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‘Winners Win’, Hopewell Baseball Comes Back from Huge Deficit to Beat Ambridge and Qualify for WPIAL Playoffs

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HOPEWELL TWP- Two things that you can say about the Hopewell Baseball team: they perform well under pressure, and they know how to win important games.

Midway through today’s game against Ambridge, those couple things certainly looked in doubt however and the only people that truly believed Hopewell would come back were the players and coaches in the dugout.

Guess what? That’s all that mattered because despite trailing 8-0 and then 11-10 in extra innings, Morgan Singletary’s squad continued to battle and defeated Ambridge in dramatic fashion, 12-11 in 8 innings. With the win, Hopewell qualified for playoffs and earned an opportunity to defend their WPIAL 4A Championship.

We’re going to pick the game up in bottom of the 3rd inning as Hopewell trailed 8-0 and things certainly looked bleak.

However, Hopewell was able to put up 8 runs as they took advantage of a few Bridger errors and a lot of walks.

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Kingston Krotec led off the inning and reached on an error and he then scored on a double to left field by John Vescio. Like Krotec, McDonald reached second on a second Ambridge error. After that, Charlie Smetana drew a walk, and with the bases loaded. Logan Triscila was hit by a pitch to bring in run No. 2. Next up, Drew Donovan walked which scored McDonald. Lucas Walton walked, which scored pinch runner Carter Kokoskie. Tyler Triscila walked, which scored his brother, Logan. Zach Gigliotti walked, which brought in Donovan. Krotec, batted for the second time in the inning and singled to center field, scoring Walton. After Hopewell grounded into a double play, we had a brand-new ball game with the score now tied at 8 all.

A key moment of the game happened when Coach Singletary called up sophomore left-hander Ben McDonald. Normally, McDonald is Hopewell’s closer but because Krotec and Emmet McCowin were used earlier and ace David Medich wasn’t available, Singletary went to McDonald.

Looking back, that move allowed Hopewell to stay in the game and in the end, win it.

McDonald had his best outing of the season, going a season-high 4.1 innings, allowing 3 runs and striking out 3 batters. Ben pitched a season-high 88 pitches, with 56 of them being strikes.

The game was tied at 8 going to the Top of the 5th when Ambridge went back on top with a 2-run HR to take a 10-8 lead.

Hopewell entered the last inning trailing by 2 runs and needed some late inning magic.

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Logan Triscila led off the 7th and reached on an Ambridge error. Then it was time for one of Hopewell’s few seniors to produce a lifetime memory.

Lucas Walton step up and on the first pitch, drilled a home run to deep left field to tie the game at 10. The Hopewell dugout was ecstatic while Ambridge was stunned.

Coach Singletary then called upon a freshman in a high-pressure situation as he brought in freshman Jake Knobloch to pitch the 8th inning with the game tied and qualifying for the playoffs on the line.

Knobloch allowed an unearned run, but it could have been much worse. After going up 11-10, Ambridge had runners at 2nd and 3rd with just 1 out. However, Knobloch buckled down and got a ground ball to third and a fly out to Walton in center.

Once again, Hopewell came to the plate needing to score in order to extend their season and qualify for the playoffs.

Vescio came to the plate first and reached base on another Ambridge error. That was followed by a full-count walk to McDonald. With 2 on and 0 out, after initially trying to advance the runners over by bunting, Smetana laced a single to left field, which scored Vescio and the game was tied at 11. After Logan Triscilla was intentionally walked to load the bases and with 1 out, it was time for Walton to be the hero again.

On the first pitch, Walton singled to right field scoring McDonald and giving Hopewell the 12-11 win.

Celebration ensued as Hopewell now has the opportunity to defend their WPIAL Championship.

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