Northside baseball coach David Smart knew Monday's Game 3 against Whitewater at Northside would come down to which team executed better.
In the end, the Whitewater Wildcats were that team as they turned a double play in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored three runs in the top of the ninth to post a 4-1 victory in nine innings and advance to the second round of the GHSA Class AAAAA state playoffs.
"I thought we played well, played hard and our guys pitched well," said Smart. "Whitewater just executed when they had to and we didn't. That was the difference in the game."
Northside had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out with the score tied 1-1. However, Whitewater pitcher Cam Wesoloski induced a groundball to second baseman Justin Trammell, who threw home to catcher Evan Mask for the first out and Mask threw to first baseman Hunter Bening to finish the double play and get the Wildcats out of the inning.
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In the top of the ninth, Whitewater (22-7) loaded the bases with one out before Caleb Norton and Mask each got RBI singles to put the Wildcats up 3-1. Trammell then lifted a sacrifice fly to bring home another run and Whitewater took a 4-1 lead to the bottom of the ninth.
The Patriots (20-11) didn't go quietly, getting runners on first and second with one out to bring the tying run to the plate. However, Wesoloski got a strikeout and fielder's choice to end it and send Whitewater into a second-round matchup at Lakeside-Evans Wednesday.
Northside had a chance to win the game even before it went to extra innings, holding a 1-0 lead going into the top of the seventh. Patriots starter Drew Haywood allowed the Wildcats' leadoff batter to reach on an error before being lifted in favor of Chase Slocumb. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second, Norton singled and Mask grounded out to bring home the run and tie the game, 1-1.
Haywood, just a freshman, pitched six-plus innings and gave up one unearned run on two hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He threw 67 pitches, 45 of which were strikes.
"Drew was going to start Game 3 for us, whenever it was," said Smart. "He gave us more innings than we thought he would. We thought we'd get five out of him at the most, but he kept getting guys out. In the seventh inning, when he let the leadoff guy get on, we felt like we needed to go and get him because he'd never pitched that deep into a game for us."
Chad Pigg was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Rob Shayne was 2-for-4 and scored a run for the Patriots. Slocumb took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits with a strikeout in three innings of work.
For Whitewater, Norton was 2-for-4 with an RBI and the trio of Bening, Nick Fuerstenau and Turner each had a hit and scored a run for the Wildcats. Wesoloski got the win with four innings of shutout relief, allowing two hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Game 1 starter Jake Lee worked the first five innings, allowing one run on three hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Monday at Northside
Class AAAAA State Playoffs
Whitewater 000 000 103 --4 7 2
Northside 000 100 000 --1 5 1
WP--Cam Wesoloski. LP--Chase Slocumb. Leading hitters--Whitewater: Caleb Norton 2-4, RBI, Evan Mask 1-3, RBI, Hunter Bening and Taylor Turner 1-3, run, Nick Fuerstenau 1-4, 2 runs. Northside: Chad Pigg 2-4, RBI, Rob Shayne 2-4, run.
Records: Whitewater 22-7, Northside 20-11. Next: Whitewater at Lakeside-Evans (Class AAAAA State Playoffs Second Round) Wednesday