By ANGELO VELOTTA
For the Star Beacon
Hamilton continued its torrid offensive pace on Friday when it dispatched Boardman from the Little League State Tournament, 15-11.
The win advances Hamilton to today’s finals against New Albany at Tulino Field at Cedarquist Park.
The Hamilton offense hammered out nine home runs on the afternoon. Travis Harvey and Alex Cardona each hit a pair while Troy Waliszewski, Cameron Tenhundfeld, Montana Algaier, Payton Pennington and Caleb Owens all hit balls that left the yard.
A six-run second inning for Hamilton was sparked by a Tenhundfeld grand slam that gave Hamilton an early 6-2 lead.
“We’re going to hit the ball,” Hamilton coach Tim Nichting said. “Lotta runs on this field. Keep battling. The kids showed a lot of heart.”
Boardman had actually struck first in the game. Travis Harvey hit a solo shot over the center field wall on the second pitch he saw in the bottom of the first and a few batters later Alex Cardona scored on a deep solo shot to left giving Boardman the early 2-0 lead.
“Absolutely, hey to strike first (is always a good thing),” Boardman coach Brian Fonderlin said.
Left fielder Troy Waliszewski made a great diving play in left field to get the last huge flyout, and was one of three truly great defensive plays on the day for Boardman.
Down 6-2 in the bottom of the second, Boardman’s Michael Fetsko led off with a walk then Griffin Schantz hit a RBI triple to score a run making it 6-3.
Pitcher Travis Harvey helped his own effort with an RBI to cut the deficit to 6-4.
Two runs helped, but Hamilton starting pitcher Payton Pennington got out of the jam, leaving the bases loaded to end the inning.
“Huge, just have a base hit would be nice, any time three kids are left on base you wish you had an opportunity,” Fonderlin said.
Hamilton would continue the trend in the third inning scoring three to Boardman’s one. Montana Algaier helped out with two-run home run over the left field wall. Caleb Owens also plated a run with a sacrifice fly..
Boardman brought home one run in the third inning on a Troy Waliszewski solo home run just over the center field wall making the score 9-5 after three innings.
Montana Algaier’s two-run single for Hamilton in the fourth gave Hamilton an 11-5 lead.
Boardman responded with its best inning, 4-run fourth. T
Harvey walked to start the inning, followed by a Jake Fonderlin single.
Alex Cardona reached on a ground rule double and later Michael O’Horo brought home two runs for an 11-7 score on a huge double.
Waliszewski scored on a single and Michael Fetsko singled to set up Devin Whitaker whose RBI single made it 11-9.
Hamilton followed with back to back home runs to start the fifth inning by pitcher Pennington and Owens. Pennington’s was to right center field and Owens to left field.
Boardman’s Harvey and Cardona hit homers to get the deficit back down to two runs at 13-11 heading to the sixth.
Hamilton added two insurance runs in the top of the sixth on a two-run single by Ownes to push the lead to 15-11.
Boardmand was unable to mount any late inning heroics.
“Both teams know there’s a lotta runs on this diamond, keep plugging away,” Nichting said .
“Keep hitting the ball, more runs tomorrow,” Nichting said. “Will be a tough match, we lost 12-11 to them earlier in the season.”
“They’ve been always been a good hitting team,” Fonderlin said. “They are going to find a way to hit. (Our) kids grew a tremendous amount, they’re very smart batters, patient and work pitchers.
“Defense is stellar, they are pretty fundamental, coachable kids.”
Velotta is a freelance writer from Concord.