Northwestern baseball rallies to reach District 11 Class 4A title game
“That wasn’t the way we drew it up,” said Northwestern coach Duran Porrino after his team’s improbable 9-8 walk-off win over Wilson in the District 11 Class 4A baseball semifinal game at Weiland Park on the campus of De Sales University Saturday afternoon.
After coming back from a five-run deficit to tie the game, Northwestern scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh without the benefit of a hit. Walks to Nate Goodolf and Carter Welch opened the inning and with Rafe Perich at the plate, a pitch glanced off the glove of catcher Austin Wickham but caromed into his bare hand. When an alert Goodolf saw the pitch come off the glove, he took off for third. When Wickham’s throw skipped off the glove of third baseman Jacob Danser. Goodolf picked himself up and ran toward home, initiating a celebration when he crossed the plate to give the Tigers a 9-8 win.
“The throw was there, so I slid and it just so happens he was there and I tripped him up and he bobbled it and I took off,” said Goodolf, who said his main thought on the way home was “don’t get out.”
Vinny Castrine started on the mound for Northwestern Lehigh, but Porrino wanted to limit his pitches because he was throwing on just two days rest. He pulled Castrine after two innings in favor of Justin Holmes. The first four batters in the third inning reached base and Porrino brought in Carter Welch. In all, the Warriors scored five runs in the inning.
By the time the Tigers came to the plate in the bottom of the fifth they trailed 8-3, but they chipped away in the inning and got a two-run single from Colton Hagadus and a two-run double from Goodolf as part of a five-run inning to tie the game.
Welch threw 93 pitches over five innings of work to get the win.
Northwestern will play in Pottsville on Monday at 3 p.m. against top-seeded North Schuylkill for the 4A championship. The winner will advance to the PIAA playoffs, which begin June 3rd.