Surging Hot Shots win four games
OCEAN CITY—Halfway through perhaps its toughest stretch of the season, the Hammonton Hot Shots have been playing some of their best baseball, extending their season-best winning streak to five games with a 6-3 win on the road in Ocean City on July 8.
The game was the fourth of a string of eight games in 10 days for the Hot Shots.
“It’s definitely a tough stretch. I’ve said a few times we need a new schedule maker, but so far, so good. Hopefully, we can keep it going,” Hammonton manager Sam Rodio Jr. said.
Against Ocean City, the Hot Shots broke open a close game with a six-run rally in the sixth inning.
Kenny Morganweck started the rally with a long single, Zach Newman had a key hit and Stanton Tentnowski delivered a two-run double.
“Yeah, Kenny [Morganweck], he’s one of the older guys, he hit a shot down the line, probably could have had a double but I think he may have tripped on first base. He got everything started for us in the sixth. Zach Newman, he’s been swinging the bat well and had a big hit and Stanton [Tentnowski] really broke it open with a rocket in the gap,” Rodio said.
Frank Torrissi tossed five strong innings to earn the win, while Brad Mountain and Pete Berenato closed it out, each throwing a scoreless inning of relief.
“Torrissi is coming around,” Rodio said.
“He’s gotten better every time out there and is has helped us a lot this season. We’ve asked him to make some big starts for us and he always takes the ball and just does his best,” Rodio said.
The win capped a perfect week for the Hot Shots, who also earned victories against Buena, Egg Harbor City (EHC) and Somers Point.
The week began on the road in Buena, where Hammonton downed the Blue Dawgs for the first time this season, cruising to an 11-1 win.
Jon Newman’s RBI single gave the Hot Shots an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and Hammonton added another run for a 2-0 advantage.
The Shots stretched the lead to 6-0 with four runs in the fourth inning, then sealed the win with five in the top of the sixth.
Jon Newman, Morganweck, Conner Van Dine and Chris Newman all drove in runs in the sixth inning.
Tentnowski finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Mason Dorsey added three hits, scored twice and had an RBI double. Jon Newman and Morganweck each drove in two.
“Stanton has been really hot the last two weeks. He was in a slump to start the season, but he’s probably been our best hitter,” Rodio said.
After coming off the bench for much of the season, Dorsey has made the most of some increased playing time recently.
“We were looking for a spark, so I put Mason [Dorsey] in the leadoff spot and he’s really taken off. I think it shows what kind of kid he is. He wasn’t getting much playing time, but he stayed focused and kept working and it’s paying off. He’s been sensational for us,” Rodio said.
Pressed into a rare start, Berenato was excellent, going five innings, allowing one run on just three hits and overcoming seven walks with seven strikeouts.
“Petey is great. He’s had a few really rough outings lately, but I told him just to relax and pitch; don’t think too much. He has great stuff, he just needs to be less tense out there. He threw a great game for us,” Rodio said.
Mountain came in for the sixth and closed out the win with three strikeouts.
“What can you say about Brad [Mountain]? He’s been around a long time and he always comes through for us. He may not throw as hard as he used to, but he knows how to pitch and he’s there when we need him,” Rodio said.
Hammonton followed the win against Buena with a 7-1 victory against EHC at Hammonton Lake Park.
John Kasper threw five shutout innings, and kept alive his streak of not allowing a walk all season.
“It’s a lesson for younger pitchers—you don’t always have to throw hard, just throw strikes. That’s what he [Kasper] does and he’s been great for us,” Rodio said.
Dorsey had two hits in the win and Sean Cocuzza drove in a run in his return to the lineup.
“Cocuzza finally made it to a game,” Rodio joked.
“He finally got his first car, so now he can drive himself,” Rodio said.
Also last week, Hammonton was awarded a forfeit win against Somers Point.
The five-game win streak pushed Hammonton into a tie for third place in the South Jersey South Shore Baseball League (SJSSBL) standings.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s a tough stretch [the eight games in 10 days], but we’re off to a strong start. Four more games this week during the Feast [Mt. Carmel]. Historically, the Hot Shots have always played well during Feast Week, so hopefully, we’ll keep it going and then go have some fun at the Sons [of Italy] after the game,” Rodio said.
Hammonton opened this week with games against Galloway and Ventnor that ended too late for this edition. On July 13, Hammonton plays at Northfield at 7 p.m. and the regular season ends at Ocean City on July 14 at 7 p.m.