HAMMONTON - Margate's Troy Dixon wanted to erase his poor base-running mistake back in the fourth inning.
Driving in the game-tying runs for his team was the best way to do that Tuesday night.
A game-tying two-run single by Dixon followed by a two-run single from Dan Coia sparked the four-run seventh inning that propelled Margate to a 6-4 comeback win over Hammonton in Game 2 of the Atlantic County Baseball League finals.
"It was pretty big, you know. I just wanted to go up there and have a short swing," Dixon said.
With the win, Margate takes a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five championship series. Margate can win its 11th ACBL title in the last 14 years at 7 p.m. tonight at its home field on Jerome Avenue.
With the bases loaded, Dixon blooped a single over the head of shortstop Shawn Park to tie the game at 4-4. Two batters later, a hard single by Coia broke the tie, giving Margate the lead and the eventual victory.
"Against a pitcher like (Steve) Melchiorre we won't get many chances like that," said Margate head coach Yogi Hiltner. "He had a flair hit that he gave up. It broke him a little bit. Then he walked Doug (Hiltner), and then Coia's been hitting well all night."
In the second inning, Margate took the early lead again against Hammonton and starter Brad Mountain. After a lead-off single and stolen base, Scott Evangelist scored on an RBI single by Steve Normainne to make it a 1-0 game.
Through the first three innings it was starting to look a lot like Monday's game for the Hammonton bats. Margate starter Jared Lenko got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, settling into what looked like a dominant start.
But Hammonton came alive in the fourth, thanks to the glove, arm and bat of Mike Crescenzo.
With runners on first and second for Margate, Crescenzo made a sliding catch in center field to make the second out. He popped up and fired back to second to catch Dixon napping on the base paths to end the inning.
"I actually thought there were two outs," Dixon said. "I needed to make up for it, especially for Yogi."
Crescenzo's inning wasn't done. He lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to left field to tie the game up 1-1.
The blast opened the doors to a three-run inning for Hammonton. Park snapped his 0-for-6 slump in the series with a two-run seeing-eye single to the right side of the infield to make it a 3-1 game.
Margate had a chance to get some offense back in the top of the fifth. But with the bases loaded and one out, Normainne grounded into an inning-ending double play to get Mountain out of the jam.
Hammonton scored again in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Frank Galeota to make it a 4-2 game.
But Margate proved its toughness by tagging Hammonton's Steve Melchiorre for four runs in the seventh to cap off the comeback win.
"I felt we had a good shot coming in, and then we had a lead like that and you have to win that game," said Hammonton head coach Sam Rodio, who before the game talked about avoiding dropping Game 2.
"It's crushing. We thought we were in a good spot bringing Melchiorre in. He didn't make bad pitches, but they hit. They made it happen. It's real tough."
Notes: Hammonton fell to 19-13 on the season, while Margate improved to 28-2. It was Margate's 20th straight win.
Contact John Russo:
Margate 010 001 4 – 6 10 2
Hammonton 000 301 0– 4 6 2
2B - Housel, M. . HR - Dixon, M. Crescenzo, H.
WP - Lenko. LP - Melchiorre.
Records - Hammonton 19-13, Margate 28-2