Hopewell baseball coach Morgan Singletary was honest with his senior class.
With his Vikings, Class 4A’s No. 14 seed, set to face No. 3-seeded defending WPIAL champion West Mifflin Wednesday in a first-round playoff matchup, Singletary let his most veteran players know exactly what his expectations were for them.
“We’ve had a lot of inconsistency at the plate with our seniors this year,” he said. “We told them going into this year, going into the playoffs, that they are going to go as far as they take us.”
It sounds as if the message might have been received loud and clear.
Senior Stephen Slate drove in the go-ahead run with a seventh-inning single, while classmate Landon Fox conceded just one run in a complete-game gem, to lead Hopewell to a 2-1 upset victory against West Mifflin at Upper St. Clair’s Boyce-Mayview Park.
“Start of the season, we had high expectations for this team,” Singletary said. “We had trouble with consistency and trouble getting everyone going at the same time. Today we had it. If they keep going like this then the sky’s the limit.”
Fox allowed just 2 hits, with 4 hit-batsmen and 6 strikeouts for the Vikings.
“He did a great job,” Singletary said. “That’s what we expect when he’s on, and he’s been on pretty much the whole season.”
Senior Ty Eberhardt also had three hits for Hopewell (9-11).
“That’s what we need out of our seniors to be successful,” Singletary said.
West Mifflin (15-3) senior pitcher Pierson Buck worked 6 strong innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits with 1 hit-batsman and 6 strikeouts. Caden Wills was the loser for the Titans with 1 run on 2 hits in 1 inning of relief.
Hopewell advances to face No. 6-seeded North Catholic next week at a site and time to be determined.
“The regular season didn’t go quite like what we expected,” Singletary said. “This game was exactly what we expected when we came into the season with this team.”
Other Class 4A game
• North Catholic (9-10) took advantage of some wild pitching by Elizabeth Forward (7-11) to win an 11-1 decision in five innings at Plum. Junior Ryan Shantz hit a three-run double and senior Sean Dewey added an RBI triple for the Trojans. Junior pitcher Thomas Schafale scattered 8 hits, with 1 walk and 2 strikeouts in 5 innings, conceding just an RBI double to Elizabeth Forward sophomore Cy Herchelroath.
• South Carolina recruit Tyler Pitzer did it all for No. 5 South Fayette (16-4), which knocked off No. 12 Armstrong, 7-0, at North Allegheny. Pitzer pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings, striking out 8, while also going 3 for 3 at the plate with a solo home run and 2 RBIs.
• No. 6 Peters Township (14-6) scored four runs in the seventh inning to avoid an upset bid by No. 11 West Allegheny (14-7) and escape Washington & Jefferson’s Ross Memorial Park with a 5-4 victory. Senior Joey Bedillion hit a two-run single in the seventh before junior Vinnie Sarcone ended the game with an RBI single. Peters Township advances to face No. 3 Penn-Trafford (13-5-1) at a site and time to be determined.
Fox Chapel 6, Mars 4
South Fayette 7, Armstrong 0
Peters Township 5, West Allegheny 4
Upper St. Clair 9, North Hills 7
Plum 6, Trinity 3
Montour 3, Uniontown 2
Hampton 9, Ringgold 0
Latrobe 7, Kiski Area 6
Chartiers Valley 8, Central Valley 4
Hopewell 2, West Mifflin 1
North Catholic 11, Elizabeth Forward 1 (5)
Indiana 12, Laurel Highlands 4