After a leadoff walk and back-to-back walks, the Warriors quickly found themselves trailing 3-0 after a half inning of play.
Fortunately, it didn’t take the locals long to regain their focus.
The Warriors answered with five runs in the bottom of the frame and from there cruised to a 13-3 victory. The game was halted after the fifth inning due to the mercy rule.
“When you get to this point in the season, anything can happen and when you’re not focused and ready to play, anybody can win the game,” said NCS coach Charles Ancelet, whose team will play host to No. 5 Elizabeth Friday at 5 p.m. in a quarterfinal contest.
“We started out a little sluggish, but we were able to regroup and take care of business.”
Northside starting pitcher Pierce Rivera struggled early, giving up a leadoff single to Thomas McCurdy that was followed by walks to Kyle Mitchell and Rodney Hill. McCurdy scored on an errant pickoff attempt, Mitchell crossed the plate on a wild pitch and Hill added a run on a rare steal of home.
Rivera settled in after that, however, striking out three batters in a row to end the frame. He then struck out the side in order in the second frame and added two more strikeouts in the third.
“You have to be ready to play from the first pitch on and we just weren’t really focused when we stepped on the field,” said Ancelet. “It took us a little while to get going, but I was happy with the way we responded on the mound and at the plate.”
The Warriors offense got going in the bottom of the first inning when Joseph Trahan recorded a two-out single to center field. Rivera then drew a walk and both runners scored on a fly ball off the bat of Cameron Williams that was misplayed in center field.
That error in the outfield extended the inning and the Warriors made the Hawks pay.
Jordan Monte and Nick Zaunbrecher logged back-to-back RBI singles and another run scored on a balk to give the Warriors a 5-3 advantage.
Northside broke the game open in the third inning, plating six runs despite getting just one hit in the frame.
Trahan had a two-run triple in the inning that included two walks, two errors and a squeeze bunt by Jon-Riley Mouton.
The Warriors closed out the game with two runs in the fourth inning.
Williams led off the inning with a triple and scored on a ground out by Monte. Zaunbrecher then drew a walk and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Trahan took the mound in the top of the fifth and set the side down in order to secure the run-rule victory.
Rivera earned the victory, giving up three runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out eight in three innings.
Josh Wheeler recorded two strikeouts in one inning of work and Trahan had one strikeout.
“Our game plan was to try and keep our pitch counts down,” said Ancelet of using three pitchers in the contest. “We have to come back Friday and play Elizabeth so we wanted to make sure we had everybody available for that contest.”
Despite scoring in double figures, the Warriors were only able to log five hits off Kilbourne pitcher Rodney Hill.
Trahan had two hits, including a triple and two RBI, while Williams, Monte and Zaunbrecher each had one hit and two RBI. Mouton also had one RBI.
“We didn’t end up with a lot of hits, but if you put the ball in play, good things happen,” said Ancelet. “We took advantage of some of their mistakes and we did a good job running the bases today.”