The Northfield baseball team was on a mission Monday night. The Norse had won the sectional the previous two years and had defeated two of the best pitchers in the state in Andrew Shepherd and Connor McLaughlin in the sectional to make it to the championship game against Lewis Cass. The Norse did not suffer a let down as they defeated Cass to win their third straight sectional title 7-1.
Starting pitcher Andy Roser also needed some redemption after being ruffed up against Manchester in the afternoon game and got just that. Roser shut down Cass in the top of the first and second, not allowing a base runner. In the bottom of the second the Norse would strike first. Joseph Ross drew a walk and was followed by a bunt from Austin keen that blooped over the third baseman’s head. Collin Dawes would then lay down a bunt that was a bang bang play at first and Ross scored when the first baseman mis-handled the ball, 1-0.
Roser would retire the Kings in order again in the third and had one out in the fourth when he gave up a double. At that point Norse coach Tony Uggen elected to bring in ace Ryan Keaffaber, who had four innings left he could pitch. Keaffaber struck out the first batter he faced and after a walk forced a fly out to get out of the inning. In the bottom of the fourth the Norse made their move. Joseph Ross singled and went to second on a passed ball. Austin Keen drew a walk and was followed by a Collin Dawes bunt single to load the bases. Dallas Hovey would then single home a run to put the Norse up 2-0. With one out Adam Roser cleared the bases with a three run double and was thrown out at third trying to stretch it to a triple and the Norse were in control 5-0. With two outs Tanner Chamberlain walked and Andy Roser singled. Ryan Keaffaber then drew a walk to load the bases again when Joseph Ross came through with a two run single to make it 7-0.
Keaffaber would set the Kings down in order in the fifth and then give up a run in the sixth on a single, a walk and a wild pitch to make it 7-1.
The Norse would load the bases in the sixth with a Ross double, a walk to Keen and Miller being hit by a pitch without scoring.
Keaffaber would take matters in his own hands in the Cass seventh, striking out all three batters to end the game and give the Norse their their straight sectional title.
Uggen: “We played an outstanding game tonight. The pitching was excellent. We put the ball in play offensively and had 3 nice bunt singles to set up scores. The defensive played error free. Great win. We needed Andy (Roser) to bounce back from a tough outing this afternoon and he was superb in retiring 10 straight. That set things up for Ryan (Keaffaber) to take over and he did just that. Joseph (Ross) and Collin Dawes continue to hit very well down the stretch and Adam and Andy Roser continued to be solid at the plate. I am proud of kids as this sectional was a challenge to say the least but they held their own. We are looking forward to another shot in regional. As always, Matt Stone and Wabash HS put on a great sectional.”
Northfield will play the second game of the Wabash regional Saturday at 1:00 against Madison Grant. At 11:00 Seeger plays the winner of the Frankton sectional.