Hamilton’s real July 4th firework show wasn’t at Veterans Park on Wednesday night, it was at Sunnybrae Little League and Anthony Giglio provided one hell of a grand finale.
Giglio’s walk-off blast in the gap gave Sunnybrae a 6 to 5 win over Robbinsville in a wild, intense game that went 9 innings.
“With two strikes I knew I had to put the ball in play, I just had to hit the ball. He threw me a fastball up in the zone and I got a good swing at it” explained Giglio after his game-winning hit.
Sunnybrae was coming off a big win over Nottingham Little League, but facing elimination, jumped right out to a 2 run lead in the first when Andrew Maddalena and Derek Anson each had RBI singles.
The boys from Yardville tacked on another run in the 2nd when Chris Whalen drove home Joey Ditta who had three hits in the game.
Sunnybrae would hold the lead for 4 innings with solid defense and stellar pitching by Adrian Byra who worked a combination of fastballs and offspeed that had Robbinsville miffed.
But in the 4th inning, Robbinsville bats came awake cutting the lead to 1. Sunnybrae turned to Ryan Anderson in relief and like Byra before him, Anderson was masterful on the hill with a mix of location and changing speed to keep Robbinsville hitters off balance.
Robbinsville tied the game in the 6th sending the game into extra innings. After a scoreless 7th, each team would start the inning with a runner on 2nd base. A rule put in place by Little League Baseball.
Robbinsville went ahead in the top of the 7th, but Sunnybrae struck back tying the game again in the bottom of the frame when Chase Porcella was placed on second and scored on a single by Cole Manderson sending the game into the 8th.
In the 9th Robbinsville scored 1 run on Cole Manderson who took over for Anderson after he reached his pitch count. Manderson maintained his composure after a couple of hits and got Sunnybrae out of the frame and up to the plate with minimal damage after some great defense behind him.
“I knew I had a good defense behind me and I knew I just had to throw strikes and let the defense takeover” explained Manderson.
Down by one in the bottom of the 9th Byra was placed at second base, and eventually scored to tie up the game on a fielders choice by Derek Anson.
With Anson on second, Chase Porcella singled to right field and but Anson would be thrown out at the plate on a close call for the second out.
That would send Anthony Giglio to the plate to play the hero when he ripped a 1-2 letter high fastball into the left-center gap, scoring Porcella to give Sunnybrae the win and advance them on to the semifinal game this Friday.
Sunnybrae manager Steve Maglowski had this to say after the game. “It was a great game, they played great game and our team played a great game. It was a fight to the very end. Giglio came through huge, under alot of pressure. As a manager, myself and our coaches have complete faith in this boys and they go out there and give 1000 percent every game. I couldn’t be more proud of them right now.”