LIMEPORT - Teams that hit like Northwestern can get away with sloppy defense in the regular season.
But in the playoffs, miscues against good teams are much harder to overcome.
Three Tiger errors and a solid pitching performance by Allentown Central Catholic's David Rosenberger resulted in a 9-1 Vikings win in the first round of the District 11 Class AAA baseball playoffs Tuesday at Limeport Stadium.
"We are our own worst enemies," said Northwestern head coach Len Smith. "We do not make routine plays at times and it comes back to haunt us. That was what happened."
In the second inning, two errors and a defensive lapse led to a 6-0 Vikings lead. Craig Miller reached base on an error to lead off the second. A Luke Mesaros single put two men on with one out.
Ryan Smale hit what seemed like a double-play ball, but the play never got started because of a throwing error to second. The error allowed one run scored and left two runners on base with one out. Another miscue loaded the bases when no one covered first on a ground ball fielded by the first baseman.
A balk, a walk and two hits pushed accross four more runs in the inning, giving the Vikings a 6-0 lead.
"At the beginning of the season that's what was always happening, we were taking advantage of miscues that teams had given us," said Central Catholic head coach Matt Garza. "We hit a point in the middle of the season where we weren't getting the timely hit. Today it came back."
With a big lead, Rosenberger to settled in. He allowed just two hits to a team that averages 9.35 runs per game and was held to two runs or less just three times this season.
"I didn't have my best stuff today," he said. "But I gave it my best effort and I had good defense behind me."
Using mostly a fastballs and change ups, the sophomore lefty threw just 39 balls out of 102 pitches in six innings, striking out eight and walking just three while his team committed only one error.
"He's been great for us all year," said Garza. "He pounds the strike zone. For a sophomore to be as seasoned as he is, that's impressive."
Even down by six, Northwestern (11-10) wasn't out of the because of its explosive offense. But Rosenberger seemed to pitch better with runners on base. Four of his strike outs came with runners in scoring position.
Northwestern, the No. 6 seed in districts, had baserunners in every inning but two. The only run came across in the third when pinch runner Tim Schaeffer came home on Sean Nagle's sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.
Northwestern's BJ Schantz had two hits in the game.
The No. 3 seed Vikes (14-7) added a run in the bottom of the third to go up 7-1 and two more in the fourth to make it 9-1. They advance to face No. 2 seed Lehighton Thursday at Northwestern.
Northwestern 001 000 0 - 1 3 3
Central Catholic 061 200 x - 9 9 1
Conway and Boyd; Rosenberger, Kammerer (7) and Smale. W - Rosenberger. L - Conway.