By GIUSEPPE UNGARO
Beau Hall and Kyle Andrews are forever linked because of their success on the baseball diamond — a partnership that began on the Upper Township Little League fields seven years ago.
This season, the senior ace pitchers led Ocean City High School to a school record 20-game winning streak and a program-best 23 wins.
The hard-throwing right-handers will get to play at least one more game together, as members of the Tri-Cape team in the Carpenter Cup, an elite showcase hosted by the Philadelphia Phillies that features the top players from the Delaware Valley.
The Red Raiders duo is part of a team made up of all-stars from the Tri-County Conference and the Cape-Atlantic League. The team’s first game is Tuesday at 9 a.m. against Berks County (Pa.) at FDR Park’s Ashburn Field in South Philadelphia.
The Tri-Cape roster also includes Troy Dixon of Egg Harbor Township, Robert Bunton of Buena Regional, Don Money of Vineland, Cedar Creek’s Chris Newman, Doug Schwartz of Middle Township, Millville’s Kyle Cox and four players from St. Augustine: Chris Oakley, Barry Buchowski, Mike Elfreth and Christian Adorno.
“I’m definitely really excited about it, especially having teammate Kyle Andrews also selected to the Carpenter Cup,” said Hall, who played in last year’s Carpenter Cup. “I looked at the roster and we’ve got a lot of good guys this year. Hopefully, we make it far and have the opportunity to play in Citizens Bank Park.”
“I just want to go out there and prove that I deserve to be on that field and show them what I’ve got,” said Andrews, who also plays shortstop when he’s not pitching.
Having already experienced the Carpenter Cup, Hall, an outfielder when he’s not on the mound, was quick to give Andrews advice about the tournament.
“I told him you have to go out and give it everything you can,” Hall said. “There are a lot of college coaches there. It’s a good experience to play in front of a good crowd with good players and a couple pro scouts there. You have to give it your best.”
Giving each other advice, baseball tips or encouragement is something that comes easily for the long-time friends and teammates. It is a friendship that began in Little League. The pair continued to improve at each level, eventually becoming one of the best one-two punches in Ocean City baseball history.
They accounted for more than half the team’s wins this season. Hall was 6-2 with a 0.79 ERA and Andrews posted a 6-1 mark with a 1.04 ERA.
“This season we helped each other in multiple ways, from swinging the bat a different way to competing against each other because we are both good at pitching,” explained Andrews, who expects to play for Neumann University. “We compete for the top spot, pushing each other, but it is a good competition.”
“This year was really big. We fed off each other,” said Hall, who received a scholarship to play at Georgetown University. “We throw bullpen (sessions) together before our starts. We are actually really good friends so that helps a lot. If I had a bad bullpen or a bad day, he would suggest some things or vice-versa. We helped each other a lot this year.”
There may be a competition between the two, but it’s a friendly one. They both root for each other to shine on the mound and at the plate.
“He has always been a nutty, crazy kid, but he always had a good work ethic in baseball,” Hall said of Andrews. “He is a bulldog. He throws pretty hard and he has a couple secondary pitches that are great. His head is always in it, and he will do anything for the team to get the ‘W.’”
“Beau is big, tough and strong-hearted,” Andrews said. “He never gives up, and is just a good kid. We played baseball with each other our whole life and I’m happy we can end our high school careers with (at least) one last game with the best players in South Jersey, the best players in the state.”
If the Tri-Cape team wins its first game in the single-elimination format, the team will play on Friday at 2:30 p.m. against either SOL American/Continental or Philadelphia Catholic. The semifinals are on Monday, June 24 and the championship game is Tuesday at 10 a.m. Both the semifinals and finals will be played at the Phillies’ home stadium, Citizens Bank Park.