RBI Baseball teammates, who also play for St. John Vianney High School, celebrate with an elbow bump during their "Last Chance" tournament victory over Belmar (St. Rose players) July 14 in Wall. Rich Hundley photo
RBI Baseball teammates, who also play for St. John Vianney High School, celebrate with an elbow bump during their "Last Chance" tournament victory over Belmar (St. Rose players) July 14 in Wall. Rich Hundley photo
High school baseball players from across the state, including Catholic students in the Diocese of Trenton, are taking part in the "Last Dance" World Series – giving players the opportunity to compete this summer after their spring seasons were halted due to COVID.

The tournament runs July 14-31, with the championship game to be played at Arm & Hammer Park, Trenton. There are 222 teams competing, which include seniors who recently graduated. Because the games are not sanctioned by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, the students cannot wear school uniforms, play under their school name or represent their schools in any way. The high school coaches are able to guide their team in the actual tournament, but were unable to officially start working with their players until July 13. Prior to that, volunteers and parents ran the practice sessions.

Photo Gallery: RBI Baseball (seniors from St. John Vianney) vs. Belmar (from St. Rose)

It’s likely all eyes will be on these games as officials determine what’s in store for the upcoming high school sports season, both in public and private schools. For example, safety measures are in place for the “Last Dance,” including temperature checks upon arrival; limited rosters, and social distancing for players when possible. Players are not allowed to shake hands or hug each other, even after a great play or big hit by a teammate, and there is no spitting allowed in the dugout. 

Spectators, who have come out in droves during the first few days of the tournament,  are encouraged to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing rules as well.

To read more about Catholic students taking the field, pick up the August issue of The Monitor Magazine or check back to TrentonMonitor.com.