By Rich Fisher
June 6: For eight straight innings North Hamilton had trouble getting a big hit, and for the next six the Hibernians had trouble getting any hits.
North Hamilton’s early-season slump continued tonight as it dropped a 3-0 decision to visiting Lawrence in Mercer County American Legion play.
On Tuesday, the Hibos out-hit Hamilton 8-4 but could only muster one run as they stranded runners all over the place. That tone continued in the first inning tonight when Tom McParland, Bryce Fremgen and Wyatt Baker singled to load the bases with no one out in the first. But Ryan Sullivan struck out two straight and got a fly ball to escape the jam and take the air out of North Hamilton.
Two different games, same result.
“Today they completely outplayed us,” coach Matt Maher said. “Yesterday I thought we completely out-played 31 and we just couldn’t get the big hit. They found a way to get it done.
“Today we had three hits to start the game and then one the rest of the way.”
Sullivan finished with a four-hitter, allowing one walk and striking out nine. After walking Tom Cappetti with one out in the fourth, he retired the final 11 Hibo batters of the game.
The loss dropped North Hamilton to 1-2 as they embark on a long break.
“It might be good we don’t play for a week,” Maher said. “We’re gonna need the practice, that’s for sure. We’re gonna hang in there, we’re gonna compete. I think our offense is a little better than
it’s shown. My job for the next seven days is to find the best nine to put out there, no matter who it is.”
He is hoping he can run Patrick Luckie out there. The Nottingham High sophomore threw a solid 3.2 innings, but while pitching in the fourth, he showed an adverse reaction after throwing two straight pitches and left the game.
“He didn’t hear anything pop,” Maher said. “He said it felt weird, and then another pitch felt weird so I’ll check with him tonight. Hopefully, it’s not major. He’s a good kid, he works hard. He really threw well this summer in our intrasquad and he had the save in our win against South Brunswick. Today he was really good. I’m, hoping it’s not serious, time will tell.”
Hamilton defeats West Windsor-Plainsboro with one incredibly wild finish
This one didn’t even make sense.
With two outs remaining in the top of the seventh, all eyes were on Ryan “The Mini Dweller” Beczo as he was working on a perfect game while protecting a 1-0 Hamilton lead.
By the time it was over, Post 31 had to use a bizarre two-run scoring play to pull out a 3-2, walk-off victory over West Windsor-Plainsboro.
To start with, Hamilton (2-0) took a 1-0 lead in the third when Brady Plunkett singled and scored on Chris Cote’s single. Hamilton stopped hitting at that point and WW-P never started.
Until the seventh.
With one out, Beczo had retired the first 19 batters he faced. Joey Sacco helped preserve the drama by making a tremendous bare-handed play on a groundball in the sixth.
But with one out, Alejandro Rivera roped a clean single in the hole to break up the gem. Beczo promptly picked Rivera off, and needed just one more out for the shutout.
But a walk and another single put runners on first and second, and Rick Freeman turned to Joe Swindasz to nail it down. A wild pitch moved the runners to first and third, and an RBI single by Luke Potts gave WW-P (0-4) its first runs of the season and a 2-1 lead.
Suddenly, what was shaping up as a night to remember, was quickly turning into one to forget.
Until. . .
Jordan Nitti drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh and one out later, Sacco walked. Plunkett was then robbed on a nice play at second base, putting runners on second and third with two outs and CJ Pittaro up.
For some reason, WWP opted to pitch to Pittaro with the base open, and wildness ensued. Literally. A wild pitch scored Nitti and as the catcher threw to the pitcher covering, the ball got by him allowing Sacco to also score and give Hamilton a victory beyond belief.
Jim Geraci contributed heavily to the Steinert story