Michael Barnabei threw a seven-hitter and Brandon Henson's two-run double in the second inning helped the Pickerington High School Central baseball team hold off visiting Pickerington North 4-3 in an OCC-Ohio Division game April 21.
"He put the team on his shoulders. He delivered exactly what we needed today," Central coach Andy Takos said of Barnabei, who recently committed to Marietta College.
Trezden Johnson's two-run hit highlighted a three-run fifth inning for North, but the Panthers got no closer.
The Tigers, who improved to 5-6 overall and 4-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Grove City on April 23, salvaged a season split with the Panthers. North defeated visiting Central 7-1 on April 16.
Central's win April 21 also put it within a game of co-league leaders Gahanna and Grove City. Gahanna dropped to 5-1 in OCC-Ohio play with a 4-3 loss at Reynoldsburg on April 21, and Grove City improved to that record the same day with a 6-3 win over Newark.
The Panthers dropped to 6-6 overall before playing Briggs on April 22 and took a 3-3 league record into an April 23 game at Reynoldsburg.
In the April 16 game, Justin Childers' 3-for-4, six-RBI day was capped by a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Hayden Ballog and Brendan Green each added three hits for North.
Jacob Flynn's solo home run in the sixth was Central's only run.
The Panthers followed that victory with two more wins, 7-1 over Lancaster on April 17 and 5-2 at Columbus Academy on April 19.
Derrick Herd had three hits and two RBI against Lancaster, and Logan Giddings added two hits and two RBI.
Ballog's two-run double highlighted a five-run seventh for the Panthers at Academy.
The loss to North began a rough patch for Central to end last week. On April 17 at Reynoldsburg, the Tigers gave up 10 runs in the fourth inning and lost 14-7, and they lost at home to Marysville 7-3 on April 19.