Johnstown Independent

Northridge Roundup

Loss in regional still stings baseball team

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Storm Strout was still disappointed days after the fact.

The senior for the Northridge High School baseball team said he was "still not over" the Vikings relinquishing a four-run lead in the seventh inning of a Division III regional final May 31 against Hamilton Badin. They lost 9-6 in eight innings at the Athletes in Action complex in Xenia.

"You have one out and no one on base, and you think everything is fine," said Strout, who played shortstop and outfield and pitched for the Vikings. "The next thing you know, the tying run's coming to the plate.

"I'm still not over it. In retrospect, we had a great season, but it's still hard to think about it that way. We went further than any Northridge (baseball) team had gone ... and could have gone further."

Northridge led 6-2 after six innings, but Badin took advantage of two errors, a walk and a hit batter to score four times in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 6.

"When the tying run came to the plate, I tried to call time and make sure (sophomore pitcher) Brad (Wilson) knew it was the tying run, but he waved me off," Strout said. "I think he was just trying to concentrate on the batter. I yelled in that (the hitter) was the tying run. Next thing I knew the tying run was on second. It was that fast."

In the eighth, Badin's Alex Holderbach hit a two-run single and Matt Kreke added an RBI double off Strout, enabling the Rams to earn their 11th trip to the state tournament.

Northridge finished 20-11.

"This was a big game on a big stage and you could expect that the kids would show some nerves," coach Jeff Wilson said. "We won a lot of games this year like this (by coming back and) winning by a run or two. (Badin) did that this time."

The start of the game was delayed 3 hours, 22 minutes because of bad weather, but after play began, the Vikings quickly took a 4-0 lead.

Brad Wilson had an RBI double in the first inning, driving in sophomore Greg Wilson for a 1-0 lead.

The Vikings scored three times in the second, the rally started by consecutive doubles from senior Gavin Kyle and Strout. Senior Ross Wilson had an RBI groundout and sophomore Clayton Nicks added an RBI single.

Sophomore Matt Simmons singled to lead off the third and later scored on a single by Ross Wilson. Freshman Ethan Chalfant added a single and scored on a passed ball to extend Northridge's lead to 6-1.

Starting pitcher Ross Wilson gave up two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings with two strikeouts and four walks. Nicks, Brad Wilson, Strout and junior Morgan Wright followed in relief.

Shank misses state track by one place

Senior Hannah Shank missed qualifying for the Division II state track and field meet in the girls 300-meter hurdles by one place while competing in the regional held May 30 and June 1 at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.

Shank finished fifth (49.46 seconds) as the top four in each event advanced to state June 7 and 8 at Ohio State. North Bend Taylor's Lizzi Lakamp was fourth (49.13).

"Hannah did really well," said coach Jeff Dingess, who completed his first season. "(After tearing an ACL while falling after hitting a hurdle in her junior preseason) she battled a stutter-step all year, but kept getting better and better with her best time (49.28) coming in (the regional) preliminaries (May 30)."

The Vikings tied Buckeye Valley for 26th (7 points) at regional behind champion Eastmoor Academy (82) as 38 teams scored.

Junior Hayley Menix was sixth in the high jump (5 feet, 1 inch) and sophomore Ellie Shedloski was ninth in the long jump (16-5 3/4). Senior Caitlyn Tulloss was 12th in the 400 (1:04.77).

The 800 relay of Menix, Shedloski, Tulloss and Shank was 10th (1:49.43).

"Caitlyn was sick and almost didn't run the 400," Dingess said. "She was really dizzy after running the (800 relay) and I didn't think she would be able to run the 400. I think she just wanted to make sure that she ran that race. She didn't want to be a scratch in her final high school event."

The boys did not have a regional participant and did not score in the 13-team district 2 meet, which was held May 21, 22 and 25 at Westerville South and won by Caledonia River Valley (128).

The girls finished fifth (46) in district 2 behind champion Eastmoor (144).

On May 14 in the MBC meet, the girls finished fourth (106.5) behind Fredericktown (145), Johnstown-Monroe (133.5) and host Loudonville (132) and ahead of Centerburg (55), Danville (44), East Knox (25) and Utica (9).

The boys were sixth (62.5) behind Fredericktown (130), Utica (124.5), Centerburg (108), Loudonville (92.5) and East Knox (76) and ahead of Danville (46.5) and Johnstown (15).

"To think how far we came from last year is amazing. We placed higher in every meet than we did last year," said Dingess, whose program had 14 athletes last year and 33 this season. "The increase in numbers helped and I also got a lot of great support and input from (former) coach (Mike) Dudgeon and (former) coach (Gene) Weil. They were incredible."

Seniors for the boys team were Zack Rudy, Alex Shedloski, Tony Shore, Hayden Warner, Nathan Wigal and Kyle Wilbur. Taylor Rose, Shank and Tulloss were seniors for the girls team.

"The seniors were the heart and soul of this team," Dingess said. "You have Caitlyn and Hannah, who were co-valedictorians, and Taylor Rose just worked hard to keep getting better. The boys had great kids like Zack Rudy and Nathan Wigal, who worked hard to make everyone better."

Expected back for the boys are juniors Brandon Eckstein and Ian Ware and freshmen Adam Eckstein, Colin Evans, Logan Parker, Collin Remy, Sam Shultz, Zach Smith, Noah Tornes, Zach Weaver and Jordan Wolfe.

The girls team also expects to return juniors Addison Anderson, Jana Choberka, Kaitlyn Garee, Christa Patton and Katie Pileski, sophomores Ana Carpenter, Sarah George, Belinda Marcum and Cortney Schneider and freshmen Jillian Choberka, Anita Shultz and Haley Trimble.

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