You don’t win a regular-season league title without being able to handle some adversity.
On Monday night, in Game 1 of the Best-of-5 South Jersey South Shore Baseball League’s Championship Series at Jerome Avenue Park in Margate, the host Hurricanes found themselves down after a two-out RBI single by Vineland High’s Anthony Rakotz in the fifth gave No. 3 Northfield a 1-0 lead.
But top-seeded Margate came right back in the bottom of the fifth, plating two runs to take the lead and eventually winning, 3-1. The series continues with Game 2 tonight at 7 at Birch Grove Park in Northfield. Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7 at Birch Grove, with games 4 and 5, if necessary, back at Margate on Thursday and Friday nights.
Game 1 was a pitchers’ duel throughout, as Northfield’s Evan Biddle (Salem High) and Margate’s Jake Kinsell (Goldey-Beacom College) put up zeroes through the first four innings. Biddle didn’t even allow a hit until the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, former Absegami High star Sam Daggers led off with a single to left and stole second, then advanced to third on a double by Donnie Stone (Oakcrest graduate). Nolan Charlton (Holy Spirit grad) then drew a walk to load the bases, and after a pop-out, Eric Fitzgerald drew an RBI walk to tie the game, 1-1. The Hurricanes took the lead for good when Chris Knott (EHT grad) drew another bases-loaded walk. Margate (23-6) drew its third bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead to 3-1.
Northfield (17-10) brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh but Kinsell was able to nail down the win with a strikeout. He scattered five hits through seven innings and allowed just one earned run. Northfield’s pitching staff allowed just three hits but was plagued by 11 walks, including three with the bases loaded.