Tigers win fifth straight game
Nate Goodolf knew he could hit better than he had over the first eight games of the season. It was not a matter of if his bat would get hot, it was just a matter of when.
That day came Saturday in Hellertown when the sophomore got moved into the leadoff spot in the lineup and took advantage. Goodolf went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs in the Tigers’ 14-0 win over Saucon Valley Saturday.
“I only had four hits on the season before this game,” said Goodolf, who helped his team improve to 8-1 overall and 7-1 in Colonial League play. “I got moved to the top of the lineup because Jake (Haas) wasn’t here, our right fielder. So I just did what I was asked.”
Goodolf started the season hitting in the two hole. But after a few games he was moved down to eighth in the batting order.
“We have it in our mind that Goodie is going to be a top of the order hitter for us,” said Northwestern head coach Duran Porrino. “We started the year with him up there. We made it clear that we still see him near the top of the lineup, we just gave him a couple games to get a feel for his swing. Today an opportunity came where we could get him in the top and he took advantage of it.”
Goodolf singled to start Saturday’s game and got another one when he returned to the plate for a second time in the first frame.
The Tigers sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning and scored nine runs on six hits, two walks and a Panther error.
They went right back to work in the second, scoring another three with two of them coming across the plate on a Goodolf double.
Northwetern made it 13-0 when Rafe Perich (3-for-3, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) drove in Derek Holmes (3-for-4, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) with a one-out single. The Tigers capped the scoring in the fourth inning on Trevor Schreiner’s RBI single.
“We jumped on them right away,” said Holmes. “It was a good way to start off the weekend. The bats were going and it gave Drew (White) some insurance to open up the game.
“Everyone on the team can put the ball in play. Our team is so balanced. Every position is filled. We have people coming off the bench and contributing. We have a pretty good team.”
White pitched all five innings, allowing three hits and striking out four Panthers while walking just one.
“It all starts on the mound,” said Porrino. “Drew threw a heck of a game today. With a kid like Drew pitching, even if you score one or two (runs) in the top of the first it might hold up for seven.”
The Saucon Valley game followed the Tigers’ 15-10 win over Salisbury last Thursday, making that 29 runs in their past 12 innings.
“I don’t know if I expected 29 runs in two games but I did expect to score some runs this season,” said Porrino. “Our kids have bought into what we’ve been telling them. Coach (Josh) Perich has been working with the hitters and he does an awesome job. It’s worked well. I call him a professional hitter because he played professionally. It’s good to have someone like that in the program and you can see the impact he’s having.”
Northwestern pounded out 13 hits against the Panthers. Brandon Mengel went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs.
The Tigers, winners of five in a row since an April 5 loss to Southern Lehigh, headed into this week with a two-and-a-half game lead in the Colonial League’s West Division and are a half-game better than East leaders Notre Dame (Green Pond) and Palisades. The Tigers, which were also on top of the District 11 Class 3A rankings heading into this week, are scheduled to face Notre Dame (6-1 Colonial League) Thursday. They also have Southern Lehigh on the slate for Wednesday. The Spartans are the only team to beat the Tigers this season.
With the season nearly halfway complete, Northwestern is making a good case to be this year’s favorite for league and district titles.
“We have high expectations,” said Porrino. “I saw a quote from (Penn State football coach) James Frnaklin in the paper that I want to use with our team. After a bad practice he said ‘We’re not in championship habits.’
“That’s what our kids need to get to. If we want to win a championship we have to get into those championship habits and do everything with a purpose. Our kids are doing that. Our practices are great. Our kids buy into everything we’re doing.”