The Mantua committee honored the township’s Mantua Little League Coach Pitch team at its Sept. 11 meeting for winning the 2023 NJ District 15 Coach Pitch Baseball Small Town Championship in June.
The team went undefeated with a 4-0 record. Players are Jackson Blenderman, Benjamin Ehret, Devon Fuentes, Miles Genzel, Ellis Jones, Rhys Kovalevich Ajay Olsen, Anthony Paladino, Oliver Thompson, Gavin Viereck, Charlie Visalli and Jaxon Whitley.
Team coaches in attendance at the meeting were Jeff Genzel, Brian and Emily Ehret, Andy Whitley, Dan Olsen and hype man CJ Visalli.
“That’s an incredible feat and awesome accomplishment for these youngsters and their coaches, their leaders,” said Mayor Robert Zimmerman.
The committee handed out certificates to the coaches and nine of the team’s 12 players; , three were absent because of prior commitments. The committee issued a proclamation to the Little Leaguers that will be among township records.
The team got a loud round of applause at the committee session as its achievements were cited. Zimmerman then took the time to discuss how the kids help represent the future of Mantua, and how recognizing them balances the positive and negative.
“This is why we do this,” he pointed out. “Everybody who comes to the meetings, you see the controversy, you see there’s some negativity that comes along with it. We spend a lot of time on the phone dealing and putting out flyers. But when you do something like this, it’s so gratifying and so rewarding …
“These are our future leaders, you guys, gals and coaches,” the mayor added. “These are the ones that are going to be standing and sitting up in these seats someday, and this is a great foundation moving ahead in life, to prepare for real-world experiences like we do, your parents do and your coaches do.”
The team then posed for pictures with committee members and displayed its championship banner as a small crowd looked on proudly.
“They earned it,” coach Brian Ehret noted. “It was an amazing run. Four games undefeated.
“We’ll be back.”