Casey Gaynor pitched a one-hitter Thursday to lead the Toms River East Little League team to a 3-0 win over Middleboro, Mass., and back to the World Series to defend their title.
The win makes Toms River East the Eastern Regional winners and sends them back to Williamsport, Pa., for the world championship.
Toms River beat Kashima, Japan last August to win the world title.
Gaynor and Eric Campesi are the only two team members who remain from last year's team. Campesi hit a two-run homer Thursday.
Toms River is just the third team in United States history to return to the Little League World Series the year after winning the title. Lock Haven, Pa., did it in 1948-49 and Long Beach, Calif., did in 1992-93.
The team has won two state championships in a row.
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