Northwood baseball edges NB in district semifinal (5-22-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor   
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 21:22
North Baltimore's Jordan Watson slides into second as Northwood's Jack Romstadt attempt to tag him out and teammate Jacob Davenport looks on. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
FINDLAY — Northwood’s baseball team began the season with high expectations.
Now, the Rangers are trying to salvage a disappointing season. So far, they’re doing well.
Justin Rohrs hit a solo home run and Nick Russell added a two-run homer as the Rangers held on for a 3-2 win over North Baltimore in a Division IV district semifinal at Findlay High School. PHOTO GALLERY
Russell also pitched a three-hitter and struck out nine.
The Rangers, 16-10, face Ottawa Hills in Friday’s 7 p.m. district championship game, back at Findlay High School. NB is 16-10.
Northwood built a 3-0 lead on Rohrs’ solo homer leading off the fourth and Russell’s two-run, two-out homer in the fifth.
NB answered with single runs in the sixth and seventh, but couldn’t tie the game. The Tigers had the bases loaded with two out in the seventh, but a strikeout ended the game.
“We don’t want the season to end,” said Russell, one of the team’s seven seniors and 12 lettermen overall. “We played well. It was a good team win.”
Northwood played well last season when it was 17-9 overall and 6-6 in the Toledo Area Athletic Conference before losing to Ottawa Hills in a district final.
With many of their key players back, the Rangers figured to be even better this season.
But Northwood coach Dave Russell said “internal issues” hurt the team early this season. The Rangers are 6-4 in the TAAC. Those issues have since been resolved and the Rangers have played well late in the season. They won seven straight games at one point.
“We’re playing our best baseball at the right time,” coach Russell said. “One of our pre-game speeches was let’s not live life yet. Once the season is over, it’s off to college, work or whatever they’re going to do, so let’s keep playing and keep the season going for as long as we can.”
“We know, as seniors, it’s do or die,” Nick Russell said. “That’s a great motivator. We thought we were all that at the start of the season and it showed in our play. But we’re putting everything together now.”
Nick Russell was sharp over the final five innings after a 101-minute rain delay through two scoreless innings. After the delay, the sun came out and the wind was much less of a factor.
The right-hander kept NB off-balance by mixing his fastball and curveball, and by using both sides of the plate.
“I was surprised my arm felt a lot better after the delay,” Nick Russell said. “In the past, my arm would get sore if I would warm up a couple of times. The wind died down, so my curve was moving more. The first couple innings, the curve wasn’t moving much.”
“We were worried about his arm after the delay,” coach Russell said. “We were thinking heavy about whether we’d take him out, but we decided he’s a senior, he’s our leader, so we’re going to stick with him and he proved that. He pitched well.”
NB didn’t have a hit until Jordan Watson singled to center to start the sixth.
During the early innings, NB hit a number of balls hard right at the Rangers.
“Russell kept us off-balance (after the delay),” NB coach Marty Gazarek said. “Early in the game, we were hitting him hard and I thought we were going to get to him.”
The Rangers had two errors, both coming in the last two innings. Northwood’s defense was good overall, including a diving catch by center fielder Evan Perkins with a runner at first to end the third.
NB, which had at least 10 hits in its last four games entering Wednesday, left nine runners on, five in scoring position.
“Our bats weren’t really clicking today,” Gazarek said. “It seems like we didn’t get the big hit. Over the last week, we’ve been getting some big, big hits.”
Rohrs and Russell both lined homers off Watson, who pitched an eight-hitter. NB’s ace struck out 11 and walked one, that an intentional walk in the seventh.
Nick Russell and Watson are summer teammates on the Pemberville Legion team, which is coached by Dave Russell.
“If he gets a one-or two-run lead, he’s locked on and it’s tough to beat him,” Nick Russell said. “Getting ahead was big.”
Russell’s homer followed a two-out double by John Segura, who finished 3-for-4 with two doubles.
“(Segura’s) double was huge because it brought their best hitter up and they took advantage of it. That’s what good hitters do,” Gazarek said.
Despite the loss, NB can clinch the Midland Athletic League championship with a win over Carey in a game that is yet to be rescheduled.
NB is 8-1 in the MAL, while Hopewell-Loudon, Seneca East and New Riegel have finished league play at 8-2.

NORTHWOOD    000    120    0—3    8    2
NB    000    001    1—2    2    2
HITS — (NW) Segura 3 Habel 2, Russell, Rohrs, Schell; (NB) J. Watson, G. Boyer. 2B — (NW) Segura 2. HR — (NW) Russell, Rohrs. RUNS — (NW) Segura, Russell, Rohrs; (NB) J. Watson, Pelton. RBI — (NW) Russell 2, Rohrs; (NB) Frost, S. Watson. SB — (NW) Russell 2. SAC — (NW) Davenport 2; (NB) Solly. SAC FLY — (NB) S. Watson. HBP — (NW) Perkins (by J. Watson); (NB) Ishmael (by Russell), S. Watson (by Ishmael). LOB —Northwood 7, NB 9.

IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO
Russell (WP)    7    2    2    0    4    9
J. Watson (LP)    7    8    3    3    1    11
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May 2013 10:16

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