Jack Veith handles throw at first base for Miners. He was one of six pitchers combining on a shutout.
By Sean Reilly
Tyler Chodack of the Sussex Miners went into Thursday’s Diamond Nation Fall League game against the Hillsborough Gold not feeling great about his recent hitting.
He went home a lot more confident about his swing. And as an added bonus, the confidence carried into his pitching work as well.
Chodack, a senior at Kittatinny High School, hit a two-run double during a five-run first inning, added a sacrifice fly in the fifth and pitched a scoreless sixth and final inning as the Miners gained a 6-0 victory in Flemington.
“I was in a pretty big slump coming into the game, so getting that double when I did definitely felt great,” he said. “I just hadn’t been able to find it lately, so that was really good.”
The Miners improved to a 2-2 in Fall League action. They had lost their two prior games, both by one-run margins.
There were two themes to the win: The big first inning and a collective pitching effort. Six hurlers threw one inning each, and all showed poise in various ways.
Hillsborough had runners on first and second with two out in the top of the first inning, second and third with nobody out in the second, second and third with one out in the third, second and third with two out in the fifth, and the bases loaded with one out in the sixth.
Each time, a Miners’ pitcher worked out of the jam. Chodack pitched the final inning, finishing with two straight strikeouts after Hillsborough (3-4) had loaded the bases.
“Everyone pitched well,” Chodack said. “I probably pitched the worst, and still came out with a scoreless inning. It felt good getting those strikeouts, and not giving up a run felt good, also.”
The Miners began the big opening inning when Lawson Hawke singled to center. He advanced on a wild pitch and stole third before Matt Sabato walked.
Sabato stole second, and both runners scored when Chodack doubled to left field.
“I was just focusing on trying to make contact,” Chodack said. “My barrel caught the ball and things happened.”
Lawson Hawke steals third base during five-run first inning for the Sussex Miners.
Chodack stole third before Reed Peterson walked and stole second. A walk to Jack Veith loaded the bases.
Jesse Hawke was up next, and he hit a two-run single to center for a 4-0 lead. He was thrown out trying to take second on a throw back to the infield.
That outcome left Veith, at third base, as the lone baserunner. He scored the fifth run when Ayden Ellis singled on a slow grounder in front of third base.
The fifth-inning run was scored by Lawson Hawke, who drew a one-out walk, stole second and held at third when Sabato singled to right field. Chodack’s sacrifice fly to center field followed.
Peterson, Eric Wiley, Veith, Joe Mancini, Sabato and Chodack were the pitchers who combined on the four-hit shutout.
“This was a good night to get back on track,” Chodack said.
Liam Gallagher went 2-for-4 for Hillsborough Gold.