Jack Sweeney of Allentown Legion is greeted at plate by teammates after hitting first-inning HR.
By Sean Reilly
When Jack Osmond hit a bases-empty home run in the bottom of the first inning for Allentown Legion on Monday night at Diamond Nation, on-deck batter Jack Sweeney was the first to greet him at home plate.
A moment later, Sweeney also went deep, to virtually the same spot over the fence in left-center on Field 7 at ‘The Nation.’
When the Rutgers commit Sweeney touched the plate, Osmond was among the first of a mob of teammates to greet him.
They were moments that demonstrated both the tightness of the team, and the potency of the Allentown Legion lineup.
The home runs were two of 12 hits generated by the Allentown Legion in what became a three-inning, 15-1 Fall League victory over Hillsborough Gold in Flemington.
The back-to-back home runs launched a seven-run opening inning for Allentown Legion, which is now 5-1 with a 50-14 run differential in league play.
The team out of western Monmouth County has won five straight since opening the Fall League with an 8-1 loss to Whitehouse Post 284, which occupies first place with a 10-0 record.
Allentown would love a second chance at Whitehouse Post 284 when the playoffs take place in two weeks, but until then, they’ll hope to continue to rake like they did in beating Hillsborough Gold (4-7).
“We hit really well tonight,” said Sweeney, a senior at Allentown High School who went 3-for-3 with two doubles in addition to the home run, with three runs and four RBI. “It felt good. As a team, we’ve gotten better this fall.”
Osmond’s home run came after the leadoff batter fouled out to third base. It began a string of seven straight batters getting aboard, with all of them scoring.
After Sweeney’s home run, a walk to J.C. Laquara, single by Luke Dowd and walk to Sean Heissler loaded the bases for Nick Izzo.
Izzo responded by hitting a bases-clearing triple to center. It was part of a 2-for-2 night with a walk and four RBI for the senior from Jackson Memorial.
Allentown Legion first baseman Nick Izzo settles under pop up as pitcher Jovani Hallihan looks on.
Izzo scored when Aaron Freud singled to center, and Freud scored the seventh run on a two-out double from Tyler Huzzy.
Hillsborough Gold scored its run in the second inning. Mark Ward led off with a walk, advanced two bases on wild pitches, and scored on a two-out single from Krish Shah.
Osmond, a junior from Jackson Memorial, led off the second inning with a walk, and scored on Sweeney’s double to left field. Sweeney advanced to third on a ground out, and scored on a Dowd double to left field. Dowd, who went 2-for-3, scored the 10th run from third when a runner was thrown out trying to steal second.
The game ended via the mercy rule in the third. After the first two batters walked, Julian Caruso singled in a run. Osmond followed with an RBI double, and Sweeney followed that with a two-run double for a 14-1 lead. A walk and fielder’s choice error loaded the bases for Izzo, and his RBI single ended the game.
Osmond ended 2-for-2 with a walk and three runs.
“All the bats came along,” Sweeney said.
Allentown Legion has one game remaining, a contest next week against Mid Atlantic Hurricanes Blue (4-1). They’d love to make the playoffs and maybe get a second chance at Whitehouse Post 284, a team that has dominated the league in recent years.
“We definitely want a chance at revenge,” Sweeney said. “They’re definitely the best team in the league. It would be very fun to play them again.”