Northampton rides deep lineup to Mickey Mantle tourney win
SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Northampton Mickey Mantle team is a threat to win this week’s double-elimination tournament because of its deep pitching staff.
In Thursday evening’s second-round game against Mohawk, Hamp showed that depth also extends to its lineup.
The bottom four hitters had all six hits and drove in every run for Northampton in a 6-3 victory at Frontier Regional.
“As often happens with our team, it’s a different guy or different group of guys every night,” coach David Hoose said. “We didn’t get much production from the top of the order, but the bottom half really picked us up. Those guys all swung the bat really well.”
Third baseman Charlie Ferrara went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and a run scored in the win, while Garrett Connly (two RBIs) also was 2-for-2. Both delivered two-out, two-run doubles in a five-run fourth inning.
“We’re all good hitters and we all did well during the high school season,” Ferrara said. “A bunch of us have been slumping lately, so it’s great to help the team win this one.”
Second-seeded Northampton (15-4-1) will play at No. 1 Amherst (16-3-1) Friday at 7 p.m. They’re the only teams left without a tournament loss.
No. 3 Mohawk (10-9-1) had to finish its first-round contest with No. 4 Frontier (9-9) earlier in the evening. The teams were tied 3-3 after eight innings on Wednesday and picked up in the top of the ninth. After Frontier went down in order, Mohawk scored the game winner in the bottom half for a 4-3 win.
Northampton won all three regular-season meetings with Mohawk, including a 19-2 trouncing last Thursday. But Mohawk put up single runs in the first and third to take a 2-0 lead.
“Everybody kept composed,” winning pitcher Joe Warner said. “We knew if I made my pitches and we played good defense that we’d start to hit. I never had any doubt that we’d get those runs back. Everyone in our lineup can produce runs.”
The righthander, who led the Northampton varsity team with five wins and a 2.55 earned run average this spring, finished with eight hits allowed and one walk with 10 strikeouts. He struck out the side to close the game in the seventh.
“Joe’s a guy who gets better and better as the game goes on,” Hoose said. “He builds confidence in his breaking ball, which makes his fastball that much stronger. Mohawk scratched him for a couple early, but he kept us right in it.”
Warner allowed five hits and seven base runners over the first three innings, but settled into a rhythm in the fourth. He gave up one hit in the next three frames.
“I gained more command of all my pitches as the game progressed, instead of just throwing the ball,” Warner said.
Mohawk starter Gabe Seaver, who pitched the only inning his team needed against Frontier, walked the bases loaded in the fourth with one out. Colby Lander grounded to third baseman Tucker Jenkins, whose only play was to first as Hunter Salem scored to tie the game.
With runners at second and third, Ferrara laced a two-run double over the head of left fielder Andrew Doty to put Hamp up to stay at 4-2.
“I made a mistake on the bases the inning before and maybe took a run away from us, so I really needed to bounce back and get us some runs,” Ferrara said. “I hit the ball pretty hard, the kid took a couple steps in and it went right over his head.”
Following a single by Christian Candelario-Romero (hit, run), Connly doubled to right center to bring in two more.
Seaver retired the first six Northampton hitters, but Lander (hit, run, RBI) singled to lead off the third. He advanced on a wild pitch, then came around to score on Ferrara’s single to right in to cut the deficit in half.
“At the beginning of the game we were a little rusty, especially since we had to sit there and watch the previous game finish up,” Ferrara said. “We’d beaten them three times already this season, so we were confident we’d win. But their pitcher is good and he was making pitches to get us out early.”
Michael Wilkinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mickey Mantle Tournament
Northampton 6, Mohawk 3
Mohawk 101 000 1—3 8 1
Northampton 001 500 x—6 6 1
WP - Warner; LP - Seaver
Records: Mohawk (10-9-1); Northampton (15-4-1)