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HSN Talks With Hopewell HC Morgan Singletary About the Hopewell 2024 Baseball Season

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Although the weather doesn’t feel like it, today is the official start of the high school baseball season.

This afternoon, the Hopewell Vikings will host Shenango in the 2024 Season Opener. First pitch is set for 4 PM over at Hopewell High School.

When it comes to the high school baseball program, Hopewell always has high expectations and that’s especially true this season, as they’ll be looking to repeat as WPIAL 4A Champions.

Winning back-to-back championships is never easy for any team at any level and that’s especially true when that team loses a bunch of seniors as the Vikings did following the 2023 season. While it’ll be difficult, one thing is for certain, this group of players have put in the work during the offseason to get better and put themselves in position to once again be a contender in 4A.

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The first chapter of their 2024 story begins today and the entire Hopewell team is ready to get things started.

On Monday, Hopewell Sports Nation had the chance to sit-down and talk with Hopewell Head Coach Morgan Singletary and discussed a number of topics. The first of which was how the coaching staff has addressed the team throughout the offseason on the topic of putting last season’s special season in the rear-view mirror and trying to create a new identity in 2024.

“We’ve had conversations about it, we actually started those a while ago when we started our workouts and started our lifts,” Singletary told HSN. “It’s one of those things where, last year was great but those were moments and moments are just moments. Everything after that is working for the next year. We enjoyed it, we enjoyed the championship, it was unexpected, so it was a fun one for that reason. Since then, we’ve really put in the work the whole offseason. These kids have worked hard. Alot of it has been focusing on ourselves and getting ourselves better and making sure that each individual is improving. But now that we’re at the start of the season, we’re getting more towards the team and making sure the team is ready for what we need to do and that includes each of the players focused on what they need to get done and making sure they’re going through the correct process.”

No matter the sport, no matter the age level, a big job of a coach is to find a way to motivate or light a fire under their team. Knowing that they’re going to be the hunted this season, motivation is something that Singletary doesn’t feel will be a problem for this group of kids.

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“It really depends on the group of kids,” said Singletary. “I think this year, we’re in an interesting situation because our regular season last year wasn’t great. All the teams that competed for the section championship, they all beat us. So, it wasn’t a situation where we were running through everyone and then we ended up winning the championship. I think it’s going to be more of a situation where they beat us in the regular season, Montour and Blackhawk beat us twice, and we ended up winning a championship. So, they’re probably thinking a lot of we’re better than that team, it should have been us. It might be more of them wanting to make a statement more than beating us.”

“Either way, our guys are going to have to be ready. We do have a younger team this year, we graduated a lot so, it’s going to be about sticking to what we’re doing. There’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs, there’s going to be young mistakes made. It’s going to be a matter of sticking to the process, making sure they go back to the process. In terms of motivation, I don’t know that I need to motivate them as much. They’ve put in the work and that’s what I’ll fall back on throughout the year. You put in all this work before this, let’s at least make it difficult for everyone that plays us.”

As Singletary mentioned, his team this year will be young but some returning members did have key roles last season and he’s excited to see how this group of talent develops and how long it takes them to do so.

“I’m excited to see them go out there perform and compete,” said Singletary. “I think we have a lot of competitors, so it’s going to be fun to see that applied to games that aren’t against ourselves, games that have meaning to them. I think our pitching is going to be our strong point. We have a couple of pitchers coming back, a couple of young guys that seem to be doing well, although it’s hard to tell when you’re throwing inside and the limited time in the scrimmages. But we are expecting our pitching to be pretty strong and our defense to be pretty strong. I think the biggest question mark will be our hitting and where our offense comes from. Honestly, I think we know that so we can adjust to that going into the season.”

As far as the offense, it could be a matter of growing through some early growing pains and letting these players get some games in and see improvement throughout the season. Patience will be a key.

“I definitely think there’s going to be some early growing pains. I think they’re going to have to get used to the speed of everything, the velocity in which the pitchers are throwing, it’s just a different game. Some of the kids have experience with it and they’ll be looking to take the next step this year while some of the kids will be seeing varsity pitching for the first time. It’s just going to be a matter of how quickly they adjust to it. We’ll take all of that into account, knowing that they’re going to be young and it’s going to be a matter of who can adjust quickest. We’ll adjust from there in terms of where the offense is going.”

No announcement of the Opening Day pitchers today but three guys that the Vikings will be relying on will be sophomore RHP Kingston Krotec, RHP David Medich and LHP Ben McDonald.

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