Class D baseball: Quinn brothers go deep as Pioneer ends Hopkins’ title reign (PHOTOS)

  •  Pioneer's Ethan Quinn pitches against Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class C semifinals on Wednesday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Pioneer's Jason Quinn rounds second base after hitting a home run in the first inning on Wednesday against Hopkins Academy in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 5/25/2022 10:00:24 PM

NORTHFIELD — Hopkins Academy’s reign atop small school baseball in Western Massachusetts ended to a chorus of ringing Pioneer Regional bats.

The Panthers struck 10 hits in a 13-8 victory on Wednesday in the Western Massachusetts Class D semifinals.

The Panthers will play for their first sectional title since 2011, when they captured the crown and played for a state championship. 

“It’s everything. Being there is a gift itself, so we’re going to play our hearts out and hope we can take it,” Pioneer senior Jason Quinn said.

They will face either No. 1 Granby or No. 4 Mount Everett in the final at a time and pace to be determined. The other semifinal is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Granby.

Quinn finished with four hits and eight RBIs, including a home run.

“This morning I woke up ready to play and basically all day all I was thinking about was hitting the ball, getting on base and getting RBIs for the team,” he said.

The top of second-seeded Pioneer’s lineup staked it to the perfect start in the bottom of the first. Braeden Tsipenyuk stroked a single off the first pitch he saw, then an error put Sean Allen on. That teed up Jason Quinn, who launched the ball into the woods over the left field fence 360 feet back for a three-run homer. It was the first big fly of his high school career.

“That’s one of the deepest parts of the field, so I didn’t think it was going out,” he said. “Once I saw it through the fence, I was just ecstatic.”

The No. 3 Golden Hawks responded with two outs in the next half inning. Liam Flynn opened the second with a single, then Dom Aloisi sacrifice bunted him over to second. Back to back walks and a strikeout put Andrew Ciaglo in the batter’s box with the bases loaded. He wore a pitch to bring in Hopkins’ first run. Hopkins scored two more runs on an error to tie the game, then Cody West poked a two-run single through the right side to make it 5-3 Hopkins. 

“In the past we’ve had games where we go down 3-0 or 4-0 and we’re out of it,” Hopkins coach Dan Vreeland said. “We battled. It’s the thing I’ve asked them to do all season is battle and not give  in.”

Pioneer passed another punch. Peter Loud smoked an RBI single, then a catcher’s interference call tied the game at 5. Jared Hubbard out Pioneer ahead 6-5 with an RBI ground out, then the Quinns provided separation.

Jason Quinn drilled an RBI double, then his younger brother Ethan Quinn brought him home with a home run of his own to make it 10-5.

“It was awesome watching his ball go out and being able to celebrate him at home plate,” Jason Quinn said.

The Panthers loaded the bases again for Jason Quinn with two outs after two walks and a hit batter. He dropped a single into right field that scored two more and make it 12-5. It also brought him within a triple of the cycle. 

“T0 jump out to a lead is one thing, but to keep packing it on once you’re down and ahead and down and ahead constantly throughout the game is what this team thrives on,” Pioneer coach Kevin Luippold. “The leadership is what prevailed. We didn’t let it slack.” 

The Golden Hawks tacked on two more in the top of the fourth. Cody West brought a run around with an RBI ground out and Cooper Beckwith scored on a passed ball to make it 12-7.


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