Northampton offense paces Mantle win
NORTHAMPTON — It took the Northampton Mickey Mantle team five innings to score Wednesday in a win at Mohawk.
Northampton nearly doubled its Wednesday run output in the first inning of Thursday’s home rematch in a 19-2 victory that ended after five innings via the mercy rule.
The win keeps the Blue Devils (13-3-1) in a tie for first place with Amherst. The regular-season champion will be crowned when the teams meet in Northampton Saturday at 10 a.m. Amherst won by forfeit Thursday evening over Athol.
“I tell my guys constantly that the regular season is about getting tuned up for the tournament,” Northampton coach David Hoose said. “We feel like this week we got ourselves ready to play tournament baseball.”
With two outs in the bottom of the first, Northampton scored seven runs on five hits, including an RBI single by Colby Lander and a two-run single by Garrett Connly.
“That was a big win,” Lander said. “We haven’t been hitting that well this year, so a win like that really helps.”
Northampton didn’t let up in the next inning and batted around for the second frame in a row. It scored six more runs in the second, highlighted by a run-scoring double from pitcher Kyle Warren and RBI singles by Hunter Salem and Lander.
“We did what we wanted to do out there,” Hoose said. “We’ve been hitting the crap out of the ball. We had 20 hits on Tuesday night, six hits (Wednesday), and 19 hits (Thursday). We’re doing what we need to do to get ready for the tournament.”
Warren’s pitching performance was another highlight for Northampton. He went four innings, allowing only one run on three hits.
“I went with the fastball mainly,” Warren said. “I tried not to throw too many off-speed pitches. I just put it in the spots where I knew my fielders could field the ball.”
Northampton scored six more runs in the third inning. Salem and Warren both scored runs, with Salem hitting an RBI double. Charlie Ferrera, Robey Nejame, and Mikey Gross all had multi-hit games in the win.
“We had four games this week before the tournament started, and we wanted to see if we could win all four games,” Hoose said. “We’re three-quarters of the way there. We just have to work on getting ready for the tournament.”
Although he tries to tell his team to stay even keel, Hoose doesn’t deny the significance of Saturday’s game.
“Unless you’ve only been here for one day, you know that Northampton-Amherst is the rivalry,” Hoose said. “We knew we would need to win out to get into first place, and that team has beaten us a few times this year. But I think our guys are ready, and if we’re hitting like we have this week, we’re a tough team to beat.”
Northampton 19, Mohawk 2 (5)
Mohawk 010 01—2 4 3
Northampton 766 0x—19 19 1
WP - Warren; LP - Seaver
Records: Northampton (13-3-1)