Who needs Universal Studios?
Who need amusement-park thrill rides when the real thing is a celebratory mob scene on the infield grass featuring teammates and schoolmates after the final out of the South Jersey championship game?
The 12 seniors on the Timber Creek baseball team will skip their class trip next week. They have business in the state semifinals on Tuesday.
But few vacation experiences could match the excitement the Chargers felt after capturing the South Jersey title yesterday with a 9-3 victory over Clearview.
"This is better than three summer vacations," senior leftfielder Ryan McKeown said. "We've got no problem missing our trip for this. We don't even want our money back."
Second-seeded Timber Creek (15-6) collected 16 hits, including six doubles, on a warm afternoon on the Chargers' home field. Every player in the lineup had at least one hit.
Timber Creek, which captured the first sectional title in the seven-year history of the program, will face the Central Jersey champion, Wall Township, in Tuesday's state semifinals at the College of New Jersey.
"Timber Creek deserved it," Clearview coach Rocco Cornacchia said. "I give them all the credit. We were on a great run but we ran out of great runs."
Ninth-seeded Clearview (14-10) had scored one-run victories over Delsea, top-seeded Shawnee, and Cumberland, but couldn't keep pace with the Chargers' potent offense in the title game.
"Everybody was on," Timber Creek senior shortstop J.J. Williams said. "We were hitting everything. We were even hitting curveballs."
Williams, the leadoff hitter, was on base four times, on two walks and two singles. He scored three runs.
McKeown was 3 for 4, and senior second baseman Nate Floyd was 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Six of the Chargers' nine hitters had doubles.
Timber Creek coach Frank Torcasio said he sensed his team was ready to make a statement at the plate.
"I was confident all day we were going to hit," Torcasio said.
Timber Creek took a 2-0 lead in the first on McKeown's two-run single. But Clearview jumped in front, 3-2, in the third, as the Pioneers collected six hits, including RBI singles by Ed Eisenhart and Jim Emerich and an RBI double by Mike Hand.
In the fourth, Timber Creek responded with a four-run rally featuring four doubles. Williams, Floyd, Anthony Mucerino and Dann Higginson knocked in runs.
In the sixth, the Chargers added three more runs in an uprising highlighted by Floyd's two-run single.
Junior pitcher Jim Schramm worked five strong innings for Timber Creek, and senior John Amato closed the door by pitching a hitless sixth and seventh.
"I never won a championship before," Williams said. "It feels great. It's great for all the seniors. We worked so hard for this."
Clearview 003 000 0 - 3 9 0
Timber Creek 200 403 x - 9 16 2
WP: Jim Schramm. LP: Mike Hand.
2B: TC-Nate Floyd, Anthony Mucerino, Craig Lewis, J.J. Williams, Ryan McKeown, Dann Higginson. C-Mike Hand.