by Dakota Antelman
In a fourth inning that witnessed 14 Hawk hitters come to the plate, senior shortstop Ben Palatino acquired not one but two hits. The second of those hits served as the 100th of his high school career and kicked off a 9-0 beat down of the North Middlesex Patriots.
Palatino announced his 100th hit with a bang, ringing the ball off the left field wall for a stand up double. As his teammates cheered, Palatino gave a fist pump to Hudson fans.
“It was great,” he said. “I’ve been working for it since my freshmen year and to finally get it is a huge accomplishment. But it’s a team sport, so I gotta give a shout-out to my teammates.”
Palatino went 3 for 3, with a stolen base and two RBIs on Monday night. He, like so many other Hawks, took advantage of an admittedly lackadaisical Patriot pitching staff. After fighting with North Middlesex in a pitchers duel for the first three innings, Hudson piled on 9 runs in the fourth inning. They went to bat a total of 14 times and notched six hits in that inning alone.
“It was their second time up, and it seemed like he, our pitcher, was missing his spots,” North Middlesex coach Tom Barttleson said after the loss. “You get a team like that, you make a couple mistakes and they’re gonna make you pay for it.”
After Adam Colbert hit a fly ball out to right field to start the inning, Hudson capitalized on Patriot Brendan Twomey’s mistakes. Each of their next seven batters reached base. Twomey walked three Hawks and struck out just one in the fourth inning. Eventually, nine batters after the inning began, Colbert came back to the plate and this time drove in two runs with a single to left field.
“We finally started jumping on those strikes,” Palatino explained of the fourth inning outburst. “We were looking at a lot of pitches through those first three innings. On my hit, I just saw a first pitch fastball and tried to put it in the outfield and drive in DJ [Panneton].”
Both before and after the nine-run fourth inning though, pitcher Kyle Sullivan helped keep the Patriots in check. He finished the evening with a school record 18 strikeouts and added to a 2015 resume that already boasts a no-hitter.
“Every time he goes out there, he has the potential to do something special,” Coach Tim Reinhardt said of Sullivan. “That’s how talented he is. We’re just happy to have him throwing for us. That’s a kid who has put in a lot of work and who has earned every accolade he has gotten.”
He allowed just two hits on Monday and maintained a bid for a no hitter through the fourth inning.
The sentiment of earning and celebrating accolades was widespread for the Hawks on Monday night. Though their academic year ends on Wednesday, the seniors of the Hudson baseball team are devoted to getting back to the playoffs in 2015 and making memories in their final season.
“It means everything,” Palatino reiterated. “This has been my life for the last four years. Hopefully we can keep it rolling and get a state championship.”