A team that needed to win its final section game just to make the playoffs is now a win away from playing for a state title.
Hopewell continued its improbable postseason run by upsetting Cathedral Prep, 4-2, in a PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal Thursday at Slippery Rock University.
It was a battle of district champions — WPIAL (Hopewell) and District 10 (Cathedral Prep) — but Cathedral Prep was the unquestioned favorite. The Ramblers (22-2) entered the game with just one loss and was considered one of the top teams in the state, regardless of class. But it will be Hopewell (14-11) that moves into the semifinals for the first time since winning its only title in 1986.
“We’re having a blast,” Hopewell coach Morgan Singletary said. “I’ve never seen a group this locked in. These have been intense games and they keep rolling through.”
Hopewell, the No. 14 seed in the WPIAL playoffs, won its seventh game in a row. Landon Fox, one of seven seniors on the team, was once again one of the stars. Fox pitched 6⅓ innings, giving up two runs and six hits to go along with six strikeouts. David Medich earned the save.
Fox also had a big hit offensively, as his run-scoring single in the top of the third tied the score, 1-1, and led to what would be a three-run inning. Lucas Walton followed with a gigantic hit, as his two-run single put Hopewell ahead, 3-1. Walton entered the game with five RBIs the entire season.
“It was a big hit. He’s been locked in all playoffs. He’s had a lot of great at-bats. And he found a hole with that hit,” said Singletary, whose team will meet District 6 winner Bellefonte in Monday’s semifinals.
The Vikings added an insurance run in the fourth when Ty Eberhardt tripled and Stephen Slate brought him home with a sacrifice fly.
Cathedral Prep scored its runs on Jason Fultz’s RBI single in the first and Andrew Costello’s RBI triple in the fifth.
Other Class 4A
• After winning a state playoff game for the first time Monday, WPIAL fourth-place finisher Indiana (16-11) had its season come to an end after an 11-5 loss to District 6 champion Bellefonte (18-5) at Mount Aloysius. Indiana scored three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 5-4 lead, but Bellefonte tied the score in the fourth before scoring four runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to roll to the win. In the third, Indiana got consecutive RBI triples from Gavin Homer and Ben Ryan and a run-scoring single from Garrison Dougherty, who finished 3 for 3. Homer and Nick Love had two hits apiece.
• Jake Tinnemeyer’s two-run home run sparked a three-run ninth inning and carried WPIAL champion Mt. Lebanon (15-10) to a 5-2 win against District 1 runner-up Spring-Ford (22-4) at Big Spring. Tinnemeyer snapped a 2-2 tie with his homer that cleared the left-center field fence and Matt Delvaux added a run-scoring double. Mt. Lebanon lefty David Shields gave up two hits and collected 12 strikeouts before exiting with two outs in the eighth. Tinnemeyer had an RBI single in the second to open the scoring. Tanner Donati’s sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh gave Mt. Lebanon a 2-1 lead, but Spring-Ford tied it via a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning.
• District 3 champion Cedar Cliff (20-6) scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to rally for a 2-1 win against WPIAL runner-up North Allegheny (17-8) at Mount Aloysius. After pitching five scoreless innings, North Allegheny starter J.D. Costanzo ran into trouble in the sixth when he surrendered a leadoff double to Sam Grube followed by Ayden Frey’s two-run home run. The Tigers had little success against Cedar Cliff’s Jordan Negley, who fired a two-hitter in the complete-game win. North Allegheny had taken a 1-0 lead in the third on Andrew Dougherty’s squeeze bunt that brought home David Posey.
• Miguel Hugas threw a complete game, giving up only six hits while registering six strikeouts to propel WPIAL champion Shaler (21-4) to a 4-1 win against WPIAL third-place finisher Penn-Trafford (16-7) at Gateway. Connor Hamrick notched three hits and an RBI for Shaler, which has won nine games in a row. The Titans jumped to a 2-0 lead courtesy of RBI singles from Brady Alexander in the second and Derek Leas in the third. After Penn-Trafford got on the board via Chuck Fontana’s RBI double in the fourth, Shaler tacked on two more runs in the fifth on a sacrifice from Leas and Hamrick’s run-scoring single.
• Kevin McGonigle, a projected first-round pick in July’s MLB Draft, went 3 for 3 with a home run and two RBIs to drive District 12 champion Monsignor Bonner (12-3) to a 3-1 win against two-time defending PIAA champion Bethel Park (18-6) at Big Spring. McGonigle homered off of Bethel Park ace Evan Holewinski in the first inning and added a run-scoring double in the third. Winning pitcher Harry Carr tossed six shutout innings, striking out five and walking four. Jason Nuttridge scored Bethel Park’s lone run on a fielder’s choice in the seventh. Bethel Park, the WPIAL runner-up, was trying to become the first team to win three consecutive PIAA titles.
• Christian Lucarelli gave up just one run and four hits while striking out 11 over five innings in helping WPIAL champion Riverside (23-0) remain unbeaten after a 9-3 triumph against District 10 champion Fairview (18-3) at Slippery Rock University. Riverside struck for four runs in both the first and fifth innings. Mitch Garvin and Drake Fox had RBIs in both innings, with each of Garvin’s coming on sacrifice flies. Hunter Garvin, Ashton Schlosser and Bo Fornataro each collected two hits and scored a pair of runs for Riverside, which held a 9-1 lead before Fairview scored two runs in the final inning. Fairview’s Colin Bolla had three hits, including two doubles.
• Burgettstown (16-5), the WPIAL’s third-place finisher, saw its season come to a close after coughing up a three-run lead in a 10-3 loss to District 10 champion Sharpsville (16-7) at Westminster. Burgettstown managed only three hits and scored all three of its runs with two outs in the third. Eric Kovach singled home a run and Andrew Bredel followed with a two-run triple. Carson Tkalcevic had the only other hit for the Blue Devils, who held a 3-1 lead before Sharpsville struck for five runs in the fifth and four in the sixth. Sharpsville’s Jack Leipheimer went 2 for 3 with three RBIs and pitched three scoreless innings in relief to earn the win.
Cedar Cliff 2, North Allegheny 1
Mt. Lebanon 5, Spring-Ford 2 (9)
Monsignor Bonner 3, Bethel Park 1
Shaler 4, Penn-Trafford 1
Bellefonte 11, Indiana 5
Hopewell 4, Cathedral Prep 2
Riverside 9, Fairview 3
Sharpsville 10, Burgettstown 3