Hot Shots continue to struggle against Margate
HAMMONTON—It’s been a tough summer for the Hammonton Hot Shots, who lost another matchup in their season-long Atlantic County Baseball League (ACBL) marathon with the Margate Hurricanes, falling 12-1 on July 6.
“It’s been an interesting season. Margate is a tough team to beat, and unfortunately for us, we haven’t beaten them on the field yet this year,” Hammonton manager Sam Rodio Jr. said.
Because every other ACBL team defected to the newly-former South Jersey South Shore Baseball League this summer, Hammonton and Margate are playing 18 games against each other through the end of July.
The Hot Shots have won just twice this season, both after Margate forfeited games due to a lack of players.
“It’s definitely not ideal, but it’s baseball and we’re making the most of it,” Rodio said.
On the field, Hammonton’s young roster has struggled against a much more experienced Margate team.
“Right now, we’re a little short-handed. A lot of our older, more established guys have had some other commitments and they haven’t been around. So, we’re going with the younger guys who haven’t really had enough time to adjust to the level of play yet. That said, we’re starting to see some glimpses and the younger kids are getting better every game,” Rodio said.
One veteran who has seen action this season for the Hot Shots is ace pitcher Brad Mountain, who took the loss in last week’s matchup.
The 36-year-old southpaw has seen many ups and downs during his long ACBL career.
“It’s hard for some of our younger players because they’ve never seen pitching like this. Margate has some guys who have played professionally, and their pitchers are very, very good. You don’t see that kind of stuff from high school age pitchers,” Mountain said.
Mountain was touched up for four runs in three innings of work last week, allowing four hits and walking two while striking out three.
“I felt pretty good the first two innings, but in the third, I kind of lost my control a little and left a few balls up,” Mountain said.
Mountain retired the side in order in the first inning, then stranded a pair of base runners in the second when he struck out Nick Dieva to end the threat.
In the third, Brody Levin led off with a single for Margate, and two batters later, Monny Strickland belted a long home run to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead.
Later in the inning, Jason Law walked before Jim Pasquale homered to add two more runs.
Joe Perna came on in relief to start the fourth for Hammonton, and he allowed two home runs, a solo shot from Levin and a two-run homer off the bat of Strickland.
The score stayed 7-1 until the top of the seventh, when Margate took advantage of some wildness from Hammonton reliever Jared Beebe, who walked five while allowing five runs.
The Hot Shots scored their lone run in the bottom of the second. With one out, Blake Ramos reached on an error and came around to score on an RBI single from Brett Longo.
“Brett [Longo] has been swinging well. He’s driving in runs for us,” Rodio said.
Later in the week, Hammonton was trailing in Margate 5-3 when that game was suspended due to rain.
“I think we could’ve won it,” Rodio said.
No date has been scheduled to finish that game.
Earlier this week, Hammonton hosted Margate but that matchup ended too late for this edition.