Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jags reach baseball quarters

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Paced by a nine-run sixth inning eruption and steady three-headed pitching performance, the Northwest baseball team defeated host Springbrook, 15-3, Saturday in a 4A West Region first-round contest, a game that was pushed back a day because of Friday’s rain.

Clinging to a 6-3 lead heading into the top of the sixth inning, the Jaguars (7-12) exploded for nine runs on the strength of four hits, five walks and two hit batters. John Krahling (.415, 12 RBI in 2008) sparked the rally with a two-run double to right center field.

Northwest was to play top-seeded Gaithersburg (18-1) Tuesday in the quarterfinals, a game played too late for this edition of The Gazette. The Trojans, who received a first-round bye, worked an 11-1 win against the Jaguars on April 19.

‘‘Their No. 1 pitcher ran out of gas,” said Northwest coach Matt Noble, whose team was one of only four that played first-round games this past weekend because of the rain. ‘‘Once he went to the bullpen, we hit the ball. [Springbrook coach Kevin Andre] is short on manpower this year.

‘‘We’re in pretty good shape. We still have two pitchers to pitch on Tuesday. I don’t run out of arms.”

Northwest took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run double to right center field by Dominique Vattuone and then a run-scoring groundout by Chris Rados. Jeffrey Ta, Geoff Zgorski and Krahling started the inning with three straight hits.

The Jaguars pushed their advantage to 4-0 in the top of the second on a run-scoring triple by the freshman Ta. Nick Marshall led off with a double and his courtesy runner, John DiNardo, scored on Ta’s hit. The Blue Devils cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third.

Northwest then sandwiched runs in the fourth and fifth innings around a run by the Blue Devils with two outs in the fourth to open up the 6-3 advantage. Nick Karis singled in the first of those two runs while DiNardo reached home on a balk.

Zgorski paced the Jaguars with four hits and three runs. Ta, Krahling and Marshall had two hits apiece as eight of the team’s nine starters banged out at least one hit for the game.

On the mound, Callahan picked up the victory, allowing three runs in four innings of work. Nick Pak and Brandon Baker combined to hold Springbrook scoreless in the final two innings.

Saturday’s victory was the team’s third straight after enduring an eight-game losing streak.