Margate took Game 1 in the best-of-three Atlantic County Baseball League semifinals, beating Ventnor 8-2 on Monday.
Lou Pepper earned the win for Margate, allowing only two runs, one earned, on five hits, two walks and striking out nine.
"Well it's better to be up one than down one," head coach Yogi Hiltner said. "We're in Ventnor tomorrow. They're throwing their ace (Brett Kennedy) and we're going with Jared Lenko, who is 7-1 on the season. But they have to beat us twice now."
Trailing 4-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Ventnor's Andrew DiPasquale followed up a pair of singles by Juan Mejia, who had three hits, and Junior Mejia to drive them both in to cut the Margate lead in half, 4-2.
But Margate answered with a four-run inning in the bottom half of the fourth sparked by a two-run single by Pat Goodwin as well as an RBI from Doug Hiltner.
Steve Normaine homered for Margate as well.
Hammonton 5, Abesecon 3: Further information wasn't available Monday night.