By: Tom Albano
McKeon Park Hyannis, MA
Tonight at McKeon Park for the first time in July the Harbor Hawks did something they have not been able to in the last two years, win a game. The now 12-5 Hawks have been unable the past two years to win one game at home in the month and are now just two wins shy of their total from last year.
To change history, the Hawks made sure they got started early. After starter Scott Firth (Clemson) got out a first inning jam the bats were going early to give him some early run support. Joey Rickard (Arizona) and Dan Gulbransen (Jacksonville) drew back to back walks and had one of the leagues hottest hitters up to the plate, Adam Walker II (Jacksonville). Walker wasted no time and on the first pitch ripped a sharp ground ball between shortstop and third base for a single, Rickard who has also been one of the best hitters in the league of late showed off his wheels and scored on the single giving the Hawks a 1-0 lead. But the Hawks weren’t done just yet as Justin Gonzalez (Florida St.) launched a ball to left center field that reached the wall on one hop. Gonzalez had his motor going as well all around the bases and slid in to third with a two run triple scoring the Jacksonville duo of Gulbransen and Walker giving the Hawks a 3-0 lead after 1.
Chatham got a run in the third. It looked to be a dangerous inning for Firth after center fielder Beau Amaral (UCLA) led off with a double to right and Joe Sever (Pepperdine) walked. Stephen Perez (Miami) then put down a beautiful bunt down the third base line, but 3B Richie Pedroza (Cal St. Fullerton) had the answer with a bare handed web gem to just barely get the out at first with runners on second and third instead of bases loaded with none down. Dane Phillips (Oklahoma St.) came through for the Anglers as he hit an opposite field RBI single over Pedroza’s head to score Amaral. Firth was outstanding though to get out of the inning drawing two weakly hit balls to center and left field to minimize the damage and leave it 3-1 Hyannis.
The Hawks got the run back in the bottom of the fourth by capitalizing on some Chatham mistakes. Cal Towey (Baylor) led off the inning with a broken bat single over second base to get it going for the Hawks. Gonzalez followed again with a walk and catcher Jeremy Dowdy (Appalachian St.) sacrificed them over into scoring position and with two outs in stepped Pedroza. Pedroza hit a seemingly routine ball to shortstop, but Perez was unable to handle it and in the back door came Towey to give Hyannis three run lead again 4-1.
Firth left after 3.1 innings, it was not that he didn’t have good stuff, he was just suffering from control problems. Firth ended up walking six on the night and on a night where his pitches were solid just could not find the strike zone. In the fourth Kyle Kraus (Portland) came in and started to shut down the Chatham lineup. After walking two in the inning Kraus came on and retired the next eight batters he would face. In all Kraus went 3.1 innings and only allowed 2 hits striking out 2.
In the seventh the Hawks added two insurance runs after John Frost (UAB) worked a 0-2 count to 3-2 and singled. Eric Stamets (Pepperdine) came up and executed a perfect hit and run put on by manager Chad Gassman and the Hawks had runners on frst and third with no outs and in stepped Rickard. On an 0-1 count Joey saw the pitch he wanted and drove it over the center fielder’s head and his feet were moving yet again as he dove head first into third for a triple the second two run triple of the night for Hyannis and made it a 6-1 Hyannis lead and that is the way it would end.
After Kraus’ exit lefty Dietrich Enns (Central Michigan) had another great outing of 1.1 innings pitched striking out two and now has only allowed one run over 11.2 innings this season. Kolt Browder (Baylor) came on to close the door in the ninth retiring Chatham 1-2-3 and striking out one along the way.
Our player of the game Joey Rickard after the game commented when asked about his tremendous hitting of late ” I am seeing the ball extremely well and not trying to hard. Just going with my typical approach of trying to hit the ball to right center field and if I am able to turn on it I will.” During the winning streak Rickard has collected two hit games each time and when asked about how this team has rebounded from that brief three game losing streak he had nothing but positive things to say. “We’re winning with pitching, defense, and some great timely hitting. This team got along well quickly and we all have great relationships with one another and we don’t panic”.
The Hawks have taken the season series from their division rivals from Chatham and look to improve to a four game winning streak tomorrow night when they take on the Wareham Gateman at 7:00 PM at McKeon Park. Jon Moscot (Pepperdine) 1-1 1.93 ERA is the probable pitcher for tomorrow nights game against Wareham’s Bobby Brosnahan (Michigan) 1-2 2.25 ERA.