MARION — The Golden Knights may have 18 wins on the season now, but there was none more special than the one Tuesday evening in Marion. Northmor defeated Pleasant 4-2, in a 15-inning effort. The two teams played over two games worth of baseball and left it all on the field.
Pleasant was able to strike out Northmor 22 times while striking out just five times themselves. That was not enough, as the Golden Knights battled through it all.
“We struck out 23 times. I realize it’s 15 innings, but 23 times is a big number,” Northmor head coach Buck Workman. “I don’t know that we had more than four or five [strikeouts]. That tells you what our defense did today,” Workman said.
Grant Bentley got the start on the mound for Northmor and gave up two earned runs in eight innings of work. Bentley did not allow a run until the fifth inning, he was dealing.
Northmor opened the game with a run in the first inning, though they would not score again till the seventh. Andrew Armrose hit into a fielder’s choice, but an overthrow by the shortstop allowed Max Lower to race home to get his team on the board.
The game would quickly move through four innings until the Spartans were able to get on the board in the fifth. JT Snivley sent a ground ball through the left-field side to give Pleasant their first run. Nik Osborn laid down a sacrifice bunt that score a teammate, giving the Spartans a 2-1 lead.
That score held into the seventh inning, Golden Knights had to score, or else they were heading home and their season was over.
On the second pitch that Lower saw, he sent it to the center field fence for a double. The blast scored Marcus Cortez to tie the game.
Between the seventh inning and the end of the game, Pleasant loaded the bases multiple times, but Northmor’s toughness took over. The Golden Knights were able to get out of jam after jam.
“Every inning from the seventh on was one of those helpless feelings that you have to go out there and get three outs,” Workman explained. “That’s why you love being a home team. Grant and Drew did a heck of a job.”
Nathan Newell went the first six innings for the Spartans and allowed no earned runs on four hits. Max Kellogg took over for Newell and pitched a stellar eight innings in relief action. Kellogg struck out 12 batters with his hard-throwing ways.
After multiple innings of having no base runners, Northmor was able to break the ice in the top of the fifteenth inning.
Griffin Workman started the inning by wearing a pitch on the lower back. Then, Bentley was able to reach base on an error. With two outs, Drew Hammond stepped up and had the biggest hit of his young high school career. Hammond drove in Bentley with a line drive to center field.
“They scratched and clawed there at the end,” Workman said proudly. “Drew [Hammond] came up with a big bit. Drew hasn’t hit a whole lot this year, we had someone struggling in his spot and he came through big.”
Cortez was able to draw a walk to bring in another run.
Hammond pitched the final seven innings for Northmor. Despite giving up six walks, Hammond was clutch when his team needed him, which includes striking out the final batter.
“We just made plays when we needed to make them. The pitchers threw strikes and made a big pitch when they needed it.”
Northmor will play on Thursday for a district title. The Golden Knights will match up with Liberty Union (23-5) at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.