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Hopedale - Local Town Pages

Hopedale Baseball on A Mission Heading into The States

By Christopher Tremblay
Staff Sports Writer
Despite playing in an abbreviated season last spring, Hopedale still managed to put together an impressive campaign on the diamond losing only twice. 
The successful season saw them advance all the way to the District 4 Central Tournament, where they ran into Tahanto for the second straight time (2019 and 2021), but once again fell short. 
Hopedale did get some revenge in the CMADA Finals by beating Tahanto last year.
From last year’s team, Hopedale said goodbye to three talented seniors (two pitchers and a catcher). This season the Blue Raiders once again put forth an eventful season, posting a 12-6 regular season record and once again made it to the CMADA Finals. Unfortunately they lost to Tahanto 4-0 in extra innings when they ran into an unbelievable pitcher.
Hopedale will now enter the District 5 State Championships, where they are the number one seed and will face the winner of Westport (#32) and Smith Academy (#33), who will play in the preliminary round.
 Tahanto is seeded fourth and would not see the Blue Raiders until the Final 4, if the two teams continue on a collision course. 
“We would love to see them again,” Hopedale Coach Kevin Bresciani said. “We talked about it and the kids would really like anther chance at them to even things up.”
Getting into the State Tournament, the Blue Raiders sent five solid pitchers of their own to the mound throughout the season. Senior Will Parker is the Hopedale ace and when not on the hill, he started at shortstop for the Blue Raiders. The senior is an all-around player who leads Central Mass in homeruns (6) and RBI (30) and is second with a .554 batting average. 
When he took to the mound his 3-4 record didn’t really reflect his talent.
“With the new tournament system, which is based on strength of schedule, we loaded up with a lot of top talented teams that we normally wouldn’t see,” the Coach said. “We sent Will to the mound to face a lot of them. Although his record wasn’t great, he still pitched to his ability and had 79 strikeouts.”
Following Parker, Hopedale’s number two pitcher rotated between junior lefty Ryan Reynolds and junior Jacob Smith. When not hurling the baseball, Reynolds plays the outfielder and according to Bresciani flies around the outfield. 
Smith stepped up his game this season to be a solid pitcher for the Blue Raiders. Smith also played first base and at the plate batted anywhere in the top four of the batting average. Bresciani had an abundance of pitching last year, so Smith didn’t see all that much action on the hill. Both hurlers will be back next year battling it out for that top spot on the roster.
Others that have played an important part to the Blue Raiders success this spring have been right-fielder and senior captain Ollie Radcliffe, who usually finds himself batting in the three hole. Junior Troy Hobson, who is a very unique individual who has played all nine positions this year and the Coach is very comfortable in whatever position he is playing on any particular day. 
The team’s other senior captain, Zach Frohn, is a power hitter who has two home runs and plays second base, while junior Tyler Wilke has been found playing either third base or leftfield. The junior has been solid in the field and consistent at bat and is hoping to pitch next spring. Having arm issues this season, Bresciani kept him off the mound but is hoping to get him some starts next year.
Two other athletes who really shined this campaign were sophomore Lucas Levasseur and freshman Brayden Lewis. Levasseur took over the catching duties, while Lewis was the team’s leadoff hitter batting .360.
“Lucas caught every inning for us this year, controls the game and calls the pitches. I have full trust and faith in him,” the Coach said “Brayden is not only confident but consistent at the plate. I have not seen a freshman perform on the varsity field at this level; he is focused and wants to play to the best of is ability.”
Finishing the regular season at 12-6 is right where the Hopedale Coach figures his team would be.
“With the toughness of our schedule we could have been a little better or a little worse, but right around my expectations,” Bresciani said. “If we go into the State Tournament and play to our capacity, I believe we can go all the way and make some noise. We’ll bring the energy and do all the little things right while our pitching and hitting are at the top of our game.”
Tournament update: Although Hopedale was hoping to meet up with Tahanto once again in the State Tournament it wasn't to be. Tahanto was knocked out in the Round of 16 by Sutton, while the Blue Raiders were cruising along. Hopedale, the number one seed in the Division 5 State Tournament, was crushing its opponents by a score of 39-2 during its first four games. Bresciani's Blue Raiders defeated Westport (14-2), Hopkins (5-0), Carver (3-0) and Pioneer Valley (17-2) to reach the State Championship game. While the pest called Tahanto was no longer in the way, Hopedale had to square off against Mount Greylock and unfortunately fell 3-1. The climb was there but the Blue Raiders just couldn't reach the top.