Christian Heritage School Lions

April 13, 2013

Area Roundup: Bruins baseball team clinches state berth

TUNNEL HILL — Northwest Whitfield High School’s baseball team got out the broom against its biggest rival Friday night and earned a spot in the state playoffs in the process.

The Bruins got the key two-out hits while Dalton left 10 men on base as Northwest won 6-3 at Richard S. Chumley Field to sweep the week’s Sub-region 7B-4A series between the teams, who began the week tied atop the sub-region standings.

Now the Bruins are guaranteed of the sub-region championship and will face the No. 1 seed from Sub-region 7A-4A in a three-game series for the region title on April 24-25. Both of the No. 1 seeds are guaranteed of making the Class 4A state playoffs and hosting in at least the opening round.

Dalton (10-8, 9-3) plays a three-game series with Heritage-Catoosa next week, and the Cats must take at least two of three games to lock up the sub-region’s No. 2 seed and host the No. 3 seed from the other side with a state playoffs berth on the line. If Heritage were to win the series, then Dalton would drop to the No. 3 seed and have to travel in the region playoffs.

Northwest (17-3, 12-0) will play LaFayette in its final series of the regular season next week.

“It is good to get that top spot and know that we have a state playoff berth as well,” said Northwest coach Todd Middleton. “We will be able to rest some people next week and get ready for the region playoffs.”

The series finale was a much closer game than the two earlier meetings. Northwest won the opener 12-2 in five innings at home on Tuesday and won 11-5 Wednesday at Dalton.

Northwest pitcher Seth Pierce worked on two days rest after throwing fewer than 70 pitches in the opener, but he wasn’t nearly as sharp. Missing away from right-handed hitters, Pierce struggled in both the first and second innings.

A leadoff single by Brandon Dale got Dalton started, and Charlie Martin reached when the throw to first on his sacrifice bunt sailed down the right field line. Grant Sane drew a walk to load the bases, but Pierce responded with a strikeout and induced a grounder to short that was turned into a double play.

In the second, a walk, sacrifice bunt and two more walks loaded the bases with one out, but after pitching into trouble, Pierce pitched out of it with a pair of strikeouts.

“We had our chances and just didn’t take advantage of them,” Dalton coach Shane Ramsey said. “But after the last two games, I was real proud that the boys came out and fought today.”

Northwest scored in each of the first four innings, with A.J. Orozco getting a two-out RBI single in the first and Diego Peralta driving in a pair of runs with a two-out double in the fourth. Two walks, an error on a bunt single and a fielder’s choice gave Northwest two runs in the second for a 3-2 lead, and Orozco had another RBI single in the third.

Dalton scored all of its runs in the fifth on a two-run double by Jake Roberts and a Northwest error, the Bruins’ second miscue of the inning. But Pierce struck out the side in the sixth and sat Dalton down 1-2-3 in the seventh.

“This was good for Seth,” Middleton said. “He hasn’t had to go the distance in a long time, and this will help out a lot to get him used to throwing a little longer.”

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Christian Heritage School Lions
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