WEST DEPTFORD, N.J. - Andrew Hodge picked a good time for his first hit of the regional.
Hodge, 0-for-6 entering his eighth inning at-bat, hit a two-run game-ending home run to center field to give Ellsworth a thrilling 6-5 win in eight innings over Glassboro, N.J., in an elimination bracket game at the Senior League Baseball Eastern Regional Sunday.
On Saturday night, North Cumberland, N.J., beat Ellsworth 12-2.
On Sunday, Glassboro tied it in the top of the seventh and then scored three times in the top of the eighth to take what looked to be a safe lead. But Kyle Jones promptly hit a batter on the first pitch of the bottom of the eighth. An infield single by Jordan Carter put runners at first and second before Mickey Manning followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to two and put runners at the corners.
A wild pitch scored Carter from third to make it a 5-4 game. The very next pitch, Hodge belted his first hit of the regional 350 feet over the wall in center for the game-winner.
Ellsworth will face West Salisbury, Md., in an elimination bracket game today at 1 p.m.
Ellsworth took full advantage of two crucial errors to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Brad Folmer doubled to lead off the inning. Nate Dublin followed with a bouncer to second that was booted, allowing Folmer to race home with the tying run.
After a walk to Manning, Hodge hit into what looked to be a double-play ball, but the relay to first sailed into the dugout, allowing Folmer to score the go-ahead run.
Glassboro countered with a run in the top of the seventh, coming off an Ellsworth error. With runners at first and second and one out, a tailor-made double play ball was booted, allowing Pat Noone to score the equalizer.
In the eighth, Glassboro took the lead on an RBI single by Ryan Bowen and tacked on two insurance runs thanks to a pair of Ellsworth errors. But the three-run cushion was not safe enough and Ellsworth survived to play Monday.
Zach Kuebler led Glassboro’ s 11-hit attack with a 4-for-5 night. The host NJ-15 district champions outhit Ellsworth 11-6. Folmer and Manning each had two hits for Ellsworth.
In Saturday night’ s game, Jack Tyler went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run and Darren Fischer struck out 11 on the hill to lead North Cumberland, N.J.
The win ran New Jersey’ s regional winning streak to 21 straight victories by the state champion over the last seven tournaments. North Cumberland will face Barrington, R.I. at 8 tonight.
Fischer pitched the first five innings, allowing four hits and one earned run. He struck out 11 and walked just one in the winning effort.
North Cumberland (14-0 overall, 2-0 regional) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, sending 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first to jump out to a 5-0 lead. Ellsworth’ s ace pitcher Andrew Hodge struggled through a 38-pitch first inning as the New Jersey state champs took advantage of three hits, two passed balls and an error. Tyler got things started with an RBI single to center to score the first run of the game.
Hodge settled down over the next three frames and gave his team a chance to get back in it. He threw just 21 pitches in the next three innings and Jordan Carter smacked a two-run single just inside the right field line in the third to get Ellsworth back to within 5-2.
But North Cumberland tacked on four more in the fourth and three in the sixth, capped off by Tyler’ s two-run home run that triggered the 10-run rule.
Brad Folmer had two singles to lead Ellsworth.