Hatfield-Towamencin Titans pitcher Eddie Nealman follows through his wind-up in Sunday’s game
By Will Harrigan
The old adage “Better late than never” is an appropriate expression to describe the Hatfield-Towamencin Titans 14U baseball program.
Considering the way in which the Titans opened up their spring season on Sunday in Pool C action the Mother’s Day Classic, the saying must be taken literally in this case.
A late barrage of runs propelled Hatfield to a 9-1 victory over Prospects Baseball Academy 14U at Diamond Nation, part of a condensed Mother’s Day Classic that was completed, start to finish, on Sunday. A seven spot in the fifth inning broke open the game and allowed the Titans to cruise to victory.
The Titans – based in Montgomery County, PA, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia – would go on to finish 1-1 on the day after dropping a 3-1 decision to pool winner Bergen Crush in their subsequent game.
Randolph-based Prospect Baseball Academy finished their day 0-2 with the loss, having dropped a 5-1 decision to Loyalsock 14U’s in their previous tilt.
“We have been doing workouts since February, but without having actually played, I wasn’t sure how we’d look,” admitted Hatfield coach Chris Heckler. “But we looked good on defense and our bats came alive when they needed to.”
Nursing a 2-1 lead, the Titans walked their way to extending their lead.
Nolan Veagle and Eddie Nealman – the latter the winning pitcher on the mound – both drew free passes to get aboard. Then, an errant throw by the Prospects on a pick-off attempt led to a ball getting away into left field and Veagle scoring, doubling the lead to 3-1.
Stephen Heckler would be struck by a pitch to put runners on the corners, and quickly made it to second on a wild pitch that scored Nealman.
Will Pownall and Nate Hegarty of the winners each drew a walk, forcing a pitching change with no one out. After a strikeout, ninth batter J.C. Wood came up and laced a two-run single to right to make it 6-1.
Mason Franik and Veagle – up a second time after the winners batted around – each drove in runs on singles to make it 9-1.
“Putting up crooked numbers is something we preach in our program,” Heckler said. “We always tell our players that getting big offense in one inning puts a lot of pressure on the team you’re playing, and that’s exactly what happened.”
The winners put up their first crooked number an inning earlier, all with two men out.
Tommy Jusko singled and stole second for the Titans to get the rally started. Jusko would steal second and then make it to third when Wood reached on a fielding mishap. A balk on the Prospects would level things up at 1-1, but was quickly followed in short order by an RBI single by Franik to score Wood from second.
The Prospects scored their lone run off Nealman in the third.
Dillon Patel of the Prospects reached with a walk and stole second and was driven home two batters later on a single by Johnny DeBruycher. Andrew Garcia had the only other hit for the Prospects in the first inning.