Palka and Hyde’s championship with Wareham capped a title-filled summer for Tech’s baseball program, which also saw four other Yellow Jackets win a championship in the Valley Baseball League, and a number of incoming freshmen play on the East Cobb Yankees’ Perfect Game national championship squad.
It also marked the second-consecutive season a Yellow Jacket claimed a Cape Cod Baseball League championship as former Jacket – and MVP of the 2012 ACC Championship – Jake Davies played on the Harwich Mariners’ 2011 CCBL title team.
Down 5-3 in the top of the ninth with one out in Friday’s decisive game of the three-game CCBL championship series, Palka singled and then Hyde hit a dramatic, game-tying two-run home run that silenced the crowd of 4,250 at Red Wilson Field in South Yarmouth, Mass.
“If you put the ball in play, especially in this little ballpark, some things are going to happen,” Hyde told the Cape Cod Times following the game. “Game-changers.”
Wareham won it with three more runs in the top of the 10th to beat the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, 8-6, in the final game of the three-game series.
Hyde and Palka also delivered earlier in the postseason. In the West Division playoffs, Hyde hit another two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning (again with Palka on base) to lift the Gatemen to a two-game sweep and an 8-6 win over the Bourne Braves. Hyde was 3-for-4 with a two-run triple, also with Palka on base.
In the first game of the league championship series, after Wareham fell behind 4-1 early, Palka homered in the fourth to make it 4-2. In the seventh, Hyde walked, stole second and scored to make it 4-3, before Palka’s RBI tied it in the eighth, as Wareham rallied to beat Yarmouth-Dennis, 5-4.
Aided by Palka’s and Hyde’s late-game magic, seven of Wareham’s final 11 games played were come-from-behind wins.
For the season, Hyde hit .281 with 26 RBI in 44 games. Palka hit .272 with 11 home runs (tied for third in the league) and 35 RBI (tied for fifth).
Hyde is coming off his sophomore season at Georgia Tech in which he hit .266 with seven home runs, 33 RBIs and 11 doubles.
He also had 10 steals as the Jackets went on a late-season surge that included going 4-0 in Greensboro, N.C. to win the ACC Championship after qualifying for the ACC Tournament on the final day of the regular season.
Hyde was a multi-time member of the RN-T All-Area Team in high school.