Northwood wins 2-A baseball series opener over Scorpions
With two strikes on him, North Brunswick center fielder Kevon Perkins was comfortably dug in at the batter’s box. Having slammed a towering home run and a two-run single in his first two at-bats against Northwood ace Robert Straughn on Friday night, his confidence was understandable.
One pitch later Perkins was an ice statue, staring down at the plate in disbelief, after Straughn broke off a roundhouse curve that froze him for a called third strike.
Straughn, still unbeaten at 13-0, went to his bender time and again in pitching a complete game with eight strikeouts as the Chargers won 6-3 to grab the opener in a best-of-three 2A Eastern Regional series of the state baseball playoffs. Northwood travels tonight to Leland for Game 2.
“I was having a little trouble with it earlier, but I finally got a handle on it. When he gets used to that pitch it’s something special,” Northwood catcher Andrew Webster said of Straughn’s junk.
After Northwood went up 3-1 in the second inning and the Scorpions came back to tie in the third, Webster said “it got a little nerve wracking. But I have confidence in my pitcher. He picked it up around he fourth inning.”
Webster came up big to lead the Chargers at the plate, going 3 for 4 with two RBI.
“Wherever it was pitched I took it that way,” Webster said.
“It’s a good team win. We’ve got two games to win one game and that’s the best situation you could have,” he said.
Northwood coach Rick Parks said he was not pleased with the free passes Straughn was giving up, but “He threw four scoreless innings there to end the game,” and that was a gutsy comeback.
“We’re not playing for a Game 3 or anything. We’re going down tomorrow to win it,” Parks said. “I’m starting Steven Strong. He’s 5-2 on the year so I feel good. He’s beat some big-time programs this year.”
“I feel good about us going back to our home field. We’ve got a lot of fight in our team so we’ll be fine. We’ll bounce back,” North Brunswick coach Dustin Medlin said.
The Scorpions scored first and scored on Kevon Perkins homer in the top of the second.
But the Chargers came right back with a three-run burst in the bottom of the inning, the key blow being a two-run single by Webster.
Shortstop Dylan Stasko started the rally with a single, moved to second on a single by center fielder Chase Golden, and scored on a single by left fielder Jordan Rigsbee. Webster’s base knock then cleared the bases for a 3-1 lead.
North Brunswick designated hitter Jacob Shumate ignited a two-run third to tie the game after he drew a walk, moved to second on a single by first baseman Tyler Barnes and advanced to third on a walk to pitcher Randy Clark. Shumate and Barnes scored on a single by Kevon Perkins with still just one out.
Northwood avoided further damage when Webster threw Clark out trying to steal home on a pass ball and shortstop Shelton Perkins grounded out.
The Chargers put together a three-run explosion to go up 6-3 in the fifth and chased Scorpions starter Clark.
Webster singled and moved up when first baseman Ross Cooper reached on an error. Third baseman Trevor Hackney drilled a single to plate Webster, and Stasko and designated hitter Jonathan McKee got back-to-back walks to force in Cooper. Center fielder Chase Golden dropped a perfect suicide bunt down first base to bring in Hackney.
Parks said knocking Clark out of the game was a huge development because it forced Medlin to bring in reliever Jacob Shumate.
“Shumate’s their ace. He comes in about the fifth or sixth inning, and that’s good when you play Tuesdays and Fridays,” Parks said. “Hopefully we made him throw enough pitches where tomorrow he brings him in the fifth or sixth and he won’t be as effective.”
Northwood 6, N. Brunswick 3
N. Brunswick 012 000 0 — 3 7 2
Northwood 030 030 x — 6 10 0
N. Brunswick, Randy Clark, Jacob Shumate (5) and Shak Graham; Northwood, Robert Straughn and Andrew Webster. WP—Straughn (13-0); LP—Clark (3-3). Leading hitters—N. Brunswick, Kevon Perkins 2-4 (HR, 3 RBI); Tyler Barnes 2-4, Shelton Perkins 1-2 (2B), Davon Perkins 1-3, Jared Strange 1-3; Northwood, Andrew Webster, 3-4 (2 RBI), Trevor Hackney 2-4 (1 RBI), Chase Golden 1-2 (1 RBI), Dylan Stasko 1-2, Jordan Rigsbee 1-3 (1 RBI).
Records—Northwood 24-5, N. Brunswick 15-11.