by Gary Andrews
The Northfield baseball team took their annual spring trip to Southern Indiana this past weekend to kick start their defense of last year’s state title.
After falling to Floyd Central Friday and splitting a double header with Austin Saturday, the Norse returned home with a 1-2 record, which is exactly how they started last year.
On April 5, at Floyd Central the Norse trailed 2-0 heading to the third before they made some noise. An Andy Maggart single, which was the lone Norse hit of the game, was followed by four walks to knot the score at 2.
Floyd Central went on to score seven more runs to hand Northfield the loss. The Norse struggled defensively, committing 4 errors.
Pitcher Ryan Keaffaber took the loss, which was just the third loss of his career.
“We played very well for four innings but let this one slip away to a very good baseball team in Floyd Central. Tough loss for Ryan (Keaffaber) who pitched fairly well for the first time out,” said coach Tony Uggen.
In game one of the Saturday double header with Austin, the Norse were cruising with a 2-0 lead behind pitcher Andy Roser, heading to the bottom of the seventh when Austin plated a couple runs to force extra innings. The game would end up going nine innings when the Norse scored in the top of the ninth and held on.
Ryan Keaffaber and Joseph Ross led the Norse with two hits each.
Austin had the winning run at second with one out in the seventh, winning run at third with one out in the eighth and bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, but the Norse held on with some good pitching and defense.
Coach Uggen said “Andy (Roser) pitched very well and got some good relief from Joseph Ross who did what we needed him to do to keep us in it. Andy did a great job coming in to get the final out (pop to Collin Dawes at second). I was especially happy with the fact we didn't panic when we had a couple close calls that didn't go our way late. We could have made that an excuse but we stayed under control and got the job done.”
The Norse fell behind early in game two, trailing 5-0 after two innings. The Norse gave up two walks and committed two errors the first two innings. Northfield would score two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth to trail 7-5 before eventually falling 8-5.
Remington Monce, a freshman, pitched very well over three innings in relief in his debut. Shane Vigar pitched one inning as well allowing a run.
“Our defense was shoddy for the third straight game and you can't do that against decent baseball teams. Austin had five games already under their belts coming in the double header, which helped, but we have to play smarter than we did at times. You have to throw strikes which we didn't early and have to make routine plays which we didn't do well all weekend,” said Coach Uggen.