EHC rallies past Hammonton
HAMMONTON—An early four-run lead wasn’t enough for the Hammonton Hot Shots on June 29, as the local South Jersey South Shore Baseball League (SJSSBL) squad squandered that advantage in a 7-5 loss to the Egg Harbor City Knights at Hammonton Lake Park.
The loss dropped Hammonton into third place in the SJSSBL standings as the season enters its final few weeks.
The Hot Shots scored all their runs in the bottom of the second inning, sending five runs home off EHC starter Joseph Hamill, who despite the rough frame, earned the win, striking out 11 Hammonton hitters through six innings.
“We let it get away. We made some mistakes, didn’t hit when we needed to and as a manager, I made a few bad decisions. They [Egg Harbor City] are much better than they were to start the season. The league is really deep this year, and even with a lead, you can’t let up and still expect to win,” Hammonton manager Sam Rodio Jr. said.
Trailing by a run, Dan Gavlick started Hammonton’s five-run rally in the second inning, leading off with a single. Connor Van Dine then reached on a bunt, sending Gavlick to second. Two batters later, Jack Turner walked to load the bases, and with two outs, Matt McAleer singled to center, driving in two runs.
After McAleer stole second, Stanton Tentnowski walked to reload the bases for Robbie Petracci, who singled in two runs before Tentnowski scored on a throwing error.
The 5-1 lead appeared to be enough for Hammonton starter Josh Wagner, who has been one of the Hot Shots most effective pitchers this season, but Egg Harbor City was able to tie the game with four runs in the top of the fourth inning, before adding a go-ahead run in the fifth and one more in the sixth.
In the fourth, Nick Yedman and Collin Fabio each doubled before Matt Rivera launched a three-run homer to tie the game.
After Wagner was lifted in the fifth, Lucas Hampel allowed an inherited runner to score and also gave up a run in the sixth for Hammonton.
“Josh gave up a few big hits in that inning and we weren’t able to bounce back. We struck out a lot, which has been an issue for us this year,” Rodio said.
Despite allowing seven runs, Rodio remained confident in his pitching staff.
“I believe we have the best pitching in the league, no doubt. And I think we’ve shown that this season. I’m confident with any one of our guys out there,” Rodio said.
The loss wrapped up a week that saw Hammonton beat Ventnor before having another game cut short by rain.
Playing Ventnor on June 26, the Hot Shots won 3-2 on a Gavlick sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh.
A pair of singles in the first gave Hammonton an early 1-0 lead, with Gavlick driving in Tentnowski. Later in the inning, Gino Serechia drove in a run for the Shots.
Ventnor tied the game with runs in the fourth and fifth, and in the seventh, Turner walked, advanced the third on Kyle Catanzaro’s single, then scored when Gavlick flied out to center.
Chris Garwood went the distance for the win, scattering seven hits over seven innings, walking two and striking out 10.
Also last week, Hammonton’s game in Northfield against the South Jersey Surf was suspended after three innings with the Surf holding a 2-0 lead.
Earlier this week, Hammonton played at Absecon, but that game finished too late for this edition. On July 5, the Hot Shots host their biggest rival, the Margate Hurricanes, at 7 p.m.
“Hopefully we’ll get a big crowd at the Lake,” Rodio said.
“We have history with them [Margate]. A lot of great games and they’ve been our rival for more than 20 years. Every time we play them, it’s like a playoff game,” Rodio said.