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David Medich Excited for His New Role with the Hopewell High School Baseball Team



Being the person to replace a star player is never an easy task.

The comparisons and the pressure are difficult for professional athletes, let alone high school athletes.

When you look back at the Hopewell 2023 WPIAL Championship baseball team, there’s no doubt that starting pitcher Landon Fox was the conductor of that Hopewell train.

The big right-hander was named the Pittsburgh Tribune Review 2023 Class 4A Player of the Year after finishing the season with a 7-1 record with a 2.69 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings.

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The obvious question entering this season was: Who would step up to the front of the rotation and lead head coach Morgan Singletary’s team?

There’s not one player to answer that question, as it will be a group effort this season due to relative inexperience. While that may not sound reassuring, it actually is because this Hopewell roster is filled with a lot of really good arms. This means Singletary has plenty of options for any given day.

If you followed the championship run, the obvious choice would be sophomore right-hander Kingston Krotec, who teamed with Fox in the playoffs to give Hopewell a dynamic 1-2 punch. Sophomore left-hander Ben McDonald, who throws gas, will also be in the mix. However, the player that’s literally moved from the back of the staff to the very front is junior David Medich.

Courtesy Kingston Krotec

When I referred to Medich moving from the back of the staff to the front, that’s because last season Coach Singletary used Medich in the bullpen as the teams closer.  A year later, things have changed, and this coaching staff no doubt wants to take advantage and show Medich’s power arm for more than an inning.  Going back to the topic of the pressure trying to replace a star, there’s not a person more suited to do this than Medich, considering his calm, yet confident personality.

Hopewell Sports Nation had the pleasure of talking with David on Tuesday evening and we spoke about his role reversal along with an advantage that he has, that not many players have.

“I definitely like the role of starting more,” said Medich. “Being able to close games was nice but whatever the current situation was, I had to come into. As a closer, I didn’t have total control of things which is why I really like the role of being a starter.”

“I also like that I know when I’m going to be pitching. It’s almost a different game knowing when you’re going to be pitching as you’re able to look ahead and really prepare. As a closer, you’re there cheering on your team and at any moment, coach can say, ‘Are you ready?’ You have to be ready and get in there right away and go.”

Along with being more prepared, Medich also mentioned that the pitches he uses are different as a starter compared to a closer.

“Definitely when I was closing, I was throwing mostly curveballs because I think it’s easier only facing a hitter once as opposed to being a starter, where you’ll face a hitter multiple times and he’s seen your pitches. Being a starter, you have to develop more pitches and have more control over what you’re doing because a batter could be seeing you 2 or 3 times.”

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Something that helped Medich was that the switch to a starter didn’t come as a surprise as it was something that was brought up at the close of the season.

“At the end of the season and in the summer, coach told me about switching to a starter for next season,” said Medich. “Knowing this, the only change that I really made was developing a slider to give me another pitch to be able to throw. The other big thing was working on endurance and being able to throw more pitches (in a game). Instead of throwing 10-20 pitches a game, now I have to be able to throw 80-90 a game.”

Making all of these changes isn’t easy for a high school player but Medich has a resource that not many players can call upon- a family member that pitched in the major leagues.

David’s grandfather is George “Doc” Medich. “Doc” played college baseball at the University of Pittsburgh before being drafted by the New York Yankees in the 30th round of the 1970 MLB Draft. After spending 3 seasons in the minors going 21-13 with a 2.27 ERA, Dr. Medich got the callup to the big in September of 1972.

George Medich Autographed 1976 Topps Card

In his first full professional season in 1973, Dr. Medich went 14-9 with a 2.95 ERA and finished 3rd in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting. During his 10-year MLB career, Dr. Medich compiled a career record of 124-105 with an ERA of 3.78. Along with the Yankees, “Doc” also pitched for the Pirates, Oakland, Seattle, NY Mets, Texas and Milwaukee.

For a kid trying to be a pitcher, to have a family member with these credentials, has to be invaluable. If you go to the Hopewell games, you’ll see “Doc” sitting at the top of the hill with his customary toothpick in his mouth. I asked David the impact that his grandfather has had on him.

“He definitely helped me a lot when I was younger,” said Medich. “Telling me the things that I need to learn in order to be a pitcher. Showing me how to throw different pitches, telling you what to do to get your arm strength up, arm care and what I need to be doing after games and pre-game routine. Now a days, he just wants to be there to watch me play. He’s not critiquing as much now and just wants to watch me throw.”

“All the time (seeking out this advice), he’ll give me different things that I can work on or that he notices. One of the big things is with runners on base, changing up your timing when you’re in the stretch so they can’t steal on you.”

Talking with David, you can tell the pride in his voice when talking about his grandfather and having his guidance over the years is something that he doesn’t take for granted.

“I think about it all time (how lucky he is). I’m so blessed to be in the position that I am and to have all the necessary resources that I need to succeed,” said Medich. “Whether he was out there helping me in the backyard, giving me advice when I needed it, being honest and telling me how I’m doing definitely helps.”

Courtesy David Medich

David and his Hopewell teammates will be back on the field today as the Vikings host Keystone Oaks. First pitch is set for 4 PM.

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