Way to Go!
Right next to him up there was 5'2" shortstop and pitcher Todd Frazier, 12, who had some fatherly advice ringing in his ears too. "My dad [high school vice principal Charles] tells me to have fun and play hard," he says. "And whatever happens, happens." Seventh-grader Frazier proceeded to hit .600 for the series and dominated the title game, leading off with a home run and pitching the final two innings. "I'm just a parent coaching Little League," says manager Mike Gaynor, 47, a partner in a sneaker chain. "I've been blessed."
Baseball is so popular in middle-class Toms River (pop. 84,199) that some 2,000 kids play in two separate leagues. The victorious 12-player all-star squad turned down an invitation to a Yankees game the day after their win, preferring to head home to several thousand fans waiting at the league complex to cheer them. "When they left three weeks ago, we were sending out little boys," says Bill Cardone. "But they were coming back young men."