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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Hot Shots split four games

THG/Dan Russoman. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. Matt McAleer connects for a hit during Hammonton’s loss to Buena on June 19. The Hot Shots remained in first place last week, splitting four games.

HAMMONTON—Playing its fourth game in five days, the Hammonton Hot Shots were unable to overcome a 6-0 deficit and lost to the Egg Harbor City Knights 6-4 in a South Jersey South Shore Baseball League (SJSSBL) game at Hammonton Lake Park on June 23.

The game was a pitchers’ duel for four innings, as neither team managed a hit against Hammonton’s Lucas Hampel and Egg Harbor City’s Joseph Hamill.

The Knights broke through in the top of the fifth, scoring all six of their runs. A pair of errors and a wild pitch helped put Egg Harbor City up 4-0, chasing Hampel for reliever Pete Berenato, who allowed two more Knights runs in the inning.

Hammonton fought back in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four times.

Chris Newman and Matt McAleer each walked to start the rally, and Marco Levari followed with an RBI double to put the Hot Shots on the scoreboard. Dan Gavlick drove in McAleer with a fielder’s choice and later in the inning, Drew Haines drove in two with a double.

The loss snapped a two-game win streak for the Shots and gave the a split of four games last week.

The week’s action began on June 19 with a 4-2 loss to defending SJSSBL champion Buena.

Like the Egg Harbor City game, Hammonton produced more hits than Buena, but the Hot Shots were unable to convert on their scoring chances and dropped an important mid-season matchup.

“It was frustrating because we had a few chances. Too many mistakes against a good team,” Hammonton manager Sam Rodio Jr. said.

Buena scored twice in the top of the third inning, then added two more runs in the fourth.

Hammonton was held off the scoreboard until the bottom of the sixth, when the Hot Shots broke through for a pair of runs.

McAleer had an RBI in the two-run rally.

Hammonton followed the loss with a 11-0 win on the road against Somers Point.

The Shots were hot at the plate on June 20, recording nine hits, including three home runs.

“A lot of guys chipped in tonight. John Kasper pitched well, only gave up a few hits and threw a great game,” Rodio said.

“We scored early and then exploded, which was good to see. Coming back from last night [against Buena] it was good to see us hit the ball,” Rodio said.

Austin Sofran’s RBI single scored Levari for the first run of the game in the top of the second, and in the fourth, Tom Carroll belted a solo home run to put Hammonton ahead 2-0.

The Shots added three in the fifth on John Newman’s RBI double and broke the game open in the seventh, scoring six more runs.

Sofran and Connor Van Dine homered in the inning for Hammonton.

Kasper earned the win, scattering four hits over six innings of work with no walks and five strikeouts. Hampel closed out the win with a scoreless inning of relief.

On June 22, Hammonton topped Ocean City 4-3.

The Hot Shots jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth and held off a late Ocean City rally for the win.

Sofran homered for the Hot Shot, who were able to take advantage of an Ocean City error in the inning.

Josh Wagner went six innings for the win, his third of the season, striking out two.

“Another strong game from Josh Wagner. He pitched real well. We left a few guys on base, but Austin Sofran stayed hot and helped us out tonight. And Pete Berenato came in and closed the door for us in the seventh when Ocean City was close to coming back on us,” Rodio said.

The split left Hammonton with an 8-4 record heading into play on June 26. The loss to Egg Harbor City dropped the Hot Shots into a tie for first place with the Absecon Outlaws.

On June 26, Hammonton hosted Ventnor and on June 27 played at the South Jersey Surf but those games ended too late for this edition. The Hot Shots are back in action on June 29, hosting Egg Harbor City at Hammonton Lake Park at 7 p.m.


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