Hot Shots blank Margate
HAMMONTON—Victories have been few and far between for the Hammonton Hot Shots this season, as they battle through an odd campaign that includes nothing but matchups against the Margate Hurricanes.
Last week, Hammonton turned in one of its best performance of the Atlantic County Baseball League (ACBL) season, posting a 7-0 shutout win against Margate at Hammonton Lake Park.
ACBL veteran Josh Wagner returned to the Hot Shots, tossing a complete game, three-hit gem in his first action for Hammonton.
“Josh [Wagner] is done with his other team and we were able to bring him back and he threw a great game,” Hammonton manager Sam Rodio Jr. said.
Wagner used a combination of off-speed pitches to keep Margate’s hitters off balance, allowing just three hits while walking one and striking out five.
“I think he may have hit 80 (miles-per-hour) a few times tonight. Josh is a good pitcher and he shut us down pretty good tonight,” Margate manager Yogi Hiltner said.
Hammonton grabbed an early lead in the game, scoring three times in the bottom of the first off Margate starter Jared Lenko.
Lenko had pitched well against the Hot Shots this season, but Stanton Tentkowski led off the first with a single, sparking a rally against the veteran right-hander.
Dan Gavlick doubled to put two runners on base for Jon Gonzalez, who’s single drove in both runners to give Hammonton a 2-0 lead. Jared Beebe followed with a single to score Gonzalez as the Hot Shots took control early in the matchup.
In the second, Tentkowski’s RBI single put Hammonton ahead 4-0 and two batters later, Gavlick launched a long home run to center field that gave the Shots a 6-0 lead.
Hammonton continued to swing the bats well in the third, but Lenko was able to escape a bases-loaded jam and keep the game within reach.
Any Margate comeback hopes were thwarted by Wagner, who held the Hurricanes hitless through four innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a walk and another on an error. In the top of the fourth, Wagner was helped by a diving catch by Hammonton shortstop Gino Serechia.
The Hot Shots tacked on a run in the bottom of the fifth after Blake Ramos led off with a walk and came around to score on Steve Struble’s double.
Margate put its first two batters on base in the sixth, but Wagner struck out three-straight to escape the jam.
“Our young guys are coming together and I think we’re turning the corner,” Rodio said.
“We’re getting better and better each night,” Rodio said.
Later in the week, Margate topped Hammonton, setting up the final week of the regular season, which ends on August 5 at Hammonton Lake Park at 7 p.m. The best-of-three championship series starts on August 9.