Johnstown Independent

Northridge Roundup

Baseball team eyes Fredericktown, MSL title

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Northridge High School baseball team is looking to win its first league title since 2002.

After a 3-2 loss to Loudonville on April 25, the Vikings were 8-8 overall and 5-2 in the MBC before playing East Knox on April 26.

Northridge lost its first MBC contest April 15 to Fredericktown 5-4 in eight innings. The Vikings play host to the Freddies in the rematch Tuesday, April 30.

"We hope to be able to get things done so we can be playing to even things up with Fredericktown and battling for our first league title since 2002," coach Jeff Wilson said. "We had (the Freddies) beaten, but we let them tie the game in the seventh and they beat us on a homer in the eighth. We want to prove that we have the goods to go out and win."

The Vikings' 2002 title was their second in a row in the MBC.

Northridge lost a pair of non-league games April 20 against Heath, 5-4 and 4-3, before defeating Johnstown-Monroe 7-4 on April 22 and Danville 14-5 on April 23 in MBC games.

The Vikings led host Johnstown 3-0, but the Johnnies rallied to tie the game at 3 in the sixth. Northridge scored four runs in the seventh.

"The Johnstown game is always going to be good because of the rivalry," Wilson said. "It's always going to be a fight."

Sophomore Brad Wilson (INF) had one double, three singles and three RBI against the Johnnies, and sophomore Greg Wilson (INF) had three singles. Sophomores Clayton Nicks (OF) and Jerrad Carr (C) both singled and had two RBI.

Against Danville, Brad Wilson doubled three times, singled once and had five RBI, and Nicks had three singles and drove in four. Sophomore Matt Simmons (INF/C) had a double and two singles and Greg Wilson singled twice.

Softball team suffers first league loss

The softball team defeated Loudonville 2-1 on April 25, improving to 14-2 overall and 7-1 in the MBC before playing East Knox on April 26.

The Vikings were beaten by Johnstown 11-3 on April 22 for their first league loss.

Freshman Tori Hart (1B) had one triple to lead the four-hit effort.

"We just didn't hit the ball," coach Bobbi Jones said. "(Johnstown pitcher Maddi Lusk) was throwing the drop ball, and we weren't swinging at strikes. But (the Johnnies) made the plays they needed to make. We just have to bounce back."

The Vikings did just that the next day with a 3-0 win over Danville as senior Kassi Davison picked up the win while striking out 11 and walking three.

Senior outfielders Faith Hiser and Taylor Mann both had three hits.

Davison also got the win as Northridge defeated Utica 17-7 on April 19. Hart homered and doubled, sophomore Megan Hatfield (3B) had four hits, sophomore Mikaela Pankuch (INF) had a double and an RBI and freshman Savannah Legg (INF) had an RBI double.

Rucker takes over girls basketball team

Joe Rucker is Northridge's new girls basketball coach.

He helped rebuild the Mount Vernon girls basketball program over the past three seasons, but uncertainty with the future of Yellow Jackets athletics prompted the move to Northridge.

"They are threatening to cut sports if the levy is not passed (May 7)," said Rucker, a 2000 graduate of Coshocton who earned bachelor's degrees in history and communications from Marietta College and a master's in education from Muskingum University. "When I saw the Northridge job was open, I was interested because it seemed like a good fit. I live in Johnstown, and also I didn't want to be on the outside looking in if they don't have sports (at Mount Vernon)."

Rucker started his career at Newton (N.C.) Fred T. Foard High School, coaching for four seasons before going to Mount Vernon.

The Yellow Jackets went 3-18 in his first season before improving to 7-14 in 2011-12 and 13-11 last season.

The Vikings finished 2-21 last season under first-year coach Fred Davis.

"It seems like a similar situation as when I came to Mount Vernon," said Rucker, a social studies teacher at Mount Vernon. "(Northridge) is kind of like a diamond in the rough.

"I see (the Vikings) going into a bigger and better league (moving from the MBC to the Licking County League). The competition may be tougher, but you have to play against good competition if you want to get better and be ready come tournament time."

Girls track team edged by one point

The girls track and field team finished second (101) behind host Fredericktown (102) on April 23 in a four-team meet that included Centerburg and Danville. The Northridge boys were fourth (41) behind champion Fredericktown (105).

The girls 400-meter relay of junior Hayley Menix, senior Hannah Shank, senior Caitlyn Tulloss and sophomore Ellie Shedloski won in 55.1 seconds, and the same four won the 800 relay in 1:54.

Individual winners were Menix in the long jump (15 feet, 8 inches), senior Taylor Rose in the 200 (29.5), Shank in the 300 hurdles (52.5), Shedloski in the 100 (13.5) and Tulloss in the 400 (1:07).

Seniors Tony Shore (100, 11.5) and Nathan Wigal (1,600, 5:11) won for the boys team.

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