• Dan Russoman

Blue Devils grab win on ‘Senior Day’


Hammonton’s Jared Beebe connects for a base hit during last week’s game against Absegami. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—As Nygel Waugh took a short lead off third base late in Hammonton High School’s baseball game against Absegami last week, one thought went through his mind.


“Don’t get hit with the ball,” Waugh said.


His teammate, fellow senior Jared Beebe, made that effort a tough one for Waugh, sending a screaming line drive down the third base line that nearly clipped Waugh before it landed foul.


“I was really scared. Jared hit that ball really hard,” Waugh said.


A few pitches later, Beebe launched a long fly ball into center field that was misplayed, allowing Waugh to sprint home with what proved to be the game-sealing run in Hammonton’s 11-1 win on “Senior Day.”


“That was great. Nygel doesn’t play much, but he helps us out a lot. It was great to get him in the game and see him score that run. I was a little nervous when he dodged the shot by Beebe, but he calmed down and was able to help us get a win,” Hammonton coach Gregg Silvesti said.


Waugh’s run capped a six-run rally in the bottom of the fourth inning that helped Hammonton break open what had been a close game.


“We’ve been fortunate this year to have had some big innings. Our kids came up big there and we got a win we really needed,” Silvesti said.


Neither team was able to manage much offense early in the game. Absegami managed a run in the top of the first, but Hammonton tied it in the bottom of the inning when Brett Longo singled in Lucas DeStefano.


In the third, Hammonton added four runs to take control of the matchup. Joe Perna singled and came around to score when David Humphries drew a bases-loaded walk. D.J. Adamucci followed with an RBI single, and DeStefano then singled in a pair of runs to put the Blue Devils on top 5-1.


In the fourth, Longo, Perna and Anthony Leo each singled to spark a six-run rally that closed out the win.


After Leo’s RBI single, Matt Grasso drove in a run and Joe McIntosh’s sacrifice fly added a run.


Humphries and Dom LaSassa each singled before DeStefano hit a two-run triple to make the score 10-1.


Silvesti sent Waugh in to run for DeStefano, and he scored the 11th run for the Blue Devils when Absegami’s center fielder dropped Beebe’s long fly ball.


That run gave Hammonton a 10-run lead, and Humphries closed out the game, retiring the side in order in the top of the fifth.


The win was part of a week that saw Hammonton win four-of-five games, improving its record to 9-5.


It was also just the third home game of the season for the Blue Devils.


“Our schedule has been brutal. It was nice to be back home for a change. I forgot what this field looks like,” Silvesti said.


Hammonton opened the week with an 11-0 win at Atlantic City. Adamucci earned the win with seven strikeouts over three scoreless innings.


DeStefano was 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs, while Adamucci doubled and drove in two.


A day before the win against Absegami, Hammonton lost at Egg Harbor Twp. 7-4. Longo had two hits in the game.


The Blue Devils finished the week with back-to-back wins on the road at Camden Tech and Glassboro.


Beebe had three hits, including a double and a triple, driving in three and scoring a pair of runs in a 14-0 win at Camden Tech.


Drew Haines added two hits, two RBIs and three runs for Hammonton. Jamison McNally earned the win, striking out five.


On May 15, Hammonton won at Glassboro 15-4. Beebe was 3-for-3 with a home run and three runs scored. Adamucci added two hits and five runs batted in, while Haines was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.


Perna struck out five and earned the win.


Hammonton came into the week hoping to earn at least four wins and achieved that goal.


“This was a big week for us. I felt at least four of our games were winnable. It helps us with our seeding for the state playoffs. Hopefully, we can carry the momentum into [this] week because we have some more tough games,” Silvesti said.


Earlier this week, Hammonton played at Williamstown, but that game ended too late for this edition. On May 19, the Blue Devils host Paul VI at 4 p.m. and on May 21, they will take on Vineland at home, also at 4 p.m.