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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Finally on the field, HHS baseball wins a pair

Dan Russoman/THG,. Jaiden Franchetti earned the win as Hammonton topped Schalick 10-0 last week.

HAMMONTON—After seeing its first three games of the season washed away by rain, Hammonton High School’s baseball team finally opened its season last week, winning twice and dropping another game before poor weather forced two more postponements.

“It’s been tough because of the weather. We haven’t been able to settle into a routine and there’s only so much you can do practicing inside so it’s tough to stay sharp,” Hammonton coach Gregg Silvesti said.

Hammonton began last week with and its season with a 6-2 loss at Egg Harbor Twp. (EHT) on April 8.

The host Eagles struck early, taking a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, and Hammonton struggled to come back.

“We were a little rusty and it took us a couple of innings to get it going. At that point it was a little too late,” Silvesti said.

The Blue Devils managed just two hits, with Jonathan Calderone doubling in the loss.

A day later, Calderone made a stellar defensive play and Hammonton rolled past Schalick 10-0 in five innings.

Jaxon Miller doubled twice and drove in five runs, while Brayden Markart went 3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBI.

“The kids chipped away, got hits when we needed and we rebounded well from yesterday [at EHT]. I think we got out of the gate slow yesterday. We gave up five runs in the first two innings. Sloppy. It’s the first time I think we’ve been on a baseball field in like a week I know, so it hurts,” Silvesti said.

Hammonton struck early against Schalick, as Markart doubled and Miller and Landon Haines each drove in runs to stake the Devils to a 2-0 lead.

Two more runs came in the second, when an error allowed Caden Humphries to reach in front of Jaiden Franchetti, who singled. Another error allowed both runners to score for a 4-0 Hammonton lead.

In the third, Austin Schoell’s RBI double put Hammonton ahead 5-0 and the Blue Devils pulled away in the bottom of the fourth when Miller doubled in a pair of runs.

Schalick threatened in the first, but Franchetti pitched out of a jam to keep the Cougars off the board, and once again in the fourth, when Calderone fielded a short ground ball on the run and threw an off-balance strike to first to retire the side.

The Cougars stranded two runners in the fifth, before Hammonton closed out the win when Markart doubled in a run and Miller’s hit scored two more runs to clinch the 10-0 victory.

Franchetti went five innings for the shutout win, scattering three hits, walking four and striking out six.

“It was nice to see him [Franchetti] give you the five innings and he did his job. When he did get in trouble he was able to get out of it. And he got a couple of ground balls,” Silvesti said.

Hammonton lost many key players to graduation, and this season the Blue Devils have a young team that Silvesti believes can compete with anyone on its schedule.

“I think we’re going in the right direction. I’m excited. We have pitching. We just have to find a way to score some runs. Like today. I mean, you know, get guys on base, move them around, get them in,” he said.

Manufacturing runs will be one of the focus points this spring.

“I think we’re fast. And we could bunt the ball this year. So, I think we’re going to be successful taking bases and moving guys over,” Silvesti said.

Hammonton was more than able to move guys over in its 12-1 win at Cape May Tech on April 10.

The Blue Devils took an early 4-0 lead, then broke the game open with an eight-run rally in the top of the fifth.

Miller was 4-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBI, scoring three runs. Frank Sacco added three hits, including a double, scored twice and drove in three and Braxton Gillis finished with three hits and two RBI.

Silvesti used three pitchers in the game, with Ryan Beebe earning the win, going three solid innings with four strikeouts.

Earlier this week, Hammonton played two games against ACIT that ended too late for this edition. On April 18, the Blue Devils host Absegami at 4 p.m.


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