MARGATE - Seeing the final out on Wednesday was a huge relief for Margate head coach Yogi Hiltner.
Margate completed its dominance of the 2013 Atlantic County Baseball League season, winning its 21st straight game and its second straight league title with a 4-0 victory over Hammonton - earning a sweep in the best-of-five game series.
"It's a relief. What a long year," Hiltner said. "There's pressure on us. We have a high standard and winning is the best, but sometimes it's taxing on us. Strike three. Game over. Happy."
It was also Margate's seventh championship in the last eight years, and 20th title since 1981.
"It's really hard to rank the teams in the past," Hiltner said.
"I've had so many great players though. A lot of (players) were here tonight from the past. And it's a good squad. A very good hitting squad, very good pitching squad."
Margate put the ball in Doug Hiltner's hand for Game 3 and he delivered a championship effort. Hiltner, Yogi's son, pitched a complete-game shutout, scattering four hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out nine.
"I think I did pretty well," Doug Hiltner said. "I threw a lot of strikes, that was the key part. Those guys can hit.
"I kept them off balance for a little bit with the off-speed stuff. I threw a lot of fastballs. But my main thing was getting ahead in the count. I had a couple bad innings where I threw a couple walks. But I think I did pretty well."
Hammonton starter Steve Melchiorre pitched in his third straight game. The fatigue in his right arm definitely showed as Margate jumped on him early.
Margate lead off the game with three straight singles to go up 1-0.
The second inning began with a lead-off triple from Steve Normane. Four batters later, Dave Housel drove in Normane and Pat Goodwin with a double to give Margate a 3-0 lead.
Margate added another run in the fourth off Melchiorre. Goodwin singled home Tom Bradway to make it a 4-0 game.
"That's the best part about it," Doug Hiltner said. "These guys let me know as long as I can hold (Hammonton) down I know we can score five to 10 runs so it's just nice pitching behind that hitting."
Melchiorre put forth a gutsy effort, throwing a complete game for Hammonton, allowing four runs in six innings.
"That was about as impressive as it gets," Hammonton head coach Sam Rodio said of Melchiorre. "This was his third day in a row. He threw 20-something (pitches) on Monday, 50 last night and over 100 tonight. He was probably getting sharper as the game went on. That was just as gutsy as it gets. He's a tough a kid."
Contact John Russo:
Hammonton 000 000 0 – 0 4 1
Margate 001 004 X– 4 9 0
2B - Housel, M. 3B - Normane, M.
WP - Hiltner. LP - Melchiorre.
Records - Hammonton 19-14, Margate 29-2