MARGATE - In every pitching duel, eventually someone has to give.
Unfortunately for Hammonton's Trevor Rosenberg, on Monday it was him.
Rosenberg was cruising through the first five innings, but was chased with no outs in the sixth to end his night. Margate shelled him for five runs, taking Game 1 of the Atlantic County Baseball League finals, 5-1.
"Both of those guys have been the best 3-4 pitchers in the league for the last 10 years," Margate head coach Yogi Hiltner said of Rosenberg and Margate starter Lou Pepper.
After a perfect first two innings, Margate figured out Rosenberg to get on the board first.
Scott Evangelist led off the third with a single to left, his team's first hit. He scored three batters later on a single by Pat Goodwin to give Margate the 1-0 lead.
"It felt good to break up that no-hitter," Evangelist said. "I'm just happy I got on base to lead off that inning and get around the bases. Pat Goodwin helped us out with a nice hit up the middle to drive me home."
The wheels fell off for Rosenberg in the bottom of the sixth. Rosenberg surrendered two walks and a single before a wild pitch and back-to-back doubles by Steve Normainne and Evangelist made it a 5-0 game.
"He gave us a walk or two, and then the two nice doubles," Hiltner said. "It's a good feeling, it helps."
That was all Margate's Pepper needed to take Game 1. Pepper went the distance, allowing a run on five hits and six walks, while striking out eight.
"It always makes it easier when you're throwing with the lead," said Pepper. "So then you know it's always more fun with the lead than losing or tied."
Pepper landed himself in trouble a couple times during the game, but he worked himself out of a pair of bases-loaded jams in the second and fifth innings.
"Lou just has a way to do that," said Hiltner. "We happen to put two-hit innings twice with a walk and ended up getting our runs when they didn't. So it's a matter of timely hitting won this game."
Hammonton scored its lone run in the top of the seventh. After doubling for the second time all game, Brandon Kincaid scored on a fielder's choice by Matt Ingemi to cut the lead to 5-1.
Game 2 of the best-of-five series is set for 7 p.m. tonight in Hammonton.
"With (Hammonton's) pitching staff it's huge," said Hiltner. "It's good to jump out 1-0."
Contact John Russo:
Hammonton 000 000 1 – 1 5 0
Margate 001 004 X– 5 5 0
2B – Kincaid 2, H. Normainne, Evangelist, M. WP – Pepper. LP – Rosenberg. Records – Hammonton 19-12, Margate 27-2