Bats power Knights to opening day win

North Penn uses the long ball to fuel a season opening win over Upper Dublin

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Colin Davis

North Penn sophomore SS Jack Picozzi takes a rip at the plate during NP’s 9-3 season opener win at NPHS on March 29, 2021.

685 days.That’s exactly how long it’s been since the last time a meaningful baseball game has been played at North Penn High School. 

The Knights shook off the rust and got great performances all around in their 9-3 win over Upper Dublin in the 2021 season opener. The Knights saw pitching from Junior Dylan Brown and Senior Eric Hamilton, while the offensive firepower was driven by home runs by Seniors RJ Agriss and Sam Cohen. Cohen was 3-4 at the plate with two long balls, including a crucial three run shot that gave the lead to the Knights. 

“I just didn’t want to strike out,” Cohen said. “I wanted to put a good swing on the ball, got a pitch down the middle, and turned on it. It felt really good coming off the bat.” 

The Knights came out the gate struggling going down early in the first couple innings. A two out single allowed for a run to cross and two more runs were plated on a passed ball and a walk in the top of the 4th. A leadoff home run over the left field fence by Agriss, in the bottom half inning, was the spark North Penn needed. A walk by Junior Pat Breen was followed up by a fielder’s choice that put Cohen on first. Junior Ethan Cohen hit a double over the center fielder’s head that drove in Cohen all the way from first. Senior Steven Corrado walked to make it first and second. Junior Quinn Marrett drove in Corrado with a grounder past the shortstop to tie the game at 3. 

“Just going up there looking to get a good piece of it and get on base,” said Agriss. “I just happened to get a good piece of it and it went.” 

Eric Hamilton came in relief of Brown and shut down the Cardinals. After a leadoff double Hamilton was able to get a strikeout then snagged a comebacker that saw the lead runner get caught in a rundown and tagged out. Hamilton was able to get the strikeout to retire the side. 

“[Hamilton] came in and was just outstanding in relief,” said coach Kevin Manero. “To come in a game where we were just giving up too many bases is great and just a phenomenal outing by him.” 

The bottom of the 5th saw Agriss and Breen lead off with back to back walks. Sam Cohen broke the game wide open by driving in Agriss and Breen with a three run shot to make the score 6-3. 

“I just wanted to drive in the run and get on,” Cohen said. “I didn’t really put anything special on it and just swung through it to try and get a hit.” 

Junior Brian Neal singled up the middle but Upper Dublin was able to get the next two final outs and close out the bottom of the 5th after. Hamilton once again started dealing on the mound by striking out the first batter of the half inning. A Cardinal base hit was followed up with a fielder’s choice that saw Agriss run in from third and make a great play on a dribbler that Breen was able to pick at first for the out. Hamilton jammed a hitter and got an infield pop fly to retire the side. 

The bottom half saw the Knights quickly get doubled up on a line drive by Senior Colby Selig. Agriss followed up with a walk and was quickly driven in by a Breen triple. A passed ball during the next at bat saw Breen come home as well. Cohen then stepped up and launched a solo shot, his second homer of the game. 

Hamilton got a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 7th to end the game swiftly for what was a rough start for the Knights. Clearly a big relief performance by him was key to the Knights victory. 

The Knights look to carry the momentum into Tuesday’s game against Springfield.