Big second inning gives Harbor Hawks the edge over Harwich

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HARWICH, Mass. — Michael Dattalo (Dallas Baptist) stuck his hands out and connected. The infielder easily trotted to second base after his knock rattled off the Whitehouse Field fence, driving in Alex Lodise (Florida State) and Josh Tate (Georgia Southern) — Dattalo’s double capped a six-run second inning for Hyannis.

This big second inning made all the difference in the Harbor Hawks' (11-8-1) much-needed 8-7 road win against the Harwich Mariners on a humid Tuesday evening.

"I got a lot of offspeed pitches, but I was looking for a heater," Dattalo said. "He threw an offspeed pitch 2-1 and I was kind of out in front of it, but I had a feeling a heater was coming. He gave me one and I didn't miss it."

Chaos ensued early on Tuesday when Jon Jon Gazdar (Austin Peay) stepped into the box to lead off that very frame. He singled to start things and was quickly followed by an Eric Snow (Auburn) double. Pressure was building on the Mariners' (9-11) southpaw Ryan DeSanto.

The Hawks finally crossed the board after Jaxson West (Florida State) drove Gazdar and Snow in with a single and an error. Anthony Silva (TCU) worked a walk, and to make matters worse for Harwich, head coach Mitch Karraker sent multiple double-steals as the Penn State arm worked slower with traffic on the basepaths.

"We like to run," Karraker said. "That's kind of how we're built. Most of the time guys are doing that on their own, there's a couple of instances where I call it, but most of the time they just have a good feel for it. I encourage them to take off and put pressure on the pitcher."

Lodise and Tate struck base hits of their own in the second, and Dattalo finished the damage with his towering extra-base hit. Dattalo is currently tied for first in the CCBL in doubles with six.

The Hawks were covered in dirt and chalk after their big inning; the club had batted around in the order for just the second time this season.

One of the newest Hawks, Lodise, has been tearing the cover off the ball since touching down in Hyannis. The Florida State middle infielder went 3-for-5 with two RBI against Harwich, and as of Tuesday, he's hitting an other-worldly .522 (12-for-23) with an OPS of 1.368.

"Right now I'm just trying to trust my swing," Lodise said. "This whole team, we're all such good hitters, and when we trust ourselves and our swings, it produces good outcomes. When I got here, I just wanted to fit in, do my job and help the team win. So far it's been working out."

"[Lodise] has got a middle-of-the-field approach," Karraker said. "Fundamentally, he's a really good offensive player. He hits a lot of pitches, and he's just been seeing the ball really, really well. He's been a good spark for our offense."

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The Mariners scratched the game's first run across, thanks to a couple of timely hits in the opening frame. Despite the early deficit, Harwich did not go down easy.

Andres Galan (California) recorded a pair of quick groundouts, but Harwich was relentless in making him work. Ryan Weingartner clubbed a double to the right-center gap, and Matt Scannell brought him home on a single just a batter later.

The home team would chip away throughout the rest of the contest. Harwich scored a pair in the bottom of the third, plated one in the fifth, and things got even more dicey when Cam Maldonado hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to cut the Hawks' lead to just two.

Perhaps the most gut-wrenching moment of Tuesday's game happened in the bottom of the ninth at Whitehouse Field. Karraker had to dip further into his bullpen when the Mariners got the game-tying run on base and the winning run at the dish. Josh Och (Southern Miss) had ice in his veins collecting the last two outs of the ballgame for his first save with Hyannis.

"This was a good game, a really good game," Karraker said. "Offensively we strung some things together... again sprayed a lot of hits, scored some runs late, which was big... overall it was a great win."

After being held scoreless for three straight innings, it was the newcomer Lodise who struck lightning in a bottle. The Seminole smoked a ball into the gap at 103 mph to drive in Kane Kepley (Liberty). A few hitters prior, Tate smuggled in Silva who doubled down the first base line. The Hawks tacked on a few insurance runs to ease the pitching staff.

Tate enjoyed his best game as a Hawk on Tuesday. The Peachtree, Georgia, native went 2-for-4, drove in two RBI and made some great catches in the outfield.

On a different note, Gazdar, a two-year star player for Hyannis, made his final start for the team.

"[Gazdar] is gonna be a devastating loss for us," Karraker said. "He's a very special player... outside of what he does as a player, he just has an infectious personality in the dugout and off the field."

The super-utility man finishes his summer with two home runs, 17 RBI, 31 total bases and a .885 OPS. He will look for his name to be selected in the upcoming MLB Draft.

"Being with [Hyannis] meant the world to me," Gazdar said. "I've met a lot of amazing people, not only from this organization but from the league as a whole. Everybody that showed me love, I'm really appreciative and grateful for all of it."

The Harbor Hawks will travel back to McKeon Park on Wednesday to play the Falmouth Commodores for the third time this season. First pitch is expected at 6 p.m.

Sam Fosberg can be reached at and followed on Twitter/X @discussbaseball