All season long they have described the momentum of their play as a runaway train racing down the railroad track. You hear the players calling out to each other, “The train keeps rolling!” as a reminder that they are all riding together in the same direction this year. This train ride started in the early spring when the Westerville North High School baseball team began experiencing success in Myrtle Beach and Wednesday night the train passed through Hilliard, Ohio. The #23 seeded Warriors won their sectional final game against the #12 seeded Hilliard Davidson baseball team by the score of 7-5.
Yesterday’s win was the Warriors second tournament game of the week. On Monday, the Warriors hosted the #43 seeded Westland Cougars and won the game by a score of 10-0 in a contest that only went five innings.
Pitching for the Warriors in Monday’s victory was senior Tom Armstrong. Working very efficiently, Armstrong allowed just four hits by the Cougar offense over the course of the game. Offensively, the Warriors received three hits by senior Justin Hrinko and two hits by junior Josh Houston. Each managed to bunt for a hit during the game which put a lot of pressure on the Cougar defense. Also leading the charge by scoring three runs for the Warriors was sophomore Adam Stefanelli. Other Warriors scoring two runs a piece were Houston, Gavin Perkins, and Joe Legin. The game ended when the tenth run was scored on a bases loaded walk-off double by Jackson Blackstone who smashed a ball over the head of Westland’s right fielder.
Last night’s battle with the #12 seeded Wildcats of Hilliard Davidson was a fantastic baseball game. The two teams met twice in a double header earlier this season and in both games the Wildcats managed to rally back in the late innings to defeat the Warriors by scores of 9-3 and 4-3. Last night’s sectional final match-up was a different story though as the Warriors managed to open up a 7-1 lead by scoring six runs in the top of the fourth inning. They then used the valuable experience gained from the previous two meetings to prove that the “third time’s the charm” as they fought off the late inning rally attempt by Davidson.
Pitching for the Warriors and earning the win was senior Macguire George, who threw 6 ⅓ innings giving up six hits, four earned runs and striking out five batters. This performance came just three hours after George signed his letter of intent to further his education and continue his baseball career next year at Tiffin University. George started the bottom of the 7th inning, but with pitch count limits approaching, the Warriors turned the ball over to junior Jack Murgas to close out the win for the Warriors. Murgas and the defense were able to pull together to shut down a last inning comeback attempt by the Wildcats and seal the upset victory for Westerville North.
The Warrior offense came out swinging from the start and was able to score one run in the top of the first inning. Justin Hrinko doubled to left field and was then knocked in on a line drive base hit by designated hitter, Josh Stover. Jackson Blackstone followed by crushing a ball off the fence in left field, but both he and Stover would be stranded on the bases to end the Warrior’s top of the first inning.
Hilliard Davidson was able to bounce back and score one run of their own in the bottom of the first inning. The game would then remain scoreless until the top of the 4th inning when the Warrior offense would bang out six runs and knock the Davidson starting pitcher out of the game. Macguire George started off the top of the fourth inning with a bloop single to right field. Joe Legin then hit a single that was just out of reach for the Wildcat second baseman to make a play on and moved George to third base. The next batter was Josh Houston who then reached on the third consecutive hit in the inning while driving George to score from third base.
The fourth batter of the inning was Chad Gordish who recorded the fourth consecutive single of the inning which scored Joe Legin and Josh Houston. Gordish was able to advance to second after the ball was misplayed by one of the out fielders. Later in the inning, after a sacrifice bunt by Jack Murgas to move Gordish to third base, followed by Gavin Perkins getting hit by a pitch, Justin Hrinko hit his second double of the game. The hit would score Gordish from third base. Both Perkins and Hrinko would then score on wild pitches later in the inning. At the conclusion of the fourth inning the Warriors held a strong 7-1 lead.
In the remaining innings of the game, the Hilliard Davidson squad did their best to chip away at the lead scoring one run in the fifth-inning, two in the sixth-inning and one more in the seventh before the Warriors were able to close out the game. It was a truly a great win for the team and has the Warriors excited for the next challenge ahead!
The next game in this tournament run for the Warriors will be the District Semifinal versus the #8 seed Big Walnut. The location of the contest has not yet been released, but the game will take place on Tuesday, May 16th at 5:00PM. We will get details out as soon as we know where this train is headed next! We hope you will come along for the ride will consider coming out to support our Warrior baseball team! (Special note: At the district tournament games, admission for fans is $7.00 each as set by OHSAA)