Retirement can wait, and the dream can carry on. Hopedale High coach Joe Small, who is retiring after this season, will have to wait until Saturday to hang it up after the Blue Raiders extended their season with a 5-1 win over Frontier Regional in a Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal at Tivnan Field Wednesday night. Hopedale, which will make its first-ever appearance in the state championship game, will face Eastern Mass. champion Middleboro High at noon Saturday at LeLacheur Park in Lowell. Frontier finished 18-7. Small, who has been at the helm for 24 seasons, isnít shy about favorably comparing senior stars Ian Strom and Dan Mantoni to the best talent in Central Mass., and Hopedaleís dynamic duo played a prominent role in the Blue Raidersí historic win. Strom, a left-handed pitcher, was dominant, and tossed a complete game with 12 strikeouts, while allowing three hits. Mantoni scored the gameís first run and smoked a game-clinching two-run double in the fifth inning.
Hopedale 5, Frontier 1
Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2013, at Hopedale
Updated: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 9:08 p.m.