The second time was the charm in the Carpenter Cup for Lenape’s senior catcher, Cade Hunter.
Burlington County held a 3-2 lead over Lehigh Valley in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday when Hunter arrived in the batter’s box for his second at-bat of the day. In a tournament of all-star teams who rotate their rosters each game, players have to make the most of every opportunity they get on the field, and Hunter did just that.
A year removed from Burlington County’s 7-2 loss to Olympic-Colonial in the Carpenter Cup final, Hunter smashed an RBI double to the center-field warning track at Citizens Bank Park, capping a 4-2 victory. Burlington County won its fourth title overall, its first since 2012.
“It was huge, it gave us a bit of leeway," Hunter said. “It was big, there was a lot of excitement going on, and I’m glad that’s how it turned out.”
The success on a big stage is nothing new for Hunter, who was selected in the 35th round of last week’s draft by the Colorado Rockies. Despite the opportunity to join the professional ranks, Hunter has committed to play baseball at Virginia Tech next year.
Trenton Catholic sophomore Jedier Hernandez knocked in the go-ahead run with a double to score Rancocas Valley senior Elijah Dickerson.
Although he gave his team some breathing room late in the game, Hunter made a baserunning error that could have cost Burlington County more runs. After Hunter’s double, Trenton Catholic junior Ali Pompey singled, but Hunter overran third base and was caught in a rundown for the first out. Pompey advanced to second, but reliever Evan Zwolenik got out of the inning without further damage.
The game was close throughout, but each time that Lehigh Valley put runs on the board, Burlington County doubled its effort. In the top of the fourth inning, Brian Horoshko opened the scoring for Lehigh Valley with an RBI single to bring home Blake Barthol, who had doubled.
In the bottom of the fourth, Lehigh Valley’s Ryan King gave up RBI doubles to Shawnee senior Joey Moore and Pennsauken junior Robby Barrientos, giving Burlington County a 2-1 lead.
Stroudsburg’s Ben Stokes tied the score at 2 with an RBI double in the eighth, but a Burlington County double play ruined Lehigh Valley’s momentum.
“We have confidence in our middle infield, and we knew that they would get it done if we got a ground ball,” Hunter said of the double play. “That’s what happened, and we knew right from the ground ball that it was going to be two."
Rancocas Valley pitcher Bryce Mangene, a graduate who is committed to play baseball at Penn, turned away Lehigh Valley in order in the top of the ninth, and the title was Burlington County’s.