By Sean Reilly
Zach Pollock was placed in a tough situation when he took the mound in a relief role for the PA Shockers on Sunday night at Diamond Nation.
After walking his first two batters upon entering with a man on first and nobody out in the fourth inning, he retired the final nine as his team went on to gain a 6-3 victory over the Bucks County Generals in the 17/18U Green championship at the Home Run Classic, Powered By Victus.
The win completed a long three-game day in Flemington for the PA Shockers, who ended the weekend with a 5-0 record and 39-13 run differential.
“My job was to throw strikes and finish off the game,” Pollock said. “My team gave me some big runs and my coach kept backing me up. It’s always fun being here late at night to pull out the victory.”
The Generals, who ended the weekend 3-1 with a 17-9 run difference, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second courtesy of an RBI single to center field by Liam Hawley with two out. It wound up being the team’s only hit of the game.
The Shockers countered with a three-run top of the fourth. Caleb Everett stole home on a two-out first-and-third play when the Generals unsuccessfully threw to second in an attempt to get Joe Letko stealing on the back end. Tanner Clancy reached on a walk, Ethan Massardier was safe on an error that scored Letko, and Clancy stole home on another first-and-third play.
The Generals began the fourth with a walk to Chase Harlan, after which Pollock relieved starter Sammy Zematis. The next two batters, Jack Mislan and Stone Powell, walked to load the bases. Harlan and Mislan then scored on a wild pitch that struck the home plate umpire in the mask and deflected into dead ball territory.
That’s when Pollack settled in. With the go-ahead run now on third, nobody out and the infield playing in, he got a ground out to second base and a strikeout. The defense then dropped back to their normal positions, and a ground out to second kept the score at 3-3.
With the 1:50 play clock getting closer to expiring, the sixth inning figured to be the last of the game, and it was.
Everett led off the sixth for the Shockers by reaching on an error, and after a strikeout, a single by Matt Fattore and a walk to Chad Kauffman loaded the bases for Clancy, who delivered an RBI single to left field that gave the Shockers a 4-3 lead. Fattore scored on a wild pitch before Mikey Mariano hit an RBI single to right field for added insurance with one out.
Pollock then pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to close out the win and get the Shockers’ summer campaign off to a good start.
“Fastball and curve was really all that it was,” Pollock said of his pitching formula. “This can set the tone for the rest of the season.”