Published Friday, March 08, 2013
By DOUG GORMAN
Northgate baseball coach Greg Hamilton didn’t have too much to say to his team after Thursday night’s 5-1 loss to Region 4-AAAAA Ola.
Instead, he let his actions speak for the post-game speech he might have delivered.
Minutes after the Vikings’ game with the Mustangs ended, Northgate gathered in left field and began running sprints from one side of the outfield to the other.
There’s nothing unusual about running after a baseball game, but this time in between, the team dropped and did a series of crunches.
It was Hamilton’s message about making too many errors.
“We just didn’t play well and we are paying for it now,” he said as he team continued to run in the outfield.
The Vikings fell behind early against the Mustangs and finished the game with just three hits and five errors.
With the loss, Northgate (5-3, 2-1) had its five-game winning streak and lost for the first time in Region 4-AAAAA play while Ola (6-1, 2-1) moved into a tie with the Vikings in the standings.
“There are going to be days when we don’t hit or field well, but you can’t let that happen in this region,” he said.
Despite entering the game on a roll after three solid pitching performances, Hamilton was a little bit worried about the contest with the Mustangs.
“We didn’t practice well yesterday, and I think it carried over until today,” he said.
Ola took advantage of Northgate’s mistakes in the four innings while managing to push across runs following either walks or errors in the first, second fifth and sixth innings.
In three of the rallies, the Mustangs scored after getting their lead-off hitter on base.
Ola took control of the game in the first inning, scoring two runs as starter Robert Massenburg walked the bases loaded. Although he ended up striking out the side in the inning, the Mustangs scored the first run of the game when Andrew Sarsany advanced home on an error.
Massenburg, who had 12 strikeouts in last Friday’s region win at Starr’s Mill, struck out one more batter in the second, but left after just 1 2/3 innings.
The Mustangs added to their lead in the top of the second when sophomore catcher Carter Perkins drove home Sarsany and Cale Gibson with a base hit.
Blake Whitney entered the game in relief and gave up just three hits striking out a batter while pitching into the sixth.
In the bottom of the second, Whitney also helped the Viking score their only run when he laid down a bunt in an attempt to move Chase Allen over to second. Ola committed its only error on the play when the ball was thrown away, allowing Whitney to advance to second and Allen to third.
Allen scored one batter later when Conner Wilson grounded out on a hard-hit ball.
Northgate committed back-to-back errors in the fifth helping Ola increase its lead to the 4-1.
The Mustangs added the last run of the game in the sixth when Perkins drove in Ryan Jon off Viking reliever Buddy Green.
Perkins ended the day with three RBIs to pace both team’s offenses.
Despite the loss, second base Tyler Dahlberg twice missed hitting the ball out of the park with a pair of doubles while staying hot at the plate. Both balls bounced hard against the top of the fence in left-center field as Dahlberg went 2-for-3 to raise his batting average above .500 for the season.
Northgate returns home Monday for a region game against Forest Park.