GALION — One disastrous inning kept Northmor from getting a season sweep of East Knox in baseball on Tuesday.
The Golden Knights were tied at 2-2 with their opponents going into the fifth inning, but surrendered seven runs in that frame in falling by a 10-3 count.
The inning started with Bryar Householder getting a hit off Northmor starter Drew Hammond and Landon Spearman reaching on an error. A force at first base gave Northmor the first out of the inning, but advanced the runners to second and third.
Errors then cost the Golden Knights. Shane Knepp brought in a run via groundout, but was ruled safe at first after the throw pulled the baseman off the bag. Holding a 3-2 lead, the Bulldogs quickly got another run in due to an error on a Knepp steal attempt. Josh Keith then drove in one with a single to make it 5-2 and chase Hammond from the game.
Workman felt that, other than a couple walks, Hammond pitched well, but the team’s defense wasn’t at its best.
“Drew pitched fine,” said the coach. “There were a couple walks he’d like to have back, but he only gave up two earned runs. We didn’t help him on defense.”
Four straight hits against reliever Cooper Thomas brought four more runs across the plate for the Bulldogs. While Thomas finished the inning by inducing a pair of fly ball outs, a tied game had turned into a 9-2 deficit for Northmor.
Mathew Kearns scored in the sixth inning when East Knox committed an error on a Max Lower grounder, but Northmor wouldn’t be able to push any more runs across home plate. The Bulldogs got an insurance run in the seventh to avenge a loss to the Golden Knights during the previous week.
“They’re a good team,” said Workman. “It just wasn’t our day. The baseball gods were not with us today. When we hit the ball hard, it was right at someone. Last week, when we played them, we found the holes.”
Early in the game, it looked like East Knox control issues would stake Northmor to a big lead. After Lower opened the bottom of the first with a single and Bulldog pitcher Landon Spearman got the next batter out, Spearman ran into control issues.
He would walk three consecutive batters to bring Lower across the plate. After recording a strikeout, Spearman then issued another walk to bring Grant Bentley home and give Northmor a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs would make a quick pitching change, though, bringing in lefty Dustin Springer. Over the final 6.1 innings of the game, he would hold Northmor in check — giving up five hits and a walk, while striking out four.
“They brought in a soft-tossing lefty and we don’t handle that well,” said Workman. “He just kept us off-balance with a lot of soft stuff.”
Northmor would be victimized by leadoff walks in both the second and third innings, as East Knox would bring both those runners home to tie the game before blowing it open in the fifth frame.
Lower finished with two hits to lead the Northmor offense. Hammond, Thomas and Marcus Cortez combined to strike out four and walk seven, while giving up 13 hits.