Sign up for email alerts from The Monitor | Diocese of Trenton
The Monitor | Diocese of Trenton, NJ  
Advanced Search


home : news : sports July 21, 2019


5/15/2019
Notre Dame baseball breaks 'Hopewell Jinx' to win Mercer County Tournament
Notre Dame’s Mike Kane, center left, and Robbie Buecker share an emotional moment while surrounded by teammates after the Irish beat Hopewell Valley 9-3 in the Mercer County Tournament title game. It was Notre Dame’s first win over Hopewell since 2014.  Rich Fisher photos
Notre Dame’s Mike Kane, center left, and Robbie Buecker share an emotional moment while surrounded by teammates after the Irish beat Hopewell Valley 9-3 in the Mercer County Tournament title game. It was Notre Dame’s first win over Hopewell since 2014.  Rich Fisher photos
The Notre Dame High baseball team celebrates its Mercer County Tournament title at Arm & Hammer Stadium on May 14 after taking a 9-3 win over Hopewell Valley.

The Notre Dame High baseball team celebrates its Mercer County Tournament title at Arm & Hammer Stadium on May 14 after taking a 9-3 win over Hopewell Valley.


By Rich Fisher | Contributing Editor

Robbie Buecker was having trouble finding the words, so he turned to Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield for inspiration.

“We woke up this morning feeling dangerous,” Buecker said, using Mayfield’s catchphrase, “and I think it showed tonight.”

It sure did.

Photo Gallery:
Notre Dame vs Hopewell Valley – Mercer County Tournament

Buecker pitched a three-hitter and was part of a devastating top-of-the-lineup as the third-seeded Notre Dame baseball team took a 9-3 win over defending champion Hopewell Valley in the Mercer County Tournament final May 14 at Arm & Hammer Stadium, Trenton. It was the Irish’s ninth overall MCT title, fourth this decade, first since 2015 and sixth under coach Joe Drulis.

And it could not have come against a more fitting opponent.

It was ND’s first win over Hopewell since April 9, 2014. The Irish had lost six straight since then, and were ousted from the last two county tournaments by the Bulldogs.

“It’s a storybook ending,” shortstop Ryan Mains said. “We’ve never beaten them; to come back and win a game like this as seniors is unbelievable. We step up in big moments. We have a lot of talent, a lot of leadership and we came out with the win.”

Buecker, named tournament MVP, was coming off a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts in a quarterfinal win over Steinert. Steven Graver won the other two MCT games against Nottingham and Lawrence, and Irish pitchers had allowed just six hits and no runs in the first three games.

Fourth-seeded Hopewell (15-6) ended that streak and held a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the third. But ND (19-1) scored one in the third, five in the fifth and two in the sixth to clinch it. Buecker, now 7-0, retired the final 10 batters he faced.

“Oh man, it’s been one heck of a ride so far,” Buecker said. “For four years, we’ve been waiting for this. I can’t even describe it. It’s been such a great year. All the kids bought in, we’re a family and it showed tonight. Kyle [Rosica] making that big [diving] catch in the outfield. Guys in the infield laying out for balls, jumping in the air. It just showed how bad we wanted it, and it’s awesome.”

After the bottom of the order led the offense in the semifinals against Hun, the top five hitters exploded in the finals as Mains, Buecker, Nick Feretic, Jake Kmiec and Rosica combined for eight hits, three walks, two triples, five RBIs and six runs scored.

“We’re confident in all of our team,” Mains said. “The bottom can be just as good as the top, and tonight it just happened to be us guys. Everybody stepped up.”


 

 



Related Stories:
• Spirited Irish win CJ III girls lacrosse title in honor of Notre Dame teammate




Subscription Login
LOGIN | SUBSCRIBE

Pope Francis







2019 ACA bottom Ad 2nd wave

The Monitor, 701 Lawrenceville Road, P.O. Box 5147, Trenton, NJ 08638-0147 | PHONE: 609-406-7404 | FAX: 609-406-7423 | Monitor@DioceseofTrenton.org

Copyright © 2019 | TrentonMonitor.com | All Rights Reserved.
Any use of materials on this website, including reproduction, modification or distribution without the prior written consent of the Diocese of Trenton is strictly prohibited.

Software © 1998-2019 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved