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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Hot Shots rally past Somers Point

Hot Shots third base coach Branon Kincaid (left) congratulates Gino Serechia (right) following a home run in last week’s game. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—The Hammonton Hot Shots twice rallied from behind to defeat the Somers Point Captains 8-5 and even their record at 2-2 last week at Hammonton Lake Park.

Sean Cocuzza doubled and drove in two runs for Hammonton, which snapped a two-game losing skid.

“We’re a little banged up but we got the job done tonight. We hit the ball well, pitched well and caught the ball. We’ll try to get healthy and be back at it next week,” Hot Shots manager Sam Rodio Jr. said.

Somers Point scored a run in the top of the first inning, then added two in the third off Hammonton starter Frank Torrissi to build a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third, Gino Serechia launched a long home run to left field for Hammonton’s first run.

“I wasn’t sure I got it all,” Serechia said.

“I thought it was going to bounce off the fence,” he said.

The Hot Shots left two on base in the inning, but broke through in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three times to take a 4-3 lead.

With one out, Connor Van Dine and Robert Crespo each drew walks. Sean Cocuzza followed with a ground ball to second base, forcing out Crespo but scoring Van Dine. After Chris Newman was hit by a pitch, Serechia singled in a run to tie the game. Zach Newman followed with a go-ahead RBI single, scoring Chris Newman.

Somers Point regained the lead in the top of the fifth behind a two-run homer from Mike Blackiston.

The Hot Shots answered in their half of the inning, sending eight batters to the plate and scoring three runs.

Kenny Morganweck reached on an error to start the rally and moved to second on GianCarlo Palmieri’s single. After Van Dine was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Crespo drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly to center field. Cocuzza then doubled, driving in two runs to give Hammonton a 7-5 lead.

The Hot Shots added a run in the bottom of the sixth when Jon Newman singled and later scored when Crespo reached on an error.

“We found a way to win. The guys swung the bats tonight and we pitched well enough to beat a pretty good team [Somers Point]. I was a little upset with some of our base running mistakes, but it’s early in the season and we’ll fix that,” Rodio said.

Earlier in the week, Hammonton lost at Absecon 5-2. Both runs came in the top of the seventh once the game was all but decided.

“Yeah, we were a little shorthanded because of some injuries and didn’t swing the bats well the other night [in Absecon],” Rodio said.

Josh Wagner, who pitched well in Hammonton’s season-opening win at Northfield, took the loss against Absecon.

“Josh [Wagner] is a veteran and he knows how to pitch. It wasn’t his best outing, but he kept us in the game,” Rodio said.

The split last week left Hammonton with a 2-2 record entering play this week in their inaugural South Jersey South Shore Baseball League season.

“A new league and we’re learning some things. I’m not as familiar with all the teams yet and we have a lot of new guys that we’re trying to blend together so, I was kind of expecting some ups and downs early in the season and we’ve seen that. But I think once we get a few more games in, this group has a lot of talent and, hopefully, we’ll be in the hunt for a championship. One thing about me, I take every game seriously and I want to win them all. I think we have a team that can do that,” Rodio said.

Earlier this week, Hammonton hosted South Jersey Surf and also played at Egg Harbor City. Those games ended too late for this edition. On June 16, the Hot Shots host Buena at Hammonton Lake Park at 7 p.m.


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