Anthony Coleman/The TimesNick Payesko had three hits, including a double, and two runs scored as Hamilton shut out Manasquan, 9-0, Friday in the state tournament.
WEST WINDSOR – The Hamilton 14-Year-Old All-Star team demonstrated Friday night why it is one of the teams with a legitimate shot at winning the state title.
The Hamilton offense banged out 10 hits while four pitchers combined on the one-hitter in the 9-0 win over Manasquan at Ciuffani Field in its opening game of the Babe Ruth Southern New Jersey 14-Year-Old Tournament.
“When one person starts hitting, everyone starts hitting,” said first baseman Nick Payesko who finished with three hits, including a double, and two runs scored.
“We got everyone pumped up. We started doing good, and then we will get key hits after that. We then will feed off that.”
Hamilton advanced to face the winner of Saturday’s game between Mount Laurel and Brick American at 5:30 p.m., Sunday.
“They started a little bit slow after a week off,” manager Mike Moceri Sr., said. “I figured that’s what would happen after having a week off. We only walked two batters. We are pitching well; we are playing good defense. Like you said, if we start hitting, that could be scary.”
Cody Astbury recorded the win, allowing one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in four innings. Cole McManimon, Justin Marcik and Dan Mostrangeli followed with an inning of scoreless relief each in preserving the shutout.
“I was feeling pretty good,” Astbury said. “I pitched against them last year, and I did good. So I just brought that over to this year and pitched the best I could and help out on defense.”
Hamilton didn’t truly get going until the fourth inning. It headed into the frame with a 1-0 lead. Astbury reached on an error and scored on McManimon’s groundout in the second inning. In the fourth, Astbury led off with a walk. He was chased to third by Payesko’s double. Once Payesko smoked the double to the fence in right, the flood gates opened.
McManimon doubled into the right-field corner to bring both runners home. Ross Talbot’s single was followed by Anthony Medina’s RBI single to knock starter Tucker Caccavale from the game. Austin Constantini added a run-scoring single of his own before Tino Malave’s sacrifice handed Hamilton a 6-0 lead.
“I feel pretty good about this team,” Moceri said. “If the pitchers can pitch like they are doing. They don’t strike out a lot of guys, but they are pitching to contact, and we are playing good defense behind them.
“I always tell them if you can pitch, don’t walk anybody and don’t make any errors, they are going to be in the game and winning at the end most of the times.”
Talbot picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice in the fifth while two wild pitches with the bases loaded in the sixth accounted for Hamilton’s final runs. A single to right by Tanner Cowley off Astbury in the second was Manasquan’s lone hit of the game.
“Every time we give him the ball, he is usually around the plate,” Moceri said of Astbury. “He always gives us a good game. He has that little bit of a weird motion. He hides the ball pretty good, and guys can’t hit his knuckleball and curveball.”
For Hamilton, it was a return to the scene of the crime. Last year on this same field, it came within one win from winning the state title. It feels it has unfinished business.
“We had that game,” Payesko said. “We won the first game (in the championship to force the “if necessary” game). The second game was tough. This year, we just want to get four wins. I think the chances of that are really good. If we hit and get good pitching from everybody, we should be fine.”Contact Anthony Coleman at .
BABE RUTH SNJ 14Sat Ciuffani Field (West Windsor)Thursday, July 21Brick American 7, Stratford 4West Windsor-Plainsboro 7, Sewell 6Friday, July 22Washington Township 6, New Egypt 2Hamilton 9, Manasquan 0Saturday, July 23Game 5: West Windsor-Plainsboro vs. Northern Burlington, 10 a.m.Game 6: Brick American vs. Mount Laurel, 12:30 p.m.Game 7: Stratford vs. New Egypt, 3 p.m.Game 8: Sewell vs. Manasquan, 5:30 p.m.Sunday, July 24 Game 9: Game 7 winner vs. Game 5 loser, 10 a.m.Game 10: Game 8 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 12:30 p.m.Game 11: Washington Township vs. Game 5 winner, 3 p.m.Game 12: Hamilton vs. Game 6 winner, 5:30 p.m.Monday, July 25Game 13: Game 10 winner vs. Game 11 loser, 6 p.m.Game 14: Game 9 winner vs. Game 12 loser, 8:30 p.m.Tuesday, July 26Game 15: Game 13 winner vs. Game 14 winner, 6 p.m.Game 16: Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner, 8:30 p.m. (winners’ bracket final)Wednesday, July 27Game 17: Game 15 winner vs. Game 16 loser, 6:30 p.m.Thursday, July 28Championship: Game 16 winner vs. Game 17 winner, 6 p.m.“If necessary,” 8:30 p.m.
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