South Park Remains Perfect In Extra Inning AAA Title Game Win

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 | 11:56 PM

In a game full of missed opportunities, the South Park Eagles came thru when it counted the most, claiming a 4-3 nine inning victory over the Hopewell Vikings to become only the fifth team in WPIAL baseball history to win a district championship as an unbeaten team. Adam Thompson, who was hit for in the eighth inning, reentered the game to draw a bases loaded walk to push the Eagles to the win.

The game was the first extra inning title game since Franklin Regional beat Mount Lebanon 9-8 in 2001 to win the Class AAA title in eight innings. It's the first WPIAL baseball title for South Park, the Eagles last made the title game in 2002.

Randy Dobnak, the third Eagles pitcher of the night, got the win, going 2.2 innings and struck out four. The senior combined with another senior, Jake Bywalski to blank the Vikings offense in six straight innings. Bywalski said that he thought he would get to pitch tonight, that he was able to spot his off-speed pitches and keep the Hopewell hitters off balance.

Hopewell had a chance to win the game in the eighth inning, with runners at first and second and one out, Ryan Cox laid down a bunt in front of home plate, catcher Justin Dilla’s throw hit Cox in the back, but Cox was ruled out of the runner’s lane going to first and called out on interference, forcing the runners back to their original stations. Arion Sepp lined out to right to end the inning and the Hopewll threat.

It looked like the Vikings would run away and hide after the first two innings. Logan Johnston hit a 1-0 pitch from starter Nick Yobbi well over the left center field fence to put the Vikings up 2-0 after one. Hopewell added a run in the second as it looked like Yobbi would get out of the inning untouched, but second baseman Carter Grote threw low, allowing Ryan Cox to reach first and Adam Murray to score from second base.

Trailing 3-0, it was South Park’s turn to hit the scoreboard in the fourth. Chris Winkler was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, he was balked to second base and Shane Fetsko singled to right field to bring home Winkler. Dobnak followed with a two run homer inside the left field foul pole to knot the game at three. He said he sat back on a curve ball from starter Clayton Covalt and just ripped it.

Hopewell left seven runners on base from the sixth thru eighth innings, including the bases loaded in the seventh. Dobnak was able to strike out Tim Hughes and Covalt to send the game to extra frames.

Dobnak said the feeling of being a WPIAL champion hasn’t sunk in yet. The Eagles are now 24-0 and head to the PIAA tournament. Dobnak was the offensive star of the night, going 3 for 3 with a single, double and the homer, he also walked.

For Hopewell, now 20-4, Stefan Mrkonja took the loss, tossing four innings in relief of Covalt, he fanned four. Mrkonja went 2 for 5 at the plate. The Vikings will also enter the state tournament next Monday.

South Park Eagles 0 – 0 – 0 – 3 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 1  =  4 – 7 – 1
Hopewell Vikings  2 –  1 – 0 –  0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0  =  3 – 9 – 0



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