SYCAMORE – As he crossed home plate for the second time on a Kyle Hartmann home run, Tommy Townsend’s words rang out throughout the Sycamore Park District field.
“Oh my good God,” he said as he scored Sycamore’s 11th run in a 15-0, four-inning win against Harlem.
Hartmann hit three home runs and drove in six runs, while Townsend, Jimmy Amptmann and Matthew Rosado also hit homers for the Spartans.
“It’s amazing. It’s honestly the first time I’ve ever seen a team hit that many home runs,” Hartmann said. “It’s going to be a great year, and that was just a great start with a great day outside.”
Teague Hallahan and Joey Puleo combined for a one-hit shutout, and Hartmann provided the duo all they’d need in the first inning. Townsend drew a walk with two outs, then Hartmann launched a blast to left-center field for a 2-0 lead.
“I was trying to see a fastball and was swinging at pitches over my head. Got down to two strikes, had to shorten it up, and took the leg kick out and tried to drive the ball to the opposite field and it went out.”— Kyle Hartmann
Amptmann and Rosado added singles, but neither could score. But it resulted in a long inning for Harlem starter Elijah Skidmore after he retired the first two Spartans (3-0) on flyouts to the warning track.
“Then Tommy gets walked and Kyle immediately makes them pay with two runs,” Sycamore coach Jason Cavanaugh said. “That’s just a back-breaker for a team when you get to two outs quickly like that, then it ended up being a 45-pitch inning for their starter.”
In the second, the Spartans scored twice on a single by Owen Piazza. Then Towsend launched a blast just to the right of center field. Hartmann followed with his second blast of the day to almost the same spot.
Amptmann made it three bombs in a row with a shot to left-center to push the lead to 9-0 after two innings.
“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s my 29th year of coaching baseball, and I’ve never seen it. I was talking to their coach who’s been at it 20-plus years, and he’s never seen it, either. It’s different if you’re playing in a small ballpark, too – Rochelle or even Geneva or someplace like that. But today there were no cheapies in the bunch.”
Hartmann added a three-run blast in the third, the last time the Spartans would bat against the Huskies (2-3). After Amptmann doubled, Rosado homered.
Sycamore hits two balls on the ground all day, the first time being when Addison Peck, in the 27th plate appearance of the day for the Spartans, reached on an error. Two batters later Piazza grounded out to end the third.
To add to the degree of difficulty, the third homer run by Hartmann came with two strikes. It didn’t stop him for his first three home-run game - he said he hadn’t even hit two in a game before at any level.
“I was trying to see a fastball and was swinging at pitches over my head,” Hartmann said. “Got down to two strikes, had to shorten it up, and took the leg kick out and tried to drive the ball to the opposite field and it went out.”
Cavanaugh said Hartmann is a fearless hitter.
“He’s not afraid of anything,” Cavanaugh said. “There’s no velocity that’s too fast for him as far as we’ve seen. Nothing is too slow for him. He has such a simple approach at the plate that lends itself toward hard contact. I don’t know about three homers in a game, but he made the ballpark look small today.”
Hallahan struck out four and walked three in his two innings of work. Puleo pitched two perfect innings and struck out the side in the fourth to end the game.
“We gave up one hit the whole game, and that was like an excuse-me swing by the first batter of the game,” Cavanaugh said. “There was a little bit of control problems, but you get that once in a while with Teague. We wanted to make sure we got him out on a dirt mound early in the season so maybe he can work through some of those things. Because we expect he’s going to be one of our top guys this year.”