Connor Luckie’s hit a walk-off single in the seventh that gave H-NB a 3-2 win over Turnbull, Conn., in Thursday’s opening game of pool play in the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series in Glen Allen, Va. File Photo by Michael A. Sabo
By Rich Fisher
Aug. 10: According to the Hamilton-Northern Burlington coaching staff, the biggest moment of the game wasn’t a pitch thrown or a ball hit. It actually came from a guy who never got his name in the boxscore.
The headlines will read that it was Connor Luckie’s walk-off single in the seventh that gave H-NB a 3-2 win over Turnbull, Conn., in Thursday’s opening game of pool play in the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series in Glen Allen, Va.
But coach Jim “Uuummmm” Petersohn felt a moment that led up to Luckie’s at bat “was very monumental with how we won the game.”
It all started with H-NB erasing a 2-0 deficit with runs in the fourth and fifth. In the seventh, Nate Rodriguez hit a leadoff single and Hamilton opted to pinch-hit Nick Nemes for Tommy Cramer in a bunting situation. But Nemes went to his coaches and suggested Cramer was the better bunter and should be at the plate.
“This was an all-about-the-team type of moment, and it meant a lot to all of us,” Petersohn said. “I think with what Mike Moceri and I are trying to preach — all about the team — that was a moment that really identified us that we are all in about being a team.”
Petersohn sent Cramer to the plate, Tommy got the bunt down and Luckie followed with his second hit of the game to chase home Rodriguez.
“Connor Luckie is, and has always been a money player since he stepped onto this team at age 10,” Petersohn said. “He’s often forgotten because he is so steady. He does a great job behind the dish and at bat.”
Luckie was also buying into the team-first aspect.
“To start with, I would have never gotten up if the people in front of me did not get on to start the inning,” he said. “I would also say that we would have never been in that game if our pitching did not stay in the game and keep themselves together.”
David Zamora got the win by striking out the only batter he faced. Jake Babuschak pitched the previous 6.2 innings, allowing five hits, three walks and one earned run while striking out six. He was touched for a run in the first and another in the fourth as the offense struggled to get in gear.
“We had several early innings where we applied pressure and put guys in scoring position,” Petersohn said. “The first three innings we had left five guys in scoring position. We had well-hit balls right at players. We were on their pitcher just not cashing in. The boys played a little nervous, potentially from the full day of all the activities from yesterday.”
H-NB finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Zac Brown delivered an RBI single to score Mike Giambelluca. In the fifth, Luckie got a leadoff single and was pinch-run for by John Gibbs, who promptly stole second and scored on Gavin Martin’s second hit of the day.
Babuschak, who had two hits at the plate, had settled in by that point, setting up the seventh-inning dramatics.
“This was our best team win ever,” Luckie said. “We were doing it for each other. Our players that came off the bench did a hell of a job. It is always great to win the first one.”
“What a great comeback!” a happy Petersohn said “It was all about the entire team and a great way to start the World Series.”
Next up for the Switlik Swatters is a 4 p.m. game Friday against the Virginia state champion.
“Tomorrow is another challenge and we are confident our boys will be ready,” Petersohn said.