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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Hot Shots roll into first place

THG/Dan Russoman. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. Jack Turner connects for a base hit. Turner helped Hammonton earn a pair of victories last week.

HAMMONTON—A pair of wins sent the Hammonton Hot Shots into sole possession of first place in the South Jersey South Shore Baseball League (SJSSBL) last week as the season nears its midway point.

Hosting the Egg Harbor Twp. Eagles on June 15, Hammonton used a strong pitching performance and a few timely hits to pull out a 2-0 victory that left them with a 6-2 record, a half game ahead of the Margate Hurricanes entering play on June 19.

“We did our best to try to win a game without getting a hit,” Hammonton manager Sam Rodio Jr. said.

“Our pitching was excellent tonight and now we’re in first place. Hopefully, we can keep it going,” Rodio said.

John Kasper earned the win for the Hot Shots, his second of the season, tossing a pair of shutout innings, allowing one hit while striking out two. Lucas Hampel, Pete Berenato and Chris Garwood closed out the win for Hammonton with each throwing well.

“We’ve been getting some good pitching this season. A lot of guys are contributing on the mound. John Kasper pitched well tonight and we held the lead,” Rodio said.

Hammonton took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Jon Gonzalez walked, then stole second and third, eventually scoring on a balk by Egg Harbor Twp. pitcher Jack Wilken.

“Yeah, we got a run without a hit on a mistake by their pitcher,” Rodio said.

Gonzalez capped the win in the bottom of the sixth, launching a solo home run, his first of the season.

“Gonzo’s been hitting well this year for us. It was nice to see him hit one out tonight. The Little League team he coaches was here, so they got to see that,” Rodio said.

On June 13, Hammonton won at Galloway, topping the Mustangs 7-5. That game went back-and-forth, as Galloway led early and Hammonton was up by a run before falling behind again and rallying for the win.

Trailing 1-0, Hammonton scored twice in the top of the third for its first lead of the game.

Thomas Carroll tripled to lead off the inning, scoring on Kyle Catanzaro’s single. Later in the frame, Matt McAleer singled and scored on a base hit from Marco Levari.

Galloway added three in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead, but Hammonton rallied for two in the sixth to tie the game.

Jon Newman singled to start things for the Hot Shots, and Jack Turner followed with a base hit. Jon Newman scored when Zach Newman doubled, and Carroll’s sacrifice fly drove in Turner to tie the game.

Galloway regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the sixth, but Hammonton answered with three in the seventh to seal the win.

After McAleer singled, Gino Serechia drew a one-out walk and Jon Newman’s single drove in McAleer. Turner then walked to load the bases and Zach Newman’s hit scored a pair of runs for a 7-5 lead.

“We’re lucky to come away with a win tonight, we kind of stole one here,” Rodio said.

The two wins set up a busy week for the Hot Shots, who hosted defending league champion Buena on June 19 and also played at Somers Point on June 20. Both those games ended too late for this edition.

On June 21, the Shots return home to Hammonton Lake Park to host the Ocean City Water Dogs at 7 p.m. Hammonton also plays at home against Egg Harbor City on June 22.


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