Latrobe looks to shake off WPIAL finals loss before state playoffs
Saturday, June 3, 2023 | 11:01 AM
Latrobe players tried to keep their heads up when the Pirate Parrot handed them their WPIAL Class 4A runner-up trophy last Tuesday at Wild Things Park.
Even the Parrot seemed somber.
The season wasn’t over, but it felt like it was to the Wildcats after a tough, 4-3 loss to Hopewell.
“It’s going to be hard because our guys are taking this one pretty hard,” Wildcats coach Matt Basciano said about his team regrouping to play in the PIAA playoffs beginning at 2 p.m. Monday against District 6 winner Bellefonte (16-5) at Governor’s Park in Bellefonte.
Thrown off the scent of a WPIAL title by No. 14 Hopewell (12-11) in a WPIAL championship matchup nobody saw coming, No. 5 Latrobe (17-7) is ready to move on and spin the wheel in the state tournament.
“Nobody believed either of us could get there,” Latrobe senior pitcher and first baseman Logan Bradish said of his team and Hopewell. “We’re definitely going into states with a chip on our shoulder. We want to win (a championship) so bad.”
Bradish and some teammates shared the same three-word sentiment knowing there is more baseball to play: Legion can wait.
Several Wildcats play for the Latrobe Jethawks American Legion team, whose season opened last week.
Latrobe, looking to make a run at its first state title since 2017, took solace in the fact it still had a chance to win in its last at-bats against Hopewell.
Despite giving up an early 2-0 lead, Latrobe rallied to get within 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth.
The Wildcats had a chance to tie it in the last of the seventh. Erick Batista put down a perfect bunt single and then stole second. But he was picked off between second and third on a quick move by Vikings’ pitcher Logan Fox, who matched Bradish’s complete game.
With the chance gone, Hopewell finished off its fifth WPIAL title and denied Latrobe its second.
“It was a great baseball game,” Basciano said. “Our kids kept plugging away. We went down to our last out swinging. We were one of two teams left (in the WPIAL playoffs). Our guys need to keep their heads up.”
Latrobe, despite turning two double plays and limiting Hopewell’s scoring after the fourth, left five on base and allowed the Vikings to get their leadoff or second hitter on base in six innings.
“We didn’t cash in when we had the opportunities,” Basciano said. “We needed to do more offensively. But we’ll bounce back from this. Our guys have shown they can be resilient. Our kids have heart, and they fight.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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