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Hopewell Junior High Baseball

Hopewell Junior High Splits Double Header vs. West Allegheny

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Imperial- It was a long but successful day for the Hopewell Junior High Baseball team.

This afternoon, the Vikings traveled to take on the West Allegheny Indians in a double-header.

In Game One behind a 2-hitter from left-hander James Armstrong, Hopewell beat West A, 2-0. In the nightcap, West A. rebounded with a 12-6 victory. Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives for Hopewell.

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Here are the recaps from both games.

Game One:

The Hopewell offense got going early which was important as they were the only runs of the game.

In the Top of the 1st with 1 out, Luke Vukovcan walked and Jaxson Colvalt (who pinch ran for Vukovcan) advanced to 3rd on a sharp single to right by Armstrong. Covalt would then score when cleanup hitter Collin Davis singled to left.

Camden Hoth then walked which loaded the bases for Andrew Arzberger, who delivered with a deep sacrifice fly to left, which scored Armstrong. Hopewell led 2-0.

The rest of the game was about Armstrong pitching and his defense making plays for him.

Bottom of the first, West Allegheny put 2 on with 1 out but Armstrong retired the next two batters on strikeouts.

The Hopewell defense had a quick 1-2-3 in the 2nd inning, which included another Armstrong strikeout and a nice scoop by Arzberger on a low throw over to first.

The key moment of the game came in the bottom of the third inning as West Allegheny loaded the bases with just 1 out. However, Armstrong escaped the jam with a strikeout and Hoth fielding a ground ball and stepping on 3rd base for the force out.

Hopewell’s defense had a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the 4th as the defense fielded three grounders, including Arzberger, who had a really strong game defensively.

That took us to the 5th inning, which was the final inning, since they were playing a doubleheader.

Armstrong retired the first two batters quickly on a strikeout and a fly out to right fielder Josh Gill. However, the next hitter singled and Armstrong hit a batter with a pitch. West Allegheny was down just 2-0 with 2 runners on and two outs.

West Allegheny tried a double steal in order to get both runners in scoring position, but Vukovcan threw a strike down to third base catching the runner stealing to end the game.

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With the Game 1 win, Hopewell improved to 2-0, which surpassed their win total for the 2023 season.

Game Two:

While the first game was a pitching duel, the second game was anything but as the teams combined for 18 runs.

West Allegheny jumped out to a 12-0 lead after 3 innings and ended up winning 12-6.  Despite the score, there were plenty of positives to take away from the loss.

The biggest thing was the entire team battled for the entire game despite being down big, there was no quit. The compete level for there for the entire game.

The second biggest positive was the performance by some of the players that were getting their first extensive playing time of the young season.

As the saying goes, when your coach calls on you to play, you must be ready and that was the case with 7th graders like Aiden Ritchart, Reed Budavich, Gunner Reese and Ryan Gaguzis.

Gaguzis delivered a nice RBI single, Budavich had two very good at-bats, including a hard grounder to third which advanced two runners. Reese also had two strong at-bats, collected an RBI and made a nice play on a grounder to third. And a big shoutout to Ritchart, who impressed with his bat and glove. At the plate, Aiden stroked a hard single to centerfield for Hopewell’s first hit and would walk in his second at bat. Ritchart also provided Hoth 2 strong innings behind the plate, in his first action at catcher.

Despite trailing 12-1 going to the last inning, the Vikings didn’t quit as they scored 5 runs and had 2 runners on base for the final out of the game.

Hopewell hits in Game 2: Armstrong 1 (2-run 3B), Arzberger 1, Ritchart 1, Vukovcan 1 and Gaguzis 1.

Hopewell RBIs: Armstrong 2, Hoth 1, Reese 1 and Gaguzis 1.

One other detail to point out, West Allegheny’s team was comprised of 8th and 9th graders, while Hopewell has 7th and 8th graders.

Hopewell (2-1) is next in action (weather permitting) at home on Friday against Montour.

After the game, HSN spoke with Head Coach Nick Hoth.

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