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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Hot Shots edge Ocean City


THG/Dan Russoman. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. John Kasper delivers a pitch during the Hot Shots win against Ocean City at Hammonton Lake Park on June 8.

HAMMONTON—Sean Cocuzza’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Hammonton Hot Shots a 7-6 win against the Ocean City Water Dogs in a wild South Jersey South Shore Baseball League matchup at Hammonton Lake Park on June 8.


The Hot Shots had led the game 4-1 through five innings, but Ocean City scored twice in the sixth and then added three in the seventh before Hammonton tied the game 6-6 and force extra innings.


Connor Van Dine put Hammonton on the board in the second, tripling and driving in Gino Serechia. Jack Turner singled in Van Dine for a 2-0 Hammonton lead and Matt McAleer scored on a wild pitch to put the Hot Shots ahead 3-0.


The Water Dogs scored a run in the top of the third, but Hammonton added one in its half of the inning, as Mason Dorsey singled, stole second, moved to third on Marco Levari’s hit and scored on a wild pitch.


After Ocean City scored twice in the sixth to pull within a run, Hammonton stretched its lead to 5-3 on Jon Newman’s sacrifice fly.


The Water Dogs grabbed the lead in the seventh, scoring three runs. The big blow came from Dom Fiorentino, who blasted a two-run homer.


In the bottom of the seventh, Van Dine walked and stole second, reaching third on a wild pitch and then stealing home to tie the game.


The game-winning rally began with Jon Newman’s leadoff double. Two batters later, he moved to third on Van Dine’s bunt and then scored on Cocuzza’s ground ball single.


John Kaspar turned in a strong start for the Hot Shots, striking out two in five innings.


“It was a wild game. We scraped across a couple of runs to win it. Looked like we were going to let It get away for a while, but we fought back to win. Jon Kaspar pitched a great game for us and I made some decisions that cost us a little,” Hammonton manager Sam Rodio said.


“We’re happy to get the win, everybody in the lineup contributed,” Rodio said.


The win highlighted a 2-1 week for the Hot Shots, who beat Margate 2-1 on June 5 and lost at Northfield 6-3 on June 6.


Playing at Margate, Hammonton rode the strong left arm of Josh Wagner, who limited the host Hurricanes to five hits and one run in six innings. The southpaw did not walk a batter and struck out six.


“Josh is a veteran who knows how to pitch. He gave us a great effort,” Rodio said.


At the plate, Hammonton scored both its runs in the top of the fifth. Thomas Carroll drew a one-out walk and after Mason Dorsey struck out Serechia reached on a dropped third strike and moved to second when the throw to first was off line, allowing Carroll to score. Jon Gonzalez followed with an RBI singled to give Hammonton a 2-0 lead.


“IT was a well-played game all around. Josh [Wagner] carried us and was the difference for us. This was a big one for us given the history between the two teams, so it meant a lot to beat them,” Rodio said.


At Northfield, Hammonton had an early 2-0 lead on RBIs from Jon Newman and Levari, but the Cardinals tied the game in the second and took control with a three-run rally in the sixth.


Dorsey doubled and Zach Newman added an RBI.


“I Thought we played well but left a few guys on base and didn’t get hits when we had chances to score,” Rodio said.


Hammonton was back in Northfield on June 12, but that game ended too late for this edition. On June 13, the Shots played at Galloway and they return home on June 15 to host the Egg Harbor Twp. Eagles at 7 p.m.

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