Rutherford American Legion Baseball Begins As the High School Season Ends
Submitted by Nick Russo
In 2018, a talented group of Rutherford ballplayers won the NJ State Babe Ruth Championship and went on to play in the Regional Tournament in Pennsylvania.
They'd been winning Little League District, Sectional, and Rutherford Rebels travel tournaments since they were 8 years old.
When they aged out of Babe Ruth, their summer baseball options seemed limited. It was either pay a couple thousand dollars for a spot on a club team, or try out for the few open spots on the Lyndhurst American Legion Team.
In an effort to keep all these guys together on one team, their coaches applied to American Legion Baseball to start an all-Rutherford 16-19 year old team, sponsored by Post 109, located on Carmita Ave. The Rutherford program had been dormant for many years, but the town legion organization was about to be reincarnated.
In that first new season, those young men did take some lumps, playing vs teams of High School Seniors and College Freshmen. It was a learning process in a building year that would benefit them as they matured. After Covid killed their 2020 American Legion and High School senior baseball season, the team came back strong in 2021, winning a spot in the NJ State semi-final playoffs in Whitehouse Station, NJ.
The original group has all aged out of the Legion program, with a couple of them playing college baseball. The Rutherford American Legion program lives on, however, with a new roster of talented players who did win one game in the state semi’s last season.
The 2023 version of the team consists of players from St. Mary’s, Rutherford, Bergen Tech, and St. Peter’s High Schools. This might be the year that the program pitches and clubs its way past the semi-finals in central NJ and on to the State Finals in Wood-Ridge in late July.
If you will be a 16-19 year old Rutherford resident or St. Mary’s student in 2024, the team will need more players next season, as some players on the current team are in their final year of eligibility. Anyone that is interested in playing in 2024 (16-19 yr old) should email the team manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
2023 Rutherford American Legion Baseball Schedule
7/5 vs Paterson on Tamblyn Field @4:30pm
7/6 vs Lyndhurst (Away @ Lyndhurst Recreation Center 7pm)
7/7 vs North Bergen (Away)
7/10 vs Hackensack (Away)
7/11 vs Kearny (Away)
7/14 PLAYOFFS BEGIN