HUBER HEIGHTS — A pair of Warriors errors and two Northmont hits enabled the Thunderbolts to jump out to an early 1-0 lead Friday at Wayne en route to a 7-2 victory.
“Justin Combs got hurt last night and Will Miller filled in and did a great job behind the plate and Jason Kohr did a great job by giving us seven innings on the mound,” said Northmont Coach Chuck Harlow. “A couple of guys are swinging the bat really well. Pullins is starting to swing it really good. You never know man. Maybe we will be that team that surprises everybody in the tournament. Who knows? I certainly think we can if we can just keep it together.”
Caden Cronebach reached first in the top of the 1st inning on a shallow pop-up to left with Wayne’s left fielder and shortstop colliding and the ball dropping to the ground. Garrett McGough also reached on a flare to shallow center with a similar mix up between the infielder and center fielder. Adam Bendinelli singled to right with Cronebach advancing to third and later scoring on a single by Ryan Pullins.
Wayne loaded the bases in the bottom of the first but an inning ending 4-6-3 double play ended the threat.
Northmont added a run in the top of the 3rd when Bendinelli drew a two-out walk; stole second and scored on a single by Pullins.
The Warriors tied it in the bottom of the 3rd. Kevin Baugh reached on an error and stole second. Tyler Wynkoop drew a walk and Jacob Duncan drew a walk to load the bases. James Ganion hit into 4-6-3 double play that allowed Baugh to score and Wynkoop later scored on a wild pitch.
The Thunderbolts took the lead for good in the top of the 4th. Jon Eber drew a walk and advanced to second when Jacob Richey reached first on an infield error. Dalton McClaskey came in to pinch run for Eber. Cronebach belted a two-out double off the right field fence just inside the foul line to drive-in McClaskey and Richey to give Northmont a 4-2 lead.
Northmont added two more runs in the top of the 5th with a triple by Bendinelli and an RBI double by Pullins who later scored on a ground out. The Bolts added another run in the 7th when McClaskey singled and later scored when Will Miller got caught in a rundown between second and third.
With the victory Northmont improved to 14-11 while Wayne fell to 8-16.
The downside for Wayne was that it committed four errors. The upside is that nobody struck out and the Warriors generated eight hits.
“Yeah, we made contact but we hit into double plays with runners in scoring position and never came through when we needed to and made bone headed mistakes on defense,” said Wayne Coach Joe Yount. “For the love of me I can’t figure out why we get two outs in two straight innings and then walk the number nine hitter in one of those innings and open the door for them to score. Of course, there is the obligatory error after that and then we gave up two runs. We continue to play well enough to lose and I hope we are not happy with that. Sometimes I get the feeling we may be, but I hope we aren’t and I know there are some players here that are determined to have a successful tournament. With the pitching we have we can make a run, but you can’t make a run if you don’t do the little things right.”
Wayne opens sectional tournament play Monday at Miamisburg. The winner advances to face Northmont on Thursday at Northmont.
NMT 101 220 1 – 7 9 2
WAY 002 000 0 – 2 8 4
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind