Division 4 baseball: Jack Feltovic shuts out Abington, as Hopkins Academy wins 1st state title since ’85

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  • Hopkins’ Jack Feltovic lifts the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship trophy after winning against Abington on Saturday at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins players celebrate winning the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game against Abington on Saturday at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins players dogpile on the field after winning the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game against Abington on Saturday at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins players and coach Dan Vreeland celebrate winning the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game against Abington on Saturday at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins’ Liam Flynn hits an RBI single against Abington in the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins’ Patrick Fitzgibbons hits against Abington in the bottom of third the inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins’ Patrick Fitzgibbons (12) celebrates after scoring against Abington in the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins’ Andrew Ciaglo hits against Abington in the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins’ Jack Feltovic, right, celebrates scoring against Abington in the bottom of third the inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins baserunner Patrick Fitzgibbons slides safely into first base to beat out the throw from Abington in the bottom of third the inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins shortstop Andrew Ciaglo, left, makes the catch for an out against Abington as right fielder Braeden Tudryn looks on in the top of the fifth inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins baserunner Kouji Ishida slides into first base to beat out the throw from Abington in the bottom of the first inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins pitcher Jack Feltovic throws against Abington in the top of third the inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins pitcher Jack Feltovic throws against Abington in the top of first the inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins pitcher Jack Feltovic throws against Abington in the top of second the inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins pitcher Jack Feltovic throws against Abington in the top of third the inning Saturday during the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Hopkins fans celebrate winning the MIAA Div. 4 State Championship game against Abington on Saturday at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 7/3/2021 5:46:56 PM

SPRINGFIELD – Jack Feltovic punched out just in time.

Hopkins Academy’s senior pitcher was three pitches away from his limit when he threw the last one of the MIAA Division 4 state baseball championship against Abington at Springfield College. Fortunately for him and the Golden Hawks, that last toss landed securely in freshman catcher Jake Smith’s glove for strike three and the third out of the seventh inning to secure a 3-0 victory.

“I knew right away. When I let go of the pitch, I was like ‘that’s strike three,’” said Feltovic, who struck out 10 and allowed just two hits. “Best feeling of my life.”

He launched his glove into the sky after the umpire signaled the punchout and embraced West. The rest of the Golden Hawks spilled out of the dugout and in from the outfield to pile on Feltovic. Hopkins Academy hadn’t won a state championship since 1985, nor played for one since 2014.

Golden Hawks shortstop Andrew Ciaglo fluttered his lips thinking about it.

“Just a whole rush of energy,” he said. “We’re all happy, this is where we wanted to be. We’ve done it.”

They had to dodge some traffic in the top of the first inning to get there. Abington’s John Polito led off with a walk after a marathon at bat. Ryan Tobin then grounded into a fielder’s choice and stole second. Feltovic squashed the threat with back to back strikeouts. It was one of just two times Abington runners advanced beyond first base.

“The traffic came on little bits and pieces. He took care of things quickly. That’s what he’s done his whole career. He never lets the traffic bother him. He goes and gets the batter,” Hopkins Academy coach Dan Vreeland said. “He attacked when he needed to attack, he danced around the strike zone when he needed to dance. He did everything you could possibly ask a kid to do.”

The Golden Hawks’ offense quickly gave him a lead to work with. No. 2 hitter Kouji Ishida reached on a one-out infield single in the first inning, sliding face-first through the pellets underneath Springfield College’s turf field to safety. Feltovic struck out, then Patrick Fitzgibbons moved Ishida to second and reached on an error. A Smith walk loaded the bases for Ciaglo. He worked his way to a full count then took ball four inside to bring in Hopkins’ first run.

“I got a run home, and that’s all that really matters,” Ciaglo said.

It was his 20th walk of the season in 16 games, Vreeland said. 

“He doesn’t chase it. He has an amazing sense of the strike zone, he adjusts to what umpires he sees,” Vreeland said. “I wanted the run, and I knew he was going to do the job.”

That run proved all Feltovic needed. He sat down seven batters in a row between the top of the first and third innings, striking out five. 

That didn’t stop him from helping himself, though. Feltovic laced a loud single to left field with one out in the third. He made it all the way to third on an an error that put Fitzgibbons on first. Abington pitcher Aidan O’Donnell tried to pick him off first, and the throw skipped by the Green Wave’s first baseman. Feltovic dashed home to make it 2-0.

“We knew we had to capitalize any mistakes they made, and we were able to do it,” he said. “With a couple runs, it was a whole different ball game. Once I had a cushion I could let loose and throw my fastball more, do some damage.”

One of those fastballs nearly came back to haunt him in the top of the fourth. After a pop out opened the inning, that brought Matt Maguire – announced Mark McGwire in a brief slip – to the plate. The Abington senior nearly lived up to his new namesake, smashing a ball to the gap in right center field.

“I thought it was a home run,” Feltovic said. “I left it middle-middle, and the kid put a great swing on it.”

Not with Ishida in left field. He tracked it off the bat, racing toward center on the turf. The ball nestled over his shoulder into his glove. Feltovic raised his hat to his outfield.

“The second he caught it I just dropped,” Feltovic said. “I was like ‘oh my god, I didn’t think you had any chance of catching that.’”

Hopkins extended its lead in the bottom of the fifth. Fitzgibbons reached on another one-out error, this one bouncing off the Abington pitcher’s glove in damp conditions. He went to second on a ground out. Ciaglo followed with a sharp single, but Vreeland held Fitzgibbons at third instead of sending him home.

Liam Flynn followed with an RBI single, and Vreeland again stopped Ciaglo at third.

“I’m an aggressive base coach. I always attack as much as I possibly can. They have some exceptional arms in their outfield. I have faith in my guys one through nine,” Vreeland said. “Don’t get thrown out at the plate and get them with next guy.”

Abington finally advanced a runner past second in the sixth. Polito dropped an infield single, beating out a throw from shortstop that Ciaglo picked out of the hole. He stole second then went to third on a groundout. Feltovic stranded him there with another strikeout.

He punched out three of the final four batters to set off a celebration three and a half decades in the making.

“Those are my guys. That’s one thing I’m going to miss, the guys. After we win like that, everyone coming together, it’s pure joy,” Hopkins senior Braeden Tudryn said. “It’s great to go out on top. We talked about it like ‘we can do this this year,’ and we did.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kylegrbwsk.




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