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

Summer in Toms River means two things: tourists and champions. The tourists come by the thousands, drawn to the Jersey Shore and the promise of some relief from the heat. The champions? Those come from Toms River itself – and they’re only 12 years old.

Six Good Innings is the biography of a relationship, the relationship between Toms River and some of its youngest baseball players. Since the 1990s, when the town unexpectedly advanced three teams to the Little League World Series in a five-year span (and famously won it all in 1998), Toms River has been associated with runaway success in the sport. The town takes understandable pride in its baseball-infused identity – and now the pressure is on to continue that winning tradition.

In the summer of 2007, John Puleo finds himself the coach of the latest Toms River team to try to reach Williamsport, Pa., the site of the LLWS. Puleo has a great team, one that came within a whisker of winning the state championship the year before. But now, in the only season in which they can qualify for the World Series, the boys of Toms River must deal with unexpected injuries, a brutal schedule, their looming adolescence, and the dawning recognition that they have been identified as the team to beat – not only by their opponents, but by the well-meaning members of their own community, who so desperately want a new champion to cheer.

Six Good Innings is an intimate look at the place on the emotional landscape where children’s dreams meet parents’ desires – and often collide.



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