Trib HSSN baseball player of the week for May 21, 2023
Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 8:57 PM
With five seniors in the starting lineup, including most who played a big part in a title run two years ago and a trip to the semifinals last year, some might consider an 8-11 regular season disappointing.
“Hopewell baseball always has high expectations,” Hopewell senior Ty Eberhardt said. “At one point we had a long losing streak, and everybody was in a funk and heads were down. We were fighting for a playoff spot, and the playoffs weren’t guaranteed. That is unique.”
However the final chapter hasn’t been written for this band of Vikings, and it might be a doozy.
“We have the talent, and we have the team to go deep into the playoffs and make some noise,” Eberhardt said.
The No. 14 seed in the Class 4A playoffs stunned many in the opening round when Hopewell edged defending champion and No. 3 seed West Mifflin, 2-1.
Eberhardt led the way in the upset victory.
“Ty is a very versatile player,” Hopewell coach Morgan Singletary said. “He is able to play a lot of different positions. This year, he has solidified the middle infield, which got off to a rocky start. Also at the plate, he has been a consistent bat from the left side. He can work long at-bats at the top of the order and also hit for power.”
The power was on display against the Titans. In a scoreless game with two outs in the top of the third inning, Eberhardt crushed a pitch over the right-field fence at the Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair for the game’s first run.
“It definitely gave the team a lot of energy,” Eberhardt said. “We knew coming out that playing a higher seed that we might be taken lightly. We know what we have, we had the energy and we were ready to go. That gave us the lead and we were like, ‘With Landon (Fox) on the mound, we can win this game.’ ”
Eberhardt went 3 for 4 with the home run and two singles. His third hit in the top of the seventh inning was critical in the Vikings rally.
With one out in a tied game, Hopewell junior John Vescio singled. An out later and with Vescio on the move, Eberhardt reached out and poked a single through the left side where the shortstop left to cover second base.
Senior Stephen Slate singled home Vescio with winner in a 2-1 victory.
“His first contribution came in his second at-bat when he got a big home run that put us up early,” Singletary said. “His next two at-bats were also quality, with the third hit moving the winning run into scoring position after getting two strikes.”
The Tiffin recruit is used to coming up large in big games. As a sophomore, he dove to beat out an infield hit that produced the winning run in the Vikings 3A championship victory over South Park, 6-5.
This season, Eberhardt has been a leader, helping the team overcome a head-scratching seven-game losing streak that could have derailed its season.
“Ty’s season has been solid,” Singletary said. “He has been pretty consistent at the top of our order and on defense since moving back out to second base. I’m sure there are areas that he wished he personally has done better at and we as a team did better at, but overall, he has had a good season.”
The season continues Monday as Hopewell will be the underdog again when it faces Section 4-4A champion North Catholic, an 11-1 winner in the opening round over Elizabeth Forward.
“I think it is going to be similar to the game we just played against West Mifflin,” Singletary said. “They have a good No. 1 pitcher, and on offense they seem to like to move guys over and set up the middle of their lineup to get RBIs. We need our defense to continue to be sound, and our bats to continue to heat back up.”
2023 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week
Week 6 – Colin Watson, Plum
Week 5 – Andrew Hart, North Allegheny
Week 4 – Frank Kula, Laurel Highlands
Week 3 – Mason Horwat, Avonworth
Week 2 – Zane Griffaton, West Mifflin
Week 1 – Ryan Opfer, Chartiers-Houston
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