The Hopkins baseball team dominated this past weekend, sweeping the Washington College Shoremen in a doubleheader series in which Hopkins scored a combined 14 runs.
The first game was led by great pitching throughout by sophomore Peter Schaefer, who picked up his first win of the season. Schaefer made it through five full innings of play, allowing zero runs and striking out six batters. Schaefer struck out at least five batters in all of his starts this season.
Hopkins jumped on Washington early when junior catcher AJ King singled to center in the second inning. After a bunt single by junior catcher James Ingram advanced the runner to second, a walk to senior right fielder Austin Sacks loaded the bases. Graduate student designated hitter Mike Ainsworth notched an RBI single and senior third baseman Mark Lopez crushed a grand slam to left field to give Hopkins an early 5-0 lead.
It was Lopez’s second home run of the young season. Lopez shared his approach to the grand slam at-bat and the feeling afterward.
“The grand slam felt awesome,” he said. “When you get up with the bases loaded, there is always some added pressure. My goal was to jump on the first good pitch I saw and not fall behind in the count. Luckily, the first pitch of the at-bat was a high fastball that I put a good swing on. My favorite part about hitting a home run is coming back to the dugout and seeing my teammates reactions. It was definitely a special moment.”
The Blue Jays added to their lead late in the sixth inning when junior center fielder Isaiah Winikur drew a two-out walk, which he would later score on thanks to an RBI single off the bat of King.
Washington closed the gap in the seventh inning. A double by infielder Dylan Nepert sparked a three-run inning for the Shoremen. A wild pitch advanced Nepert to third, followed by an RBI single by outfielder Ben Ruvo. The Shoremen tallied three doubles in the inning to cut the deficit to three runs.
However, strong pitching by the Hopkins bullpen sealed the first game of the doubleheader for the Blue Jays, as they won an impressive opening game by a score of 6-3.
The offense picked up right where they left off for the Jays in game two, when King brought home senior second baseman Matthew Ritchie on a sacrifice fly in the first inning to tie the game at 1-1.
The score was tight throughout most of the game until the Blue Jays struck gold in the sixth inning.
The Jays created separation in the seventh when costly errors by the Shoremen defense prolonged the inning and allowed for junior first baseman Jared deFaria and King to score for the Jays and extend the lead to 5-2. The onslaught continued in the eighth, thanks to RBI singles by Winikur and deFaria and a hit-by-pitch on Ingram.
Junior pitcher Ben Keever earned the save and sophomore pitcher Jack McRae tallied his first win of the season in an 8-2 victory for the Jays.
Hopkins baseball has now won four games in a row. Lopez shared how this winning streak is beneficial for the continuity of the team.
“I think we are finally coming together as a team,” he said. “Our pitching has been fantastic all year and our bats are waking up. We have the talent and potential to make a deep run this year, so it’s good to see our hard work starting to pay off. We have six more conference games and are in a very tight race. If we play up to our potential, we should be very successful.”
The Blue Jays hope to carry the momentum into Saturday’s game against the Gettysburg College Bullets.
Matthew Ritchie is a Sports Editor for The News-Letter. He did not contribute reporting, writing or editing to this article.