Baseball: Liam Skribiski-Banack’s huge day propels Frontier past Hopkins, 7-1 (PHOTOS)

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 05-04-2023 8:15 PM

HADLEY – Vengeful thunder rang out from Liam Skribiski-Banack’s bat every time he made contact.

The Frontier Regional baseball captain woke up with a “fire lit in [his] belly” Thursday morning ahead of the Redhawks’ second meeting with Hopkins Academy. The Golden Hawks put up nine runs in the top of the seventh in South Deerfield to win their previous meeting.

Skribiski-Banack never forgot.

“They kicked our teeth in at our field,” he said. “It feels good to return the favor.”

He smashed three hits, including two home runs and a double that clipped the top of the outfield fence by an inch, and drove in four runs in a 7-1 victory that put the Redhawks firmly in the driver’s seat of a second consecutive Suburban League West title.

Skribiski-Banack put Frontier (10-3, 6-1 Suburban West) ahead 2-0 with two outs in the top of the first when he smoked a pitch down the left field line that barely dropped back into play off the fence. The ball wasn’t so lucky his next at bat. The No. 6 hitter put it in deep left center to lead off the top of the fourth.

“I was thinking right center the whole time, and when they made a mistake tried to capitalize on it,”  Skribiski-Banack said. “Honestly, I didn’t know they were out. I thought they were just going off the top  of the fence again until I heard my teammates yelling.”

The rest of the Redhawks met him just off home plate after both bombs. The umpire pushed them back into the dugout until he touched home, and they played off that command when he hit his second in the top of the fifth, yelling “hold me back” as Skribiski-Banack rounded third.

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“You love to see it. We needed that energy, we needed that bounce back win (after a 12-2 loss at Wahconah last time out),” Skribiski-Banack said. “We had to run a lot at practice, really didn’t like it.”

Frontier led 6-1 in the fourth. First, Miles Ferreira unloaded the first “big field home run” of his life to make it 4-1 two batters after Skribiski-Banack. Then Grayson Loos dropped in a two-run single to push the lead to five runs.

Even that lead looked scary when the Golden Hawks (9-3, 4-2) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half. Hopkins Academy’s Chace Earle walked followed by a Yuuki Ishida single. After James Fitzgibbons walked to fill the bases, Frontier coach Chris Williams turned to Skribiski-Banack to unleash his wrath from the mound.

“That was as special a day as you can possibly have for us, but he’s somebody that works hard all offseason. The kid’s put his time in the weight room,” Williams said. “It’s exciting to see that kid break out with such a clutch performance.”

Skribiski-Banack struck out the first batter he saw looking then ended the inning with a ground out.

“That really felt like it was our last big chance there, and we definitely didn't rebound after that,” Hopkins coach Dan Vreeland said.

He put down 11 batters in a row to end the game and notched four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

“I don’t want to be in the spotlight, but I want to be the guy to come out there and produce, the guy that gets the energy going,” Skribiski-Banack said.

Hopkins Academy only managed three hits. Cody West doubled with two outs in the third, and Patrick Fitzgibbons singled to bring him home and score the Golden Hawks’ only run.

“We could’ve had better at bats at the plate. Sometimes when we fall behind, and it happens with any team, but we looked like we were pressing at the plate, swinging at pitches we shouldn’t, trying to draw walks and getting too deep in counts,” Vreeland said. “Both of the pitchers they threw are good pitchers, so if you fall behind in the count looking for ways on base, they’ll punish you for it.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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