Tigers pull away from Pottsville
Pottsville tested Northwestern’s patience, but eventually the No. 2-seeded Tigers pulled through for a 9-2 District 11 Class 4A baseball quarterfinal win on Monday.
Northwestern got off to a rough start, allowing the Tide to load the bases with no outs in the first inning. The Tide turned that threat into one run and were leading 2-0 after two -and-a-half innings. But eventually the Tigers’ bats woke up and gave pitcher Mason Vogwill some room to work with.
“You just have to keep your composure,” said Vogwill. “It comes with experience. These guys were saying the whole game they have my back and they exploded for nine runs.”
No. 7 seed Pottsville (7-15) had its first three batters reach base to start the game. But Vogwill struck out Tide cleanup hitter Ryan Kondrack, and then got Trevor Sherakas to line out. He allowed a run on a walk, but struck out Michael Botto to get out of the inning with limited damage.
“With bases loaded and nobody out, you have to find a way to put a crooked number up there,” said Pottsville head coach Mike Welsh. “We were able to scratch one, but that’s a win for them.
Vogwill threw 29 pitches in the first inning, but only made it through five-and-one-third, but was able to get his team through the biggest moment of the game.
“You want to stay positive,” said Northwestern head coach Duran Porrino. “But if you get in a 2-0 or 3-0 hole in the top of the first, you sort of start stressing out a little bit, especially when it’s a one-and-done.
“Mason did a great job working out of that jam. That’s the type of pitcher he is. We have confidence in him. When you need a strikeout with guys on base, he can do it, and he came through.”
Pottsville made it 2-0 on a pair of hits in the third inning, before the Tiger offense finally got on the board.
Back-to-back singles from Trevor Schreiner and Tyler Wiik started the bottom of the third inning. Schreiner came in on a wild pitch and Vincent Castrine, running for Wiik, scored on Derek Holmes’ sacrifice fly to make it 2-2 after three innings.
The Tigers opened their lead in the fourth with a run coming in on Jake Haas’ single, and two more scoring on a double by Schreiner, who eventually scored for the second time on a wild pitch for a 6-2 lead after four innings.
Haas put a stamp on his team’s win in the fifth inning when the three-year starter hit a two-run homer to cap a three-run frame and put his team up 9-2.
“He was going away with almost all the pitches,” said Haas. “I wanted to make an adjustment and go the other way with his fastball. He was throwing pretty hard, but I just wanted to get on top of it.”
It was the first home run of Haas’ varsity career.
“That was a huge hit in the game, and he took it to left field,” said Porrino. “He’s like a coach’s dream. He does everything the right way. He does everything a coach would dream of from a kid, so it’s awesome for him to do that. I think he sprinted around the bases, he was so pumped up.”
Vogwill got the win, allowing just two earned runs. The Tide ran up his pitch count, and he exited with one out in the fifth after crossing the 100-pitch mark.
Castrine came on with one out in the fifth inning and didn’t allow a hit over one-and-two-thirds innings. Noah Russo closed out the win with a three-up, three-down seventh.
The Tigers (15-7) pounded out 13 hits in the game. Schreiner went 3-for-4 with two runs and a pair of RBIs. Haas was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Vogwill was 2-for-3 and Brandon Mengel went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one driven in.
Northwestern was scheduled to face defending district champ Wilson on Wednesday. That game was played after Press deadline. See next week’s issue for more Tiger baseball coverage.
The No. 6 seed Warriors beat No. 3 Saucon Valley in their quarterfinal game. Northwestern beat Wilson 8-0 on April 8, their only meeting this season.
Pottsville 101 000 0 - 2 3 1
Northwestern 002 430 x - 9 13 1
Nabholz, A. Stanton (6) and Roos; Vogwill, Castrine (5), Russo (7) and Wiik. W - Vogwill. L - Nabholz.