Event Preview: Team NJ Summer Classic (6/22)

Event Preview: Team NJ Summer Classic (6/22)

Jun 22, 2015 by Brentt Eads
Event Preview: Team NJ Summer Classic (6/22)

One of the top annual club events has become the Team NJ Summer Classic based in Edison and Bridgewater, N.J., which is coveted by teams who see it as a primer for Boulder and the Colorado tournaments.

The OC Batbusters won the 2014 Classic and the year before many of them were on Mike Stith's Team Mizuno champions of the event.
The OC Batbusters won the 2014 Classic and the year before many of them were on Mike Stith’s Team Mizuno champions of the event.

“We have a lot of teams who come here,” Event Director Jim Barsalona begins, “and then fly straight to Colorado. A main reason is you get a lot of top national competition and you really don’t get that national mix until Nationals.”

“We’re strategically positioned,” Barsalona laughs. “Team love going from here to Boulder; they love that one-two combination. You get these two big warm-ups and then mix-up other tournaments afterwards to get ready for the end of July and Nationals.”

This year’s Team NJ Summer Classic has 90 top teams – 62 at the 18U level and 28 at 16U – coming from 19 states as well as Canada.

One unique aspect is that some of the several 16U teams will be playing 18U teams before bracket play begins.

For example, the No. 1 rated team in the FAB 50 16U Club Rankings is Georgia Elite-Hoover which will play Wednesday against the No. 2 ranked 18U team, the Corona Angels coach by Marty Tyson. The Angels were runners-up last summer at the PGF Nationals.

Kelsey Oh will lead Jersey Intensity, one of the top East teams in the Team NJ Summer Classic.
Kelsey Oh will lead Jersey Intensity, one of the top East teams in the Team NJ Summer Classic.

The No. 1 ranked team at the 18U level in the FAB 50 rankings will also be in New Jersey this week as the OC Batbusters, coached by Gary Haning and Mike Stith, try to make it three championships in a row at Team NJ.

The Batbusters just finished a strong showing at the So Cal A’s Invitational over the weekend and will be one of nine California teams to travel cross-country to play in the N.J.-based event.

That national representation is one of the strengths of the tournament and is something Barsalona says he works hard to continue. In the history of the event, teams have come from Arizona to Washington and almost every state in-between.

“I’ve always tried to do that with the Summer Classic,” he explains. “Geographically, we’ve had a nice mix of locations from every region in the country including the Midwest, West Coast, Southeast and Southwest.”

Naturally, the East Coast is well represented and has the home-state Jersey Intensity program, led by Kevin O’Donnell, trying to shine for the families and fans at home.

Says Barsalona, “Kevin always bring a loaded team and he and Dave Lotti of the Rhode Island Thunder have two of the top organizations in the Northeast. Dave’s team has three No. 1 pitchers who could be as good as any in the Northeast.”

Barsalona believes there are other teams from the region to watch out for as well.

“The Chaos led by Joe Spina from Pennsylvania is one to watch and Joe feels this is his best team in the last 12 to 15 years. Team Long Island has two stud pitchers and Jersey Pride is a strong team that has played well against programs like the Batbusters.”

And, of course, with all this talent the college coaches will be coming in droves.

Barsalona says there are traditionally 160 to 175 college coaches from major conferences like the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and “a few from the Pac-12.”

Megan Faraimo, who led the Corona Angels 14U team to the PGF National Championship, will lead her team in New Jersey.
Megan Faraimo, who led the Corona Angels 14U team to the PGF National Championship, will lead her team in New Jersey.

Right out of the gate on Wednesday and Thursday there will be creative and fun match-ups.

That first morning the Batbusters will play Georgia Impact-Medlam and Jersey Intensity; the Angels will play the Rhode Island Thunder (as well as the 16U GA Elite-Hoover team in the afternoon) and Wagner’s-Dunn from Florida will battle the Colorado Stars.

Last year, the sleeper team was Carolina Elite-Genovese, which went to the finals after clubbing opponents senseless with the home run ball. This year, Sean Dunn’s Wagner’s team could be the one who could make some waves.

“Sean thinks his team—which had University of Florida freshman pitcher Lele Ocasio last year—could be especially strong with good pitching and hitting. They may be a sleeper nationally but not here on the East Coast as they have dominated teams in Florida over the last month.”

Barsalona says others to watch include the Conklin Raiders, which “had a great run to win a PGF berth;” Newtown Rock, which is “easily one of the top teams and has great speed” and Lady Lightning Gold Team Miken, the “runners-up two years ago and a team that wants to win and will bring it.”

Unlike many summer events, Team NJ finishes with a championship game and plays a format similar to Nationals. It’s the third year of elimination play and Barsalona says the teams love the championship format.

For this, and many other reasons, the event director says, “college coaches and travel coaches say they can’t wait to get here.”

“There’s more excitement for this event that for any I can remember over the last 10 years.”

Team NJ Summer Classic Participating Teams


  • Arizona Hotshots Gatti
  • Arizona Hotshots Elite 16U Cook
  • Arizona Killer Bees


  • OC Batbusters Maroon
  • OC Batbusters White
  • OC Batbusters 16U Smith
  • Corona Angels Tyson
  • California Cruisers Mel
  • California Cruisers 16U Sievers
  • So Cal Strikkers 16U
  • Nor Cal Bandits Castillo
  • So Cal Diamonds


  • Canada Brampton Blazers


  • Colorado Stars Burns


  • Connecticut Charmers Gold
  • Connecticut Charmers 16U Elite
  • Connecticut The Wicked
  • Xtreme Chaos Gold


  • Florida Wagner’s Gold Dunn
  • Florida Power Black Lantz
  • West Pines Diamond Dusters Norman


  • Georgia Elite Hoover
  • Georgia Impact Gold Medlam
  • Georgia Impact 16U Gibson


  • Beverly Bandits DeMarini
  • Beverly Bandits 16U Premier


  • Polar Crush Gold
  • EC Firecrackers Gold
  • Raiders McGloin


  • Maryland Bayside Blues
  • Maryland Severna Park Hornets

North Carolina

  • Firecrackers NC McKinney
  • Firecrackers NC 16U Stover
  • Lady Lightning TM Gold Corn
  • Lady Lightning Elite 16U Fain
  • Challengers Renzi

New Jersey

  • Jersey Intensity KOD
  • Jersey Intensity 16U Conover
  • Team Mizuno Inferno Meister
  • Team Mizuno Inferno Newborn
  • Jersey Pride Gold Easton
  • Jersey Pride 16U Elite
  • Jersey Flames Gold
  • Akadema Elite Gold
  • New Jersey Gators Gold Biasi
  • Cheetahs Premier
  • Cheetahs 16U Platinum
  • East Coast Elite Fry
  • Jersey Nightmare Kalesse
  • Jersey Nightmare Futures 16U
  • Morris County Belles Keimel
  • North Jersey Rocks
  • Venom 18U Benish
  • Venom 16U Coladonato
  • Edison Angels 16U Elite
  • Witches Gold
  • South Jersey Mystics Jackson
  • South Jersey Mystics 16U Dorman
  • Jersey Outlaws Gold Scott
  • Commotion TRSA 16U

New Mexico

  • New Mexico Sundancers Gold Kohman
  • New Mexico Sundancers 16U

New York

  • Conklin Raiders Gold
  • Team Long Island Gold Galati
  • Team LI/Top Prospects 16U Angel
  • Frozen Ropes Force Gold
  • TC Tremors Gold Bishop
  • Electric City Bombers Gold Dipiazza


  • Ohio Outlaws Premier 16U


  • Pennsbury Gems Gold
  • Newtown Rock Gold Garvey
  • Newtown Rock 16U Futures
  • Chaos Gold Spina
  • Krunch Gold
  • Central PA Krunch 16U Futures
  • TNT Gold Goddard
  • Pittsburgh Power Gold
  • Team Pennsylvania Cyclones Gold
  • Outlaws PA 16U Premier

Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island Thunder Gold Lotti
  • Rhode Island Thunder Wilson

South Carolina

  • Carolina Elite 18U Genovese


  • Virginia Legends 18U Paul
  • Virginia Legends 16U Paul
  • Glory Gold Suzy
  • Glory Elite 16U Mertz
  • Vienna Stars Gold Wince
  • Shamrocks Gold Giaquinto
  • Shamrocks 16U Toureau

West Virginia

  • Tri-State Thunder Gold