is no stranger to the Little League World Series.
Jason Paderon

The team made it to the Little League World Series last year but was eliminated in the second round after losses to Honolulu and Hollidaysburg, Pa. 

“We’ve been preaching since the first day this year: our goal is to get to the Little League World Series and win — that’s step five,” coach Jon Henchy said. “Step one is districts which we accomplished, step two is section, which we accomplished, and we just finished step three, which is the state championship.

“We still have two more steps to go.” 

The Massapequa first baseman and home run leader, Brady Hunt, said it has been thrilling to reach this level of success with his closest friends. 

“It’s really fun and exciting to know how far we’ve come and it’s just very cool,” said Hunt, who has been with the team since he was 8 years old. 

Coach Jon Henchy said getting to Williamsport is “step five” of the team’s goal.
Jason Paderon

While nerves are sure to set in when the Long Island team plays Smithfield at 7 p.m. (ESPN+) on Saturday, Hunt said he knows he has to rely on his team. 

“Knowing we have each other’s backs, the nervous factor kinda goes away, because we know if we make a mistake, our team can pick each other up,” he said. 

East Hanover will kick off the tournament with a game against East Lyme at 4 p.m on Saturday. (ESPN+) on Saturday. 

Massapequa Coast celebrates its state title.

Massapequa Coast celebrates its state title.
Jason Paderon

“When we put the team together, we knew we knew we had a very good team,” Cheringal said. “Being that close to going to Pennsylvania, it’s becoming more of a reality for everybody. And everybody’s really excited about it.

“We just hope to put our best foot forward in the next couple of games.”