Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hopewell's New Coach Isn't Making a Ton of Changes

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hopewell's New Coach Isn't Making a Ton of Changes

Article excerpt

Joe Rubino always figured that in his first game as the Hopewell Vikings head baseball coach Joe Colella would in the stands, critiquing his performance.

Colella was probably watching this season's opener, a 9-0 victory against North Hills in a non-section game, but not from the stands.

Colella died in September after serving as Hopewell's head coach for 48 years. Rubino, Colella's loyal assistant for the past 12 seasons, was selected to succeed Colella this winter.

For Hopewell, a lot has changed and at the same time nothing has changed.

Colella, who won 655 games, won't be in the dugout or the third- base coaching box. That's the big change. But the Vikings will still have the same winning attitude and hard-nosed style as they always have.

"The only thing different about our situation is that a guy like the guy coming in for Joe Paterno was never around the program," Rubino said when asked about replacing a legendary coach. "Here, because of my situation -- being here 12 years -- there was a little bit more continuity.

"Coach was preparing me all along for this. I don't think anybody expected it to happen the way it happened. But he always said that one day this would be my program ... and trained me."

Hopewell took a 7-1 overall record into Wednesday's scheduled game at Ambridge. The Vikings are scheduled to play Moon Area at 4 p.m. today in Section 1-AAA action. The Vikings lone loss was, 13- 12, against Beaver in section action.

One of the big games of the first half of the section schedule comes up Monday when Hopewell plays at rival Blackhawk. The Cougars are 7-0 overall, 2-0 in the section going into today's action. Hopewell will entertain West Allegheny (5-1, 2-0) Wednesday. Beaver, 4-2 overall, is also 2-0 in the section.

Under Colella, Hopewell had a knack for winning close games. That still holds true with Rubino calling the shots. The Vikings edged Mt. Lebanon, 7-5, in a non-section contest last week and squeaked by Riverside, the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AA champion, 1-0, on a squeeze bunt.

"You can see the principles on which the program was built are the same principles as now. We win, 1-0, on a squeeze bunt," Rubino said after the Riverside victory "Under coach we relied on pitching and defense and that's going to continue. …

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