HALLAM — The Hallam Express has seen its fair share of standout players move on from the game over the past couple of seasons.
Hall of Fame-caliber guys such as Shawn Hedrick, Jon Benchich, Jason Seitz and others have hung up their cleats in retirement recently.
Usually, that type of turnover would signal a bit of a downfall for most organizations in the Susquehanna League.
Except Hallam, of course.
Entering Sunday’s afternoon tilt against rival East Prospect, the Express was once again atop the league standings with an impressive 9-1 record. The Pistons, however, were not about to play in awe of Hallam.
Helped by some wildness from Hallam starter Tad Barton, who walked four batters in the frame, the visitors plated six runs in the third inning. Despite a three-run homer off the bat of Express shortstop Jaron Shimmel, the Pistons were able to take down the league-leaders, 7-3.
Hallam dropped to 9-2 on the season, while the Pistons made it a great weekend by winning their third game over the past two days to improve to 6-4.
“They’ve got a lot of quality guys,” East Prospect manager Mark Toomey said of Hallam. “They have some really good young kids. They have (Colby) Shimmel (who pitched a no-hitter Saturday against York Township), Alex Tucci, and then this Tad Barton kid, and that’s three good pitchers there.”
The Pistons, however, are also loaded with pitching. Sunday’s starter, Terry Godfrey, has been a dominating lefty for the past few seasons, while Hunter McVey, Brett Houseal and others are all high-level college arms who helped Prospect tie for the regular-season crown a season ago with Jacobus.
Some of those guys were unavailable until recently, which may have attributed to a slow start by Toomey’s club.
“We got some of those college guys back,” Toomey said. “So it’s starting to look up for us. At least we hope so.”
Godfrey pitched brilliantly against the Express, except for one pitch that he left up against Jaron Shimmel, who smoked the ball over the right-center fence. He did yield nine hits (eight singles), but only walked one while fanning four.
“He got into a little bit of trouble there, but he’s a gamer,” Toomey said of Godfrey. “Shimmel’s a great hitter, but he came back.”
Barton went five innings while giving up seven hits and the six runs. Brian Crumbling came on in the sixth and allowed an unearned run on two hits.
Jaron Shimmel, Angel Mattias, Zach Zambito and Tucci each stroked a pair of hits each for Hallam. Jeremy Mohr was the only Piston player with two hits, while Matt Shatto and Clayton Miller each finished with two RBIs.
Notes: Crumbling, 47, wasn’t going to pitch this year in the Susquehanna League. Entering the season with 94 career victories, the veteran is 1-0 this season so far to move within five wins of 100 for his career.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.