Whitewater keeps playoff hopes alive, defeats Northgate 7-6

Thu, 04/17/2008 - 10:24pm
By: Kevin Wandra

The Whitewater Wildcats are playing for their playoff lives, and they desperately needed a victory Thursday against Region 2-AAAA rival Northgate.

A game-tying RBI double by Miles Head and an error that scored the go-ahead run, both in the bottom of the sixth inning, were the difference for Whitewater, which hung on for a 7-6 victory over Northgate in Fayetteville.

Whitewater (15-6, 6-5 region) needs to win all its five remaining games, each of which is against a region opponent, and have McIntosh lose two more region games to grab fourth place in the region and, more important, reach the playoffs.

The Wildcats currently are in fifth place in the region, one game behind McIntosh. The top four teams from each region earn a trip to the state playoffs.

Defeating Northgate (11-8, 8-3 region), which is tied with Starr’s Mill for second place in the region, and was on a five-game winning streak, is a step in the right direction for Whitewater.

“For us, it’s do or die,” Whitewater coach Frank Dixon said. “We’re going to have to find a way to win out. If we don’t, we’re going to stay at home most likely.”

Down 6-5 in the sixth, Head kept Whitewater’s playoff hopes alive with a standup double that scored Zac Mann, who had led off with a triple, as the game-tying run.

Following a sacrifice bunt by Travis Dingler that moved Michael Herget, pinch-running for Head, to third and a grounder to second by Heine Rivera, Tyler Morgan hit a grounder that Northgate second baseman Derek Hooper misplayed, allowing Herget to score what would hold up as the game-winning run.

Whitewater’s Greg Fisher came on in relief of starter Tom Bohrer to begin the seventh, and he gave up a single to the first batter he faced, Hayden Marlowe.

Then Northgate’s Tyler Marvin moved Marlowe into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.

Fisher slammed the door on Northgate by inducing Casey Wilson to ground out to short and Cat Kendrick to ground out to third to earn the save.

Bohrer struck out three and allowed nine hits, six runs, two walks and one hit batsman in six innings for the victory.

Whitewater roughed up Northgate ace Danny Cain early, scoring three runs in the first inning — two on a standup double by Head and one on a bases-loaded walk to Austin Faulkner.

Northgate chipped away at Whitewater's lead in the second inning, adding runs on a solo home run by Marvin in the second and a double by Devin Johnson to make it 3-2.

Dingler gave the Wildcats some breathing room in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run double to center field, increasing Whitewater’s lead to 5-2.

A check-swing, RBI infield single by Marvin in the third and an RBI double off the left-center field fence by Dorian Johnson in the fourth pulled Northgate to within one, 5-4.

Two batters later, Dorian Johnson scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.

Dorian Johnson did more damage at the plate in the sixth, hitting a double just out of the reach of diving right fielder Jake Fisher to put Northgate in front for the first (and only) time of the night, 6-5.

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