Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hamilton Generals take nine of last 10 in ITL

Hamilton Generals take nine of last 10 in ITL
By Dom Nicastro / Correspondent
Posted Jul 21, 2010 @ 01:28 PM

When you're hot, you're hot.

And when you’re hot in the case of the Hamilton Intertown Baseball League, that means you’re also in first place.

The Generals won nine of 10 heading into the middle part of this week and sat on top of the league standings with a 12-5 mark. Technically there were tied with defending champion Manchester/Essex with 24 points apiece, but the Mariners had fewer wins (11) and a pair of ties. The Generals own the tiebreaker over the Mariners at this point. Hamilton missed the playoffs last summer.

“We’ve been getting great pitching along with timely hitting,” Hamilton player/manager Tom Jones said. “Our biggest strength so far this year has been our depth. We’ve been able to mix in everybody to the lineup, and everyone has been able to contribute in some way. We really have enough numbers this year for two starting teams. The lineup changes every day, but no matter who is in there they have been doing what they need to help the team win. We are able to put a lot of pressure on other teams with our depth as well.”

Connor Sullivan pitched Hamilton to its latest victory Monday night, a 9-3 decision over Ipswich. The Chiefs are in last place while Rockport (third place) and Rowley (fourth) currently occupy the final two playoff spots.

Jim Maloney (three-run) and Mark Provost each blasted home runs for the Generals against Ipswich, and Bryan Vitale contributed two RBI for the Generals. The Generals jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and never looked back.

That win came on the heels of a sweep of Rowley in back-to-back games for the resurgent Generals.

Sullivan again earned the victory, and Jim Love was called upon in relief for the Generals for the second straight night, this time earning the 1.2 inning save.

Hamilton got on the board first scoring two in the first after getting the rally going with two outs and nobody on. Vitale delivered the clutch two-RBI double, scoring Maloney and Jered Stewart. The Generals tacked on another in the second on a Reggie Maidment RBI single.

Stewart led off the fifth with a huge homer to left-center to bump the Generals lead back to two. That is all they could manage as the Rams later got out of a another bases loaded jam with some nice defense keeping the score 4-2.

In the bottom half of the fifth, the Rams were threatening to tie the game. With two on and only one out, Love entered the game and induced a first-pitch double play. Stewart snagged a line drive off the bat of Ralph Renzuli and was able to double off the runner at second.

In the seventh the Rams were able to work the tying run to first, but Love shut the door and got a fly to center to end the game.

In the previous game against Rowley, Stewart’s infield single induced a wild throw, allowing Maidment to score the winning run in a the last inning of a 12-11 Hamilton victory.

Jeff Jensen pitched a complete game for the win.

The Generals trailed, 3-0, until Justin Tilley got an RBI double, Maidment a two-RBI single, and Maloney an RBI double that scored two for a five-run Generals rally.

The Generals extended its lead with six more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, thanks to Vitale’s RBI single and a grand slam by Avon Stewart.

Rowley almost completed a mammoth comeback by tying it with eight runs in the seventh, but Hamilton again came up with last-inning heroics.

Maidment, Ruggiero, Tilley, and Love all had multi-hit games for the Generals.

Intertown Twilight League standings


Hamilton 12-5 (24 points)

Manchester/Essex 11-4-2 (24)

Rockport 9-7 (18)

Rowley 7-8-1 (15)

Topsfield 6-8-1 (13)

Beverly 5-11-1 (11)

Ipswich 5-11-1 (11)