Clutch hitting eludes Hopkins Academy in 10-1 state Division 4 semifinal loss to Oxford

  • Hopkins Academy's Thea Hanscom, left, waits for the ball to be passed from the outfield while Oxford's David Meech rounds third base headed home to score the game's first run June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Jack Feltovic, right, unsuccessfully races the ball thrown by Oxford's Dante Purretta to first base June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's John Earle, left, prepares to stop Oxford's David Meech, not pictured, from scoring a run as Oxford's Michael Bordeaux, right, safely slides into home plate June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Thea Hanscom, right, dodges an attempt to be picked off at first base by Oxford's Ryan Nolan June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Justin Butterfield pitches against Oxford June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Jonathan Morrison, right, bats a strike June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Nathan Kelley, left, crosses first base after Oxford's Ryan Nolan catches the ball to out him June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Thea Hanscom, right, stretches back to first base to avoid being picked off by Oxford's Ryan Nolan June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Oxford players celebrate after scoring against Hopkins Academy June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Justin Ciaglo pitches against Oxford June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Thea Hanscom looks to make a catch June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal against Oxford at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy catcher John Earle, center, watches as Oxford players celebrate scoring several runs June 19, 2018 during the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy's Justin Butterfield, left, fist bumps teammate Nathan Kelley after striking out against Oxford June 19, 2018 to end the Division 4 baseball state semifinal at UMass’ Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

@kylegrbwsk
Published: 6/19/2018 9:07:09 PM

AMHERST — Oxford baseball coach Justin Richard approached home plate in the third inning with four fingers raised.

Hopkins Academy senior Jon Morrison stood in the Earl Lorden Field batter’s box with one out and runners on second and third.

The Pirates weren’t taking any chances with a one-run lead in the Division 4 state semifinal, Tuesday.

“With the ball he hit in the first inning, having that base open, that was almost automatic,” Richard said.

Morrison, who singled in the first inning, walked to first without a pitch to load the bases with one out.

“That’s the kind of situation I want to be in. It sucks not to get the opportunity,” Morrison said. “From a baseball standpoint, I get it, but I’m kind of disappointed about it.”

That brought up Justin Butterfield, who hit into a fielder’s choice at second, but scored a run to tie the game.

“It felt like the start to something, but it ended pretty quickly,” Butterfield said.

Noah Scanlon-Dean grounded out to end the inning.

It was one of two times the Golden Hawks loaded the bases, and they only managed one run out of it. Hopkins left nine players on base and lost 10-1.

“The thing that’s been the best of ours is we’ve been really clutch hitting, all the time we get into those situations, we get the piece we need, we put the ball in play,” Hopkins coach Dan Vreeland said. “Unfortunate way to end it.”

Oxford will play either Hamilton-Wenham or Archbishop Williams in the state title game, Saturday at Holy Cross. They play their semifinal Wednesday in Brockton.

Hopkins (17-5) also loaded the bases on three walks in the fourth inning. Thea Hanscom, Liam Higgins and John Earle walked with two outs trailing 3-1.

Oxford (24-2) pulled starter Joel Erickson in favor of Dante Purretta with Jack Feltovic at the plate. Feltovic hit a sharp ground ball down the left field line, but Oxford’s third baseman knocked it down and forced Higgins out at third.

“It was a good piece by Feltovic, they just made the play,” Morrison said.

Hopkins only managed two hits: Morrison’s single and an Earle single in the top of the seventh. Higgins and Earle reached on errors in the top of the third.

“We hit the ball really hard all over the field, but credit to them for making the plays they’re supposed to make,” Vreeland said.

The Pirates did it on offense as well as defense. They led 1-0 after an RBI single by Noah Buckley in the bottom of the first.

David Meech and Buckley both crushed RBI doubles down the left field line to go up 3-1 after three.

An RBI single by Jason Panient was followed by a Joseph Grady two-run double in the fifth that made it 6-1. That inning chased Butterfield.

“The linescore’s going to look a whole heck of a lot worse than how he actually pitched,” Vreeland said. “Apart from two or three deep doubles, they didn’t hit him real hard.”

Vreeland turned to Justin Ciaglo for the sixth, where Oxford loaded the bases and hit three bloop singles to go up 8-1. Then Grady hit another two-run double for the final score line.

The loss ended the careers of seniors Nathan Kelley, Ciaglo, Butterfield, Earle, Michael Curran and Morrison. All six were seventh-graders on Vreeland’s middle school team six years ago before he became the Golden Hawks’ varsity coach.

“It’s a memorable team for me. These are kids I’ve been with literally since I started coaching,” Vreeland said. “It’s a little bittersweet to see them go, but the sweet part is what they accomplished.”

Morrison might throw a few innings for AP Academy during the summer, but he plans to keep the workload light before heading to the University of Rhode Island to play for the Rams.

“I know my baseball career’s not over. It’s still tough for me to take it, but knowing I’ve got the next four years or so to play baseball is something that I’m excited about,” Morrison said.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.

Oxford 10, Hopkins Academy 1

Hopkins Academy         001 000 0 — 1 2 1

Oxford                             102 034 x — 10 11 2

WP—Purretta LP—Butterfield

Records: Oxford (24-2) Hopkins Academy (17-5)




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