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WMass Division 4 baseball: Hopkins Academy rallies, Morrison shuts door on Ware in semifinals

  • Hopkins Academy's Jonathan Morrison, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring against Ware June 13, 2018 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys baseball semifinal game at UMass' Earl Lorden Field. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Jack Feltovic runs to first base June 13, 2018 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys baseball semifinal game against Ware at UMass' Earl Lorden Field. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Justin Butterfield, left, and Nathan Kelley, right, congratulate teammate Jack Feltovic after he scored against Ware June 13, 2018 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys baseball semifinal game at UMass' Earl Lorden Field. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Jack Feltovic, right, celebrates after crossing home plate to score against Ware June 13, 2018 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys baseball semifinal game at UMass' Earl Lorden Field. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Justin Butterfield pitches against Ware June 13, 2018 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys baseball semifinal game at UMass' Earl Lorden Field. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Jack Feltovic eyes the ball June 13, 2018 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys baseball semifinal game against Ware at UMass' Earl Lorden Field. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Noah Scanlon Dean crosses home plate to score against Ware June 13, 2018 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys baseball semifinal game at UMass' Earl Lorden Field. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Jonathan Morrison, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring against Ware June 13, 2018 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys baseball semifinal game at UMass' Earl Lorden Field. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Justin Butterfield, left, runs past Ware catcher Travis Orszulak to score June 13, 2018 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys baseball semifinal game at UMass' Earl Lorden Field. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



For the Gazette
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

AMHERST — When Hopkins Academy senior Justin Butterfield stepped up to bat with one out in the bottom of the sixth, it was an opportunity for the top-seeded Golden Hawks to break away from No. 4 Ware.

“We’ve been in that position where we’re down runs early on and we always seem to battle back,” Butterfield said.

The first pitch Butterfield saw from Ware reliever Pat Krol was sent down the right field line for a two-run double that broke a tie. Butterfield later scored on a wild pitch to cap the inning.

In the seventh, Hopkins senior ace Jon Morrison relieved Butterfield and struck out the side to clinch the 10-7 win, Wednesday at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field.

The Golden Hawks (16-4) advanced to the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament finals against defending state champion St. Mary’s (15-7).

St. Mary’s beat Hopkins 7-1 in the WMass semifinals last season. Morrison no-hit the Saints in a 2-0 regular season loss in 2017.

The championship game will be played Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Lorden Field.

Ware (13-9) couldn’t hold on to a 4-0 first-inning lead.

“Even though it sucks to be down 4-0 before you’ve even swung, I had a lot of confidence in this team,” Vreeland said. “It’s a gritty bunch and you can’t ever give up hope.”

Ware kicked off the scoring with back-to-back triples from Devin Slattery and Krol, followed by an RBI single from Cam Brown. The Indians finished the first inning with a two-run bloop single from Dillon Slattery.

As the Golden Hawks ran to the dugout for the bottom of the first, Vreeland spoke with his team to try and get his team back on the right track.

“I said, “Hey, we know we’re better than this,” Vreeland said.

Vreeland then looked to his starter, Butterfield, and let him know he wasn’t worried with the way he was throwing.

“All I said to Butterfield was, ‘You’re pitching well, keep pitching well.’ There’s nothing wrong with the way he was throwing in any inning, and if he hadn’t thrown as many pitches as he had, I’d probably have sent him out for the seventh,” Vreeland said.

Butterfield settled down and finished with seven strikeouts over six innings, allowing seven runs on 10 hits and three walks.

“Just gotta relax and pitch,” Butterfield said to himself after the rough first.

Hopkins battled back immediately when sophomore Noah Scanlon-Dean hit a two-out two-run double to cut the lead in half.

In the third, Ware added RBI singles from Devin Dulak and Travis Orszalak to take a 6-2 lead.

Hopkins responded again in the bottom of the inning. Senior Mike Curran knocked in Morrison and Butterfield with a bases-loaded single. Senior Nate Kelley dropped a suicide squeeze in the next at-bat, scoring Scanlon-Dean to cut the lead to 6-5.

“We started off great. We had six runs in three innings, we were rolling,” Ware coach Scott Slattery said. “I could slowly feel the momentum going their way.”

The Golden Hawks stayed hot as RBI singles from Morrison and Scanlon-Dean gave them their first lead, 7-6, in the fourth.

In the top of the sixth, Krol scored from first on a hit-and-run single by Brown to tie the game, but Hopkins’ offense had another rally left.

“They’re the best hitting team I’ve ever coached by a mile,” Vreeland said.

The Golden Hawks coach also had high praise for Butterfield, who he’s been coaching, as well as the other four seniors, since middle school.

“That’s the best performance of his life,” Vreeland said. “It’s been a little extra special for me to see them as seventh-graders on a middle school team that I coached, and now they’re seniors and performing as well as they are right now.”

Added Butterfield, “With this group of guys, we all grew up playing together so it just feels great to be here for our last year together.”

Hopkins Academy 10, Ware 7

Ware             402 001 0 — 7 10 1

Hopkins       203 203 x — 10 12 2

WP—Butterfield LP—Smith S—Morrison

Records: Hopkins (16-4) Ware (13-9)