WILLIAMSPORT, Penn — The Holbrook Little League of Jackson couldn't quite come back from a five-run deficit and lost its first game in the World Series Tournament to New England 7-6 on Thursday.

Holbrook scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth, the game's final inning, on a home run by slugger Chris Cartnick and a single by Tai Mann before the team from Fairfield, Connecticut put it away. The Fairfield team came into the tournament with an 18-0 record.

Jeff Frazier, who played in the 1995 Little League World Series with Toms River East, said Holbrook's last loss to Manchester in the districts acted as a spark to get the team back on a winning track.

"That's when they went on that roll when they were putting up 14 or 15 a game." he said. "I wish they won but I also see (the loss) as a little spark plug for them to say, 'You know what? Our back's against the wall. We're from Jersey. Let's rock and roll.'"

Frazier, whose brother Todd led the same team to the 1998 World Series championship, said he thought a some of the Holbrook team members looked a little overwhelmed at the beginning of the game when they fell behind. He said by the end of the game, when Holbrook put together its rally, the team began to focus again on baseball.

"They're going to go off. There's no doubt in my mind this team is far from done just the way they swing the bat," Frazier said .

Holbrook's next game is Saturday against either a team from the Great Lakes or Southwest region. The winner advances in the tournament in an elimination game. If Holbrook wins, it has to win four straight games to advance to the U.S. championship.

"It's a daunting task for sure but they have to take it one game at time," Kevin Williams of the Shore Sports Network said. He said he hopes Holbrook's sixth-inning rally will help bring some momentum to the team.

Win or lose, Jackson mayor Michael Reina said, the entire town is rooting for Holbrook.

"The entire township has Boys Of Summer fever. The whole town is behind them," Reina said, calling the team "a great bunch of kids."

"These kids have been toegther for three years. If anyone deserves this it certainly is them," he said.

"It takes an incredible amount of teamwork and talent to even get close to the Little League World Series, so the fact that they've gotten this far is an accomplishment already," Jackson Superintendent of Schools Stephen Genco said. "Everyone here in the Jackson School District is certainly rooting for them. They've obviously worked hard to get where they are and they will have the support of all of us as they try to win the title."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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