The Northfield baseball team took another step towards defending their state title Monday, erupting in the first inning and then hanging to defeat Lapel 8-6 in their first game of the Wabash regional.
Being the visitors on the score board the Norse gave starting pitcher Andy Roser some breathing room before he ever stepped on the mound. With one out Adam Roser singled and was followed by a Ryan Keaffaber bunt single. Andy Roser then singled to set the stage for Shane Vigar, who came through with a 2 rbi single to give the Norse a 2-0 lead. After the Vigar single, Joseph Ross did the same, driving in a run to go up 3-0. With two outs Bryce Kendall remained hot, driving home a run and was followed by Dallas Hovey doing the same to make it 5-0. Lapel would then commit an error that scored Kendall and the Norse led 6-0 before they went on defense. Lapel would answer with two runs in the bottom of the inning and after one Northfield led 6-2.
As hot as the Northfield bats were in the first, they were as cold the next five innings, going scoreless on just one hit and two walks. Lapel broke out the long ball in the bottom of the second, scoring three runs on a three run homer to make it 6-5.
Ryan Keaffaber would replace Roser on the mound in the fourth. Keaffaber struck out the side in the fourth, two more in the fifth and sixth to give the Norse bats one more shot in the seventh with the lead.
In the top of the seventh Andy Roser broke the silence with a shot over the center field fence to give the Norse a little breathing room, but they were not done yet. Shane Vigar drew a walk and with one out Nate Hembree hit in to a fielders choice, moving Vigar to second. Bryce Kendall then reached on a Lapel error as Vigar rounded third to score run number 8. Keaffaber would strike out two and force a ground ball in the bottom of the inning to secure the Northfield 8-6 win and a shot at the regional title Tuesday.
Ryan Keaffaber went 4 innings of relief allowing 0 hits, 1 walk and striking out 9 to improve to 11-1 on the season. The win tied him for first all-time in Indiana with 46 career wins.
Coach Uggen: “We got off to a great start to get the early lead. Unfortunately, we let Andy (Roser) down with a couple errors over two innings that lead to 2 unearned runs and allowed them to cut the lead to 6-5. We were hoping to get
another inning out of Andy but turned to Ryan (Keaffaber) to shut the door which he did. Everyone really stepped up on that first inning and Ryan came up big on the mound and Andy’s homer leading off the 7th was huge. We played kind of
flat in the middle innings but woke up in time to take some pressure off the defense heading to the bottom of the 7th.”
Delphi defeated Alexandria in game and will take on the Norse at 7:00.