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Baseball: New Hope-Solebury learning on job


Baseball has won twice as many games as it’s lost, the players have learned more about themselves in the few losses the Lions have sustained.

In their triumphs, New Hope has been winning by large margins.

But recently, the Lions were toppled by BAL leader Holy Ghost Prep by a 14-4 score. Early on in the game, New Hope committed five errors in two innings, which put the Lions in a significant 10-1 hole.

“Getting behind by that much is tough but we did not give up,” said head coach Tony Vlahovic. “I was very proud of our guys. They could have very easily said, ‘let’s just try this another day.’

“Instead, they kept grinding it out.”

For the next four innings, New Hope pitchers blanked the Firebirds, while the Lions’ offense nipped away at the Ghost lead with four runs of their own.

“A couple guys were frustrated because they were bobbling the ball but there was no head hanging,” explained Vlahovic. “It was more like, ‘let’s go out there and battle. Let’s go out there and compete.’”

“And that’s all I ask them to do. Every pitch, every inning, just go out and compete.

“If you have that approach, you have a much better chance of success in baseball.”

Senior Michael Lehman came through with three hits including a double, an RBI and a pair of runs scored vs. Holy Ghost. Classmate Derek Smith hit 2-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBIs. And senior Blake Doherty went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

But after falling into such an early deficit, there was little the Lions could do to come out with a victory.

New Hope rebounded from the Holy Ghost Prep loss with a 10-1 triumph over MaST Community Charter April 12 on the Lions’ home field.

In that game, senior Connor Campbell came through with a pair of hits including a home run. He crossed the plate twice in the contest.

Lehman reached base all four times he appeared at the plate and he scored four runs, adding a double and a triple that put his batting average close to the .500 mark.

Senior John Mangan hit 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored. Davis and Cam Mertz added doubles and Smith exploded with a three-run homer.

Defensively, senior righthander Jack Gawason recorded the win after limiting MaST Charter to one run on three hits, walking only one batter and striking out three.

Blake Doherty got New Hope’s season off on the right foot March 27 at home, tossing a five-inning no hitter, striking out 12 of the 15 batters he faced. With the bat, he hit 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.

Doherty has committed to Navy next fall.

“I’m proud of him; he’s really done a great job,” said Vlahovic. “He’s obviously very skilled in the classroom and he really has put it all together.”

Senior Nick Oszczakiewicz got the win March 29 at Somerton Youth Club vs. Calvary Christian, limiting the Cougars to a lone run off five hits, striking out five while walking only one.

Gawason hit 4-for-4 that game with a double and a run scored. Justin Horak hit 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and four RBIs. Smith also drove four runs across with a 2-for-3 batting performance.

Sophomre Liam Griffith recorded the win April 4 vs. Church Farm School, limiting the Griffins to a lone run on one hit, striking out four batters while walking only two.

Gawason sparked the offense hitting 4-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs. Lehman, Campbell and Smith also connected with triples in the contest.

While the Lions went on to a 14-1 triumph, the duel was shortened by the mercy rule.

“Every game is an opportunity to learn,” said Vlahovic. “What do we need to work on to improve and get ready for districts.”

New Hope went to the postseason last year but lost in the District One Class 4A final to Lower Moreland. The Lions captured a district crown the year before and went to states with a 1-0 triumph over Octorara.

New Hope is striving to repeat that type of success this season.

@stevesherman222 on Twitter

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