Hopkinton rules D2 South baseball with a big finish
BROCKTON — All season, the Hopkinton baseball team has played for the big inning. In Saturday’s Division 2 South final against Tri-Valley League rival Westwood, the Hillers plated six runs in the fifth and six innings on the way to a 7-4 victory at Campanelli Stadium, earning the program’s first sectional crown since 2004.
Hopkinton (16-5) will play St. Mary’s of Lynn in Thursday’s Division 2 state final at Alumni Field in Lowell
“Our familiarity [with Westwood] made us uncomfortable because we didn’t play well against them [during the regular season],” said Hopkinton coach Steve Simoes, alluding to a 15-11 (April 24) loss and an 8-6 win (May 13).
“We rely on our pitching battling and we wait for our big inning.”
The Hillers trailed 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth after Westwood (14-10) had scored a pair of unearned runs the inning before. And they were set to face senior Ryan Shea, who came on to close out the game.
A walk followed by a single from junior Tommy Ambrosone put the Hillers in position to tie, but Shea fanned the next hitter before facing Conor Kelly. The sophomore immediately delivered a single up the middle to plate two runs and hand Hopkinton the lead back, 3-2.
The next batter, junior Drew Rancatore, punched a double to center field to score Kelly.
The following inning, Kelly came through in a similar situation after a bases-loaded walk pushed the advantage to 5-2 – a two-run single right back up the middle – and that is all the support senior Brendan Kelly needed on the mound to finish his complete-game gem.
“The whole game was a dog fight,” said Conor Kelly. ”I just wanted to do my job and I was able to do that.”