Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BABE RUTH 15s: WW-P wins a walk-off over Hamilton

HAMILTON – If you think you’ve already seen the most dramatic walk off win possible, you should have seen the one the West Windsor-Plainsboro 15-year olds pulled off Wednesday night in the Southern New Jersey Babe Ruth state tournament at DeMeo Field in Veterans Park.
Behind by a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, WW-P got new life when a potential game-ending fly ball to right was misplayed. Seconds later John Lappettito singled to drive in the tying run, and soon after scored the winning run on a base hit by Brandon Kocher.
That dramatic finish gave WW-P a shocking 4-3 win over Hamilton in the battle of unbeatens and a spot in Saturday’s 11 a.m. SNJ championship round.
By avenging its doubleheader loss to Hamilton two weeks ago in the District One Tournament final, West Windsor put itself one win away from capturing its first SNJ crown and securing a spot in next week’s Middle Atlantic Regional that starts Wednesday at South Colonie, N.Y.
Hamilton could still earn its second state crown in three years, but would need to beat the survivor of tonight’s Nottingham/Northern Burlington game Friday at 7 p.m. then sweep WW-P as it did July 12 to claim the District One title.
“Certainly we wanted to win the districts. That was goal No. 1 for the summer, but the kids really wanted to win this one too,” WW-P manager Pat O’Brien said. “These kids are becoming known as the ‘heart stopping’ kids, but you can see what kind of battlers they are.”
That was evident over the last two nights at DeMeo as WW-P first rallied late to beat a Northern Burlington team they had never beaten in extra innings, then 24 hours later shocked a Hamilton team it lost to 5-4 and 11-0 in the District One title round.
This was one of those classic games that if you were fortunate enough to watch you won’t soon forget. It featured great pitching by Hamilton’s Austin Constantini and starter Robert Armus and reliever Sean O’Brien for WW-P, spectacular defensive plays by both teams especially WW-P second baseman Zach Bacall, clutch hitting throughout and so many thrills it may have been one of the most exciting BRL tournament games ever in Mercer County.
Hamilton trailed 2-0 after Sidd Kumar kept up his hot hitting with an RBI single in the first and Lappettito singled in the second to drive in Christian Waters who opened with a double.
Constantini settled down and would allow only two singles to the next 14 batters he faced over the next four innings.
By then he was ahead 3-2 after a 3-run third that saw little-used Ross Talbot open with a double, Constantini walk and Tino Malave smack a single scoring Talbot, and Constantini on a botched relay. Kevin Smiegocki’s sac fly got Malave home for the 3-2 lead.
Armus and O’Brien combined to give up only a single and two walks to the next 17 batters they faced the rest of the way. It set the stage for the dramatic ending that began when Waters and Bacall each grounded out to short to put Hamilton one out from victory.
That’s when a line drive to right hit off the top of Mike Glazewski’s glove to keep the game alive. Pinch runner C.J. Markisz scored the tying run on Lappettito’s sharp single past shortstop, and Kocher then ended it with his basehit through the shortstop hole.
“I had turned my head. What happened?” Hamilton manager Mike Moceri Sr. asked about the ball to right Glazewski couldn’t handle. “I’m ready to walk out to the mound like the game is over. We’ll just have to come back. I think we’ll have enough pitching.”
“We were really excited to beat Northern Burlington for the first time, and the momentum from that game just carried into tonight,” said Bacall, whose glove work saved at least two runs.
“We were ecstatic when we saw that ball headed out to right because we knew if it wasn’t caught we had the bats coming up to win it for us,”added Bacall, who made two diving stops in the second to deny Hamilton hits. “Our coaches tell us the team that plays the best defense has the best chance to win.”
Wednesday night the WW-P 15s proved that right.
Hamilton (2-1) 003 0000 - 3 4 2
West Windsor-Plainsboro (3-0) 110 000 2 - 4 8 0
WP- Sean O’Brien. LP – Austin Constantini
2B – WWP: Waters, Borup; H: Malave, Talbot. RBI – WWP:Kocher, Kumar, Lappettito 2; H: Malave, Smiegocki.


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