"First I didn't even know if it was even getting out, I have had so many teasers this year. It feels great," Kumpel said. "First home run of the season, it's the perfect time."
Heading into the championship Kumpel was batting .233 with no home runs, only a season removed from a breakout sophomore campaign in which he led the Hawks in nearly every offensive category. If there was ever a time to bust out of the slump, Tuesday night was it.
"To hit it [at Citizens Bank Park], it adds a little extra," he said. Kumpel added two walks on the night to finish 1-for-2 with two RBI.
The win was the eighth for the Hawks (16-21) in their last nine games. With the program opening up a new ballpark on campus in 2012, head coach Fritz Hamburg was excited to be able to build momentum for the program.
"The fact we were able to bring this title to Saint Joe's for the first time is really big," Hamburg said. "Having a new ballpark this year, there is a lot of big things going on with the program and we're glad we could add this."
Hamburg said he is hopeful that Kumpel's shot will be the first of a several big ones down the stretch for the Hawks.
"Greg is a tireless worker," Hamburg said. "He sometimes works himself into not playing as well as he wants to. He had a great year for us last year. I am thrilled that he could get a pitch - they left one out over the plate and he drove it."
Both teams utilized a pitcher-by-committee approach in this nonconference matchup - Saint Joseph's used five pitchers and Penn used nine. With neither pitching corps being able to find a rhythm, the staffs combined for 10 walks and seven hit-by-pitches.
But the Quakers (15-17) left the bases loaded in three of the first five innings, only coming away with one unearned run. While the Hawks only managed seven hits of their own, Kumpel provided the one that was the difference.
Hawks shortstop Anthony Cirillo added three insurance RBI in the win.
"It was exciting," Kumpel said of playing in a big-league park. "What I will take out of it is that I want to come back next year."
Bill Giles Invitational
In the early game, the West Chester Golden Rams captured their fifth consecutive Bill Giles Invitational title, defeating the Wilmington Wildcats, 5-2. The Rams have won the 12-year-old Division II tournament nine times, with five of those victories coming over the Wildcats.