Northmor overcame an early deficit on a blustery Tuesday afternoon to defeat Cardington in baseball by an 11-3 margin.
The Pirates got off to a good start, scoring a pair of runs. With two on and two out, Dillon Minturn drove in one run with a single. Golden Knight pitcher Drew Hammond then threw an errant pitch that brought in a second score to put Northmor in a hole.
However, they would not trail for long. Andrew Armrose led off the second inning with a double. Pirate pitcher Trey Brininger would then get the next two batters out, but the third out would be elusive. Preston Harbolt hit a single to bring in a score. Following a walk issued to Griffin Workman, Marcus Cortez would tie the score with a single. Max Lower followed with a double to plate two more runs and a wild pitch brought in one more to put Northmor in front 5-2.
“Obviously last night, (Cardington pitcher Avery) Harper was dealing,” said Northmor coach Buck Workman. “Tonight, we came out in the second inning and put good barrels on the ball. Once we get rolling, we’re a team of momentum.”
Both teams scored once in the third inning to make the score 6-3 in favor of Northmor. Pirate coach Jack Bault felt stranded runners was a big factor in his team not being able to keep up with their opponents. Through the first three innings, they stranded six runners and the team finished the afternoon with 12 left on base.
“One thing we talked to the guys about was that we just got too comfortable out there and got too lackadaisical,” he said. “I just think when we got guys on base, we couldn’t get them in. If we get a two-out hit with guys on, that can change the momentum of the game.”
Northmor would get some breathing room in the fourth inning against relief pitcher A.J. Hall. Griffin Workman was hit by a pitch, Cortez drew a walk and Max Lower got a single to load the bases. A single by Pierce Lower drove in one run, a passed ball brought in a second and a ground ball from Armrose added a third score.
Leading 9-3, the Golden Knights were able to get a pair of shutout innings by Hammond to maintain that six-run lead through five innings. Workman noted that his pitcher had some struggles on the mound, but was able to pitch well enough to maintain his perfect record on the year.
“I was close to taking Drew out a couple times, but he’s proven he gets stronger as the game goes on,” said the coach. “We kept him in and he got rolling. He’s 5-0 on the year.”
The Northmor offense gave Hammond two more runs in the sixth. With one out, Pierce Lower and Grant Bentley hit back-to-back singles. Cardington went back to the bullpen to replace Hall with Joe Denney. While he would get the final two outs of the inning, they didn’t come until a pair of wild pitches and a single by Garrett Corwin had made the score 11-3.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Hammond issued back-to-back walks to Hall and Avery Harper, forcing Workman to go to his bullpen and have Jack Sears close out the game. He got out of that jam and then pitched around three singles in the seventh inning to close out the Northmor win.
Bault felt his team was building some momentum in the league until the loss.
“This would have been a big one,” he said. “We opened with Highland and Fredericktown and that put us in a hole. Then we beat a real young Danville team and then yesterday, we had our best game of the year.”
Workman’s team salvaged a split of their two games with Cardington, which is something they’ve been doing regularly in a tough KMAC this spring.
“Our league is tough,” he said. “Every night, you have to play your best ball to win. We’ve lost our first game three times and the won the second. Give the credit to the kids. They don’t hang their heads. They battle for seven innings and give us all they’ve got.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS