Six Good Innings: How One Small Town Became a Little League Giant

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9780061473586: Six Good Innings: How One Small Town Became a Little League Giant

Summertime in Toms River, New Jersey, means two things: Tourists and Little League champions.

The Toms River dynasty began in the 1990s, when its team made it to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, three times in five years, finally bringing home a historic world championship victory in 1998. But with each passing summer in Toms River comes renewed pressure, as the latest collection of twelve-year-old All-Stars strives to leave its mark on the town's imposing baseball legacy.

In Six Good Innings, acclaimed sportswriter Mark Kreidler deftly illuminates the sometimes tense relationship between the town and the team that carries its hopes and dreams. With empathy, incisive reporting, and intimate access, Kreidler follows the most recent juggernaut through one tumultuous All-Star season, weaving the stories of the coaches, the parents, the fans, and the true "boys of summer" into an unforgettable tableau.

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About the Author:

Mark Kreidler is an award-winning journalist and author of the acclaimed Four Days to Glory: Wrestling with the Soul of the American Heartland. A regular contributor to ESPN television, ESPN.com, and ESPN: The Magazine, he lives in northern California.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Toms River, New Jersey, has a history in Little League baseball, winning the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1998. In 2006, its team advanced farther in the competition than any team had in recent years, and—with most of the key players returning—expectations for 2007 were very high. Anything less than a trip to Williamsport would be disappointing. Kreidler, a regular contributor to ESPN and the author of the extraordinary Four Days to Glory (2006), returns with another in-depth examination of an off-the-beaten-path sports story. With virtually unlimited access to the team’s coaches, players, and parents, Kreidler follows the season-long quest for Little League immortality. In an era when too many Little League stories are about parental misbehavior, the most compelling angle to emerge here is the remarkably selfless dedication of everyone involved, from coach to players to parents. This is the story of a community effort to build a champion, and it is a genuine feel-good saga, a fascinating, warm, and decidedly entertaining look inside one branch of youth sports. --Wes Lukowsky

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