Talbots top Fox Chapel in extra innings to earn key section victory

Monday, April 19, 2021 | 8:21 PM

Redemption was the name of the game Monday night at Hampton High School as the Talbots topped Section 2-5A opponent Fox Chapel, 4-3.

With the Talbots (5-5, 5-2) down by one in the bottom of the seventh inning, senior Brock Mattiuz hit a fly ball to the infield and rounded first base to head to second, thinking the ball would be caught. But Fox Chapel’s second baseman ended up dropping the ball and tagging Mattiuz out before he could reach second.

It was a blunder that could have stopped a Hampton comeback, but the Talbots went on to tie the score 3-3 when Anthony Bucci hit a double to drive in Cam Marshalwitz and send the game into extra innings.

Then, Mattiuz got his shot at redemption.

Zachary Carr led off the bottom of the eighth with a triple to right-center. Fox Chapel coach Jim Hastings intentionally walked leadoff hitter Vincent Matthews to get to Mattiuz, and the senior responded.

With runners on second and third, he drove an 0-2 pitch to the outfield to score Carr, as the Talbots topped Fox Chapel (4-5, 3-2) for their fifth win of the season.

“I told him out there in the outfield after the game, I said ‘Hey, you screwed up out there in the seventh inning, but you came back and you got the job done in the eighth inning,’ ” Hampton coach Kellen Wheeler said. “He’s a senior, he’s a leader, and he has been for the past couple years. So when he’s at the plate I’m ready for him to come through with a hit.”

Mattiuz’s walk-off sacrifice fly ended another marathon game for the Talbots. They split two nine-inning games against Armstrong last week and also suffered an 18-3 loss to Seneca Valley as well.

Wheeler said for his team to come out on top, especially in a section game, was big for their confidence moving forward.

“Just to have this win here, it’s team building,” Wheeler said. “We made a lot of mistakes today, but at the end of the da,y we got the win.”

Until the final two innings, it was a pitching duel between seniors Michael Kosko and Fox Chapel’s Dante DiMatteo.

The Talbots got to DiMatteo for two runs in the second inning on a botched fly ball to right field and an overthrow at first base on a two-out bunt. But the senior right-hander was lights out other than that as he threw 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball and struck out nine while walking three.

“He’s been solid all season long,” Hastings said. “If he throws strikes, he’s hard to hit. He was a little unlucky with the high-ball in the sun, and then they bunted with two outs and got another run in in that same inning. He pitched a great game though.”

Kosko threw six innings of four-hit ball, while striking out two and walking two for the Talbots.

The offenses got into gear in the top of the sixth and seventh innings when Fox Chapel scored three combined runs to take the lead. Jacob Patterson drove in DiMatteo with a double in the sixth to make it 2-1. Then, Will Burger and Vincent Reiber knocked in runs in the seventh to make it 3-2 heading into the bottom of the frame.

“I liked the way we came back, and then they came back on us,” Hastings said. “It was a great game, and it’s tough to be on the losing end of it.”

With back-to-back section games, Wheeler found himself in a tough position when he brought Marshalwitz to finish off the game. He was set to start game No. 2 tomorrow, but Wheeler was more concerned about getting the win.

“Cam is my No. 2 pitcher, so I lost him for tomorrow, but we’ll piece it together tomorrow and see what we can do,” Wheeler said. “We had to get the win today, and I knew he was going to go throw strikes and that’s why we put him out there. Get the win today and we’ll piece it together tomorrow.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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