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Homestead overpowers Huntington North

RBI: Senior designated hitter Nathan Hall hits an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fourth inning during Huntington North’s 17–2 loss to Homestead on Tuesday.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

BASEBALL

The Huntington North baseball team opened their home schedule on Tuesday with a 17–2 loss to Homestead.

The loss dropped the Vikings’ season record to 1–3.

The Spartans jumped on Huntington North from the get-go, scoring five runs in the top of the first inning to take a commanding 5–0 lead before the Vikings had stepped up to the plate, with four of the Homestead runs coming before an out had been recorded in the contest.

Freshman pitcher Austin Oswalt settled in during the top of the second inning to send down the Spartans one-two-three in the frame and keep the score at 5–0.

Homestead added one run in the top of the third inning to extend their lead to 6–0 before the Spartans tacked on two more runs to start the top of the fourth inning to take an 8–0 advantage and chase Oswalt from the game.

Sophomore pitcher Nicholas Johnson came on in relief, but Homestead continued to pour on the pressure with two more runs after Johnson entered the game, pushing their lead to 10–0.

Huntington North’s offense came to life in the bottom of the fourth, as the first two Vikings reached base. Two batters later, senior designated hitter Nathan Hall got Huntington North on the board with an RBI groundout to score sophomore pinch runner Brooks Nicely and bring the Viking deficit to 12–1.

Johnson then helped his cause in the ensuing at-bat with an RBI single to score senior third baseman Trey Williams to bring the score to 12–2 in favor of the Spartans.

However, Homestead erupted for seven more runs in the top of the fifth, highlighted by a grand slam from Carter Mathison to push their lead to 17–2.

After Huntington North failed to score in the bottom of the fifth inning, the game was called via mercy rule to give the Spartans the victory.

Oswalt picked up the loss on the mound for the Vikings to start his pitching record at 0–1, pitching three and one-third innings while allowing seven hits and nine runs, though two were unearned. Of the 10 outs Oswalt recorded, four came via strikeouts.

Johnson finished the fourth inning for Huntington North, throwing two-thirds of an inning while giving up five hits and seven runs, two of which were unearned.

Hall came on to pitch the fifth inning, allowing just one hit and one unearned run. Hall recorded two of his three outs by striking out Spartan batters.

The Vikings will return to action on Thursday when they travel to face Warsaw. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

SOFTBALL

The Huntington North softball team dropped a heartbreaking 10–9 loss to Northrop on Tuesday. The loss pushed the Vikings’ record to 3–2.

The Huntington North offense got out to a hot start, as freshman catcher Megan Stephan homered in the third at-bat of the game to give the Vikings a quick 2–0 lead after junior center fielder Laney Shaw walked in the previous plate appearance.

However, Northrop followed suit in the bottom half of the frame, recording two runs of their own to tie the game at 2–2.

Huntington North continued their scoring in the top of the second by tacking on three more runs for a 5–2 advantage thanks to an RBI groundout by junior shortstop Kodi Douglass to score sophomore third baseman Sophie Eckert, junior second baseman Corynn Barton scoring on a passed ball and an RBI groundout by Shaw to score senior infielder Erika Vinson.

The Vikings added another run in the top of the fourth inning as an error by the Northrop defense allowed junior right fielder Katie Melcher to come home and score for a 6–2 Huntington North lead.

Despite generating just one hit between the second and third innings combined, Northrop battled back to tie the game at 6–6 in the bottom of the fourth inning with a deep double and a series of mistakes by the Viking defense. Northrop then took their first lead of the day in the fifth inning with an RBI double for a 7–6 advantage.

Though Northrop had scored five unanswered runs, Huntington North was not ready to head home empty-handed. The Vikings found themselves with the bases loaded with one out in the top of the sixth inning and capitalized with back-to-back RBI singles by sophomore first baseman Maddie Levy and Melcher to score Douglass and Shaw and Stephan, respectively, for a Huntington North 9–7 lead.

Northrop cut their deficit to one run in the bottom of the sixth, as their runner on third base came home when the Vikings tried to gun down Northrop’s runner trying to steal second, sending the game to the seventh inning with Huntington North clinging to a 9–8 advantage.

The Vikings failed to add to their lead in the top of the seventh, giving Northrop a shot for a comeback walk-off win in the bottom of the frame.

Northrop loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh after a single and pair of errors by the Huntington North defense, putting themselves in prime position to snag a victory. After striking out the next Northrop batter, sophomore pitcher Carly Collins walked in a run to tie the game at 9–9.

Northrop’s Raina Keith proved to be the Bruins’ hero in the next at-bat, sending a single to left field to give Northrop a come-from-behind 10–0 walk-off win.

Collins picked up the loss on the mound for the Vikings, throwing six and one-third innings while allowing 12 hits and 10 runs, though only five were earned. Collins struck out six Bruin batters in the game.

Huntington North returns to the field on Thursday for a road battle at Woodlan. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

TRACK AND FIELD

The Huntington North boys and girls track teams returned to action on Tuesday with a home meet against Bellmont at Kriegbaum Field.

The boys team fell 80–52 to Bellmont, while the girls team scored a 71–60 victory.

Junior Cody McCune (400 meter dash, 53.4 seconds), senior Brock Spahr (800 meter run, 2:02.8) and junior Nate Burns (300 meter hurdles, 40.3 seconds) all scored individual track event victories for the Vikings.

Junior Isaiah Clampitt, sophomore Connor Miller, freshman JT York and senior Alex Bishop claimed Huntington North’s lone team relay win in the 4x800 meter relay with a victorious time of 9:24.0.

Freshman Zach Hubartt and senior Ricky Haught won their respective field events, with Hubartt finishing first in the high jump with a winning jump of 5 feet, 10 inches and Haught winning the pole vault with a height of 10 feet, 6 inches.

“We had some nice efforts against one of the good teams in the conference,” said head coach Scott Bower. “(Bellmont’s) Ryne Norby is the real deal and he and Ricky put on quite a show at the long jump today. Nate Burns was aggressive early in the 300 hurdles and that led him to a great finish. Cody McCune (400 m) and Brock Spahr (800 m) looked strong in their wins. Lots of our athletes are getting better and we’ll get some terrific competition this weekend with Brock and Harrison Niswander at the Flashes Showcase on Friday night and the team traveling to the always-loaded North Side Relays on Saturday.”

On the girls side, the Vikings picked up a trio of individual track event wins, compliments of senior Kyler Hoopingarner (800 meter run, 2:34.9), freshman Addy Wiley (3,200 meter run, 11:33.0) and senior Brooke Goodrich (300 meter hurdles, 50.7 seconds).

Huntington North swept the team relay events, winning all three, though not all came by dominant gaps.

In arguably the most exciting event of the day, the Vikings’ quartet of sophomore Lily Clanin, freshman Makenna Shearer, sophomore Grace Gross and senior Peyton Dorsett edged Bellmont’s team by just 0.5 seconds with a winning time of 55.2 seconds in the 4x100 meter relay.

Juniors Allie Aschliman and Meg McDonald, sophomore Hanna Whitney and Goodrich took home the title in the 4x400 meter relay with a winning time of 4:25.5, while Hoopingarner, senior Alena Miller, Whitney and senior Lisa Nalliah won the 4x800 meter relay in 11:20.8.

Sophomore Preslee Williams led the way in the high jump with a winning mark of 4 feet, 10 inches, while Dorsett rounded out the Viking victories in the long jump with a distance of 15 feet, 2.5 inches.

Huntington North’s boys track team will next compete on Saturday at the North Side Relays at 10 a.m., while the girls squad will be in action on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Marion Relays.

GIRLS TENNIS

The Huntington North girls tennis team continued their busy week with a 5–0 victory over Peru on Tuesday to improve to 2–0 on the season.

Seniors Jessica Henline and Emily Bokel and sophomore Emily Daas cruised to a trio of 2–0 singles wins. Henline won her first singles match with sets of 6–0 and 6–1, Bokel scored 7–5 and 6–2 set triumphs in second singles and Daas rounded out the individual efforts with 6–1 and 6–0 third singles set victories.

Senior Macy Wohlford and junior Maisy Kesler cruised to a quick 2–0 win in first doubles with a pair of 6–1 set victories, while senior Crosley Stanley and junior Sydney Smekens held on for a 2–1 triumph in second doubles with sets of 6–2, 2–6 and 6–3.

The Vikings hosted their home opener against Southwood on Wednesday, but results were not available as of The Herald-Press’s deadline.

Huntington North will continue their busy week of tennis on Thursday, hosting Adams Central for a 5 p.m. match.