Northgate strikes early to pound Drew, 17-2
by Doug Gorman
It didn’t take the Northgate Vikings very long to set the tone for Tuesday’s Region 4-AAAAA baseball game against visiting Drew.
After exploding for nine runs in the first inning, the Vikings rolled to a 17-2 victory in a game called after four innings.
The victory helped Northgate get back on track in the 4-AAAAA standings at 5-2 after falling last Friday to McIntosh.
The Vikings (8-4) scored at least one run in every inning but the second, and outhit Drew 13-2 while taking advantage of five Titans errors.
Even though Drew (3-8, 1-6) came into the game with a losing record, Northgate head coach Greg Hamilton told his team in advance not to overlook the Titans.
“You never know,” he said. ”You have to play the game. I always tell my guys, you have to play hard every pitch and every play. You have to make every play count and you have to just try and get better.”
Two pitchers combined on the win for the Vikings. Matt Farmakis started the game and picked up the victory for the Vikings. Farmakis allowed two hits and struck out five in three innings.
Robert Massenburg pitched one inning of no-hit baseball, striking out two and walking one.
The Vikings sent 13 men to the plate and scored nine runs on six hits in the first inning.
Chase Allen and Armond Upshaw both had doubles to pace the Vikings’ marathon first inning.
Farmakis set the tone for the game in the top of the first delivering only 14 pitches as he faced just three batters, striking out two.
Drew had its best inning in the top the third producing its only two runs of the game, all coming from the bottom of its order to cut the lead to 9-2.
Tracey Gaston started the inning with a single and later scored on Chris Colter’s base hit. Colter added Drew’s last run of the game when Mason Williams reached on an error.
It was as close as the Titans could get.
(To view photos from this game, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture/ and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)
Northgate added five more runs in the bottom of the third to increase the lead to 14-2. An RBI triple from Upshaw and a run-scoring double by Jeffery Ginn helped pace the inning.
Massenburg pitched around a threat in the fourth giving up two walks, but the Titans were unable to bring either runner across to score.
The Vikings’ senior pitcher gave his team a scare when he took a line drive off his back, that ricocheted to third for an eventual groundout. Massenburg came back to finish the inning with a strikeout.
Northgate ended it in the fourth inning after adding three more runs to finish off the Titans by the 15-run mercy rule.
Pinch hitters Connor Wilson and Blake Whitney added RBIs in the bottom of the fourth to help end the game.
Offensively, the Vikings were led by three RBIs from Upshaw and Dahlberg. Ginn finished the day with two doubles and an RBI. Upshaw ended the day with a double and a triple to go along with his three RBIs.
Northgate returns to action at Mt. Zion on Thursday before traveling to Mundy’s Mill on Friday.
Next week, the Vikings some major tests with three games – on the road against Creekside before playing at Starr’s Mill back at home on Wednesday and traveling to Whitewater next Friday.
“It will be like going to death row next week,” Hamilton said. “We are trying to just do our best and get better, but we aren’t there yet.”