HATFIELD TWP. — Eric Hamilton cooled off the Hatfield-Towamencin offense and Nor-Gwyn kept its hot streak going Monday night at School Road Park.
The visiting Hawks struck for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning and that proved enough support for Hamilton, the right-hander tossing six scoreless frames in a complete-game effort as Nor-Gwyn topped the Titans 3-1 for its sixth straight Bux-Mont American Legion victory.
“The fact that our opponent was Hatfield definitely gave me that little boost but other than that it was just every inning, one pitch at a time,” Hamilton said. “Really nothing different, nothing changed.”
Hamilton struck out five, walked one and gave up just three hits, the last a Jack Picozzi leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth but the Hawks turned a 6-3 double play on the following at-bat. Hamilton did not allow another baserunner until Paul Moretski drew a one-out walk in the seventh.
“I was trusting on my stuff, trusting Evin (Sullivan) behind the plate,” Hamilton said. “He was calling the pitches so he just gave me the sign, gave me the target and I knew I had to hit it.”
Moretski went to third after an error on a Colin Orndorff fielder’s choice then scored on Zach Riddle’s RBI groundout. Hamilton, however, came back and got the next batter to ground out and seal the win.
“The fastball – really working low, lot of nice curveballs,” Hamilton said. “Didn’t throw many changeups but again just the fast and curveball were really working tonight.”
RJ Agriss went 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored batting first in the order for Nor-Gwyn (9-2 league), which now tied for first with Perkiomen at 18 points with the two teams scheduled play 7 p.m. Tuesday at Perkiomen.
Sullivan was 2-for-3 with a run while Joey Christian went 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Hawks, who are looking to claim their first league regular-season title since 2014 and with it one of the Bux-Mont’s two Region 2 tournament berths.
“When we first started up, we were all kind of run down from the North Penn season,” Agriss said. “It was a long run and it was a tough way to lose but since then we kind of came together and said all right that’s behind us now let’s go win this thing.
“And we know what we’re capable of and we know we’re capable of beating every team in this league so that’s what we decided to come out and do, it was change our mentality and be ready to go every day.”
Hatfield-Towamencin (7-2 Bux-Mont), which had its three-game win streak snapped, is still alive for the league regular-season crown but needs to win its final three games. The Titans play a doubleheader Tuesday back at School Road Park, taking on Quakertown at 6 p.m. then Doylestown at 8:30 p.m. H-T then visits Pennridge 6 p.m. Wednesday at Kulp Playground.
“Eric pitched a great game,” Titans coach Kevin Harder said. “I don’t remember the exact pitch count he finished at but I think was at 70 or whatever, he was very efficient, kept the ball down. I don’t think he made two mistakes at all the whole game, let alone in a row so our guys were off balance the whole time, he pitched great.”
H-T starting pitcher Mike Lennon took the loss in the duel between North Penn Class of 2021 hurlers, but the left-handed West Chester commit still had a solid night on the mound. In six innings, Lennon gave up three runs – all earned – on seven hits, walked one and struck out nine, including striking out the side in the top of the second.
“Mike pitched great too,” Harder said. “It was unfortunate we weren’t able to get him some more run support. That’s what happens, they were able to jump on us pretty early in that first inning and get two more and get out to a head start.”
Hamilton excelled as a reliever for North Penn in the spring, earning All-SOL Colonial Division honorable mention in helping the Knights win the division and advance to the PIAA Class 6A semifinals. And so far this summer he has not had much trouble switching over to a starting role for Nor-Gwyn.
“At first, yeah mentally, you’re going longer but I know I just got to lock in one inning at a time,” Hamilton said. “I had three starts where I went seven innings so it’s just the mentality that you just got to go the distance.”
The Hawks grabbed the quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Agriss started the contest with a single while Sullivan collected a one-out base hit. Agriss scored on Sam Cohen’s RBI sacrifice fly while Sullivan came home on a Christian RBI single.
“You go into the game and you know you’re facing Mike Lennon,” said Agriss, an Elizabethtown commit. “And this is a guy we’ve been with the last six months of our lives, watching him every Monday go out there and dice up opposing teams. It’s kind of just go up there and we know how he likes to work and you just trust yourself. You trust the work you’ve put in.”
Nor-Gwyn added its third and final run in the top of the sixth. After base hits from Sullivan and Cohen, a Christian bunt single loaded the bases with no outs. A Steve Corrado RBI groundout made it 3-0 but Lennon got the next two batters to ground out and strike out, stranding runners on second and third.