Prep Baseball: Northgate blanks Forest ParkBy CHRIS GOLTERMANN
Grinding midway through a menu of three consecutive Region 4-AAAAA baseball games this week, Northgate found a creamy center at home a day before the main course arrives in town.
On Thursday, Forest Park was no match for the Vikings, who had their way with the Panthers in a 10-0 victory that lasted only five innings.
The Vikings (6-1, 4-1) now go for a sweep of region opponents this week starting today at home against undefeated McIntosh at 5 p.m., in a chance to regain a share of first place in 4-AAAAA.
The Chiefs (7-0, 5-0) have won seven consecutive games in dominating fashion, only one of which has been by a margin of less than nine runs while outscoring opponents 86-14. Only Mundy’s Mill has managed to score more than five, doing so in a 9-8 loss on March 8.
An afternoon after gutting out a 10-5 victory at Union Grove where Northgate had to battle back from an early two-run deficit with help from Spencer Perry’s three-run homer in the third, the Vikings made quick work of Forest Park with eight players posting at least one hit.
Buddy Green led another nine Vikings that drove in runs while finishing 1-for-2 with 2 RBIs.
Fleckenstein, meanwhile, retired his first 11 batters in order and struck out five consecutive batters between the second and third innings. Of 58 pitches, 42 were strikes while failing to yield a walk to go with his eight strikeouts.
Junior Rayvon Elliott legged out a single with two outs in the fourth to foil the Northgate senior’s bid at a no-hitter.
Fleckenstein, though, emphatically ended the game on back to back strikeouts as the Panthers No. 6, 7, 8 and 9 hitters never put the ball in play while contributing six of his eight K’s.
The Vikings got the only runs they needed with a two-run first paced by senior Tyler Dahlberg’s 13th RBI of the season to score Armond Upshaw from second base. Dahlberg advanced to third before scoring on Jordan Schmits’ sac fly.
Green then doubled the lead to 4-0 with a two-run single in the second after a leadoff walk to Jeffrey Ginn and a double by catcher Jonathan Hamilton on a 2-for-2 outing at the plate.
Leadoff hitter James Poropatic immediately pushed the lead further with an RBI single of his own. Spencer Perry’s two-out single to right-center ended a four-run rally in the second to take a commanding 6-0 lead.
After scoring twice in the third off three walks, a hit batsman, an error and Kevin Teasley’s sacrifice fly, Northgate pushed home its final two runs on three hits, two of which coming on consecutive RBI singles by Ginn and Hamilton.