While he and his teammates left Shelby, N.C., as two-time defending American Legion World Series champions — the first team to do so in 40 years — Sean Breen had some extra hardware to pack.
In what Breen considered being on top of his game — the infielder’s American Legion tournament run in which he batted .575 — it earned him numerous awards: the tournament MVP, the George W. Rulon American Legion Player of the Year, the Big Stick Award and the Slugger Award.
“Everything was going right for me,” said Breen, a Gloucester Catholic High School student. “I thought I brought my 'A game' and never let go of it the entire time. I played hard and stayed focused while we played with one goal in mind: to win.”
The Iona College commit led the tournament in batting average and total bases (29), which led to him earning the Big Stick and Slugger awards, respectively. But his most cherished individual postseason award is his MVP award.
“It was the greatest moment of my life,” said Breen. “It was an incredible experience when you’re recognized for all your talent. There is no greater feeling. It meant that all my hard work has paid off.”
His average jumped over 100 points from the regular season to the postseason, but Breen didn’t make any adjustments. In 57 games played, Breen batted .442 with a team-high 64 RBIs on 80 hits.
There were numerous times when he stepped into the box with runners in scoring position during the playoffs, but still, he came in with the same mindset and confidence as he had all season.
“My approach when at the plate is always the same,” said Breen, a resident of Glendora. “Wait for the perfect pitch, get the clutch hits when my team is counting on me most.”
During the Mid-Atlantic Regional, played at Campbell's Field in Camden, it was clear how much respect Breen drew from the opposition. Because of how often he was connecting with every pitch, some teams decided it was safer to walk him than allow him to beat them with his red-hot bat. In particular, he was intentionally walked three times during one game.
“Intentional walks can sometimes be frustrating because ultimately it impacts my batting average or chances to score and get RBIs,” said Breen. “But I feel honored that they would not pitch to me because it means they recognize my talent and ability to hit.”
A few days since Brooklawn’s 18-0 series-clinching win, Breen looks back on the journey with amazement. He and teammates put in a lot of work throughout the offseason and to see it all pay off was worth every hour of practice, road trip and early-morning wake-up call.
“I have been playing baseball since I was four years old,” said Breen. “Bottom line, I love the sport. I feel proud I have done my best win or lose, especially when it counts. This whole experience has been awesome.”