By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
SOUTH BEND —
The Northridge High School baseball team got the chance Saturday to play in a professional stadium.
The Raiders dropped a 5-3 decision to the Penn Kingsmen in the championship game of the Stanley Coveleski Stadium Tournament on Saturday.
Coveleski Stadium is the home of the South Bend Silver Hawks, a Class A minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“We were not very motivated to play tonight,” Northridge coach Andrew Brabender said. “Spring break in my opinion was a problem. We have four or five players that are leaving for Florida as soon as we get out of here. I would think the chance to play on a beautiful field like this would be a motivating factor.
“Penn is a great program and coach Greg Dikos does a great job with his kids.”
Northridge advanced to the finale with an 11-2 win over the LaPorte Slicers earlier in the day while Penn qualified for the championship contest with a 7-2 win over Niles (Michigan).
Niles was a 10-8 winner over LaPorte in the consolation game.
Northridge (1-1) is idle until next Saturday when the Raiders host the Angola Hornets for a twin bill.
The Kingsmen got off to a quick with two runs in the first inning. Senior Steve Smallwood stroked the very first pitch over the left fielder’s head for a lead-off double. He later scored on a single by classmate Chad Whitmer who scored on a single by junior Cole Harlacher.
“Those two runs were the difference in the game,” Brabender said.
Senior Austin Moniot was the staring pitcher for the Raiders.
“Moniot will figure things out,” the coach said. “He is a basketball player that is still trying to catch up. He is a strike thrower.”
The Kingsmen added solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Northridge scored a run in the second as senior Blake Fry doubled and scored on a single by classmate Drew Burgess. Fry doubled again in the fourth and scored on a single by Burgess.
The Raiders scored again in the bottom of the seventh. Burgess walked and junior Jake Baylis followed with a single and suddenly Northridge had the tying run at the plate. Penn’s senior relief pitcher Dalton Teitsma got two outs before senior Alan Grusy singled to plate Burgess before the Kingsmen hurler notched a strikeout to end the game.
Fry and Burgess both had two hits to lead the Raider offense. Grusy, Baylis and sophomore Sam Troyer added the others.
Moniot pitched two innings, senior Brock Logan three and senior Shannon Baker the final two for the Raiders.
The Raiders broke open a close game with the Slicers in the afternoon session by scoring eight runs over the final two innings.
Fry was the starting pitcher for the Raiders and he took a perfect game into the fifth inning. He lost the perfect game when Slicer senior Francis Silfa reached on an error to begin the first. He lost the no-hitter and the shutout when junior Drew Jones singled to score Silfa.
“Fry is a strike thrower,” Brabender said. “He was on a 70-pitch count and had just about reached it when he gave up the hit and run.”
Fry ended up getting the win with relief help from senior Arick Doberenz.
Baker had a triple, double and three RBI to lead the Northridge offense.
“He can really hit,” the coach said.
Northridge junior Steven Frye added two singles, two RBI and three runs; Fry two singles and two RBI and Logan a single and two RBI.
Raider hitters worked the LaPorte pitchers for 12 base on balls in the contest.
“LaPorte pitchers throw a lot of breaking balls and we are a fast ball hitting team,” Brabender said. “We had too many strikeouts (six) for my tastes.”
Penn 210 110 0 — 5-9-0
Northridge 010 100 1 — 3-7-0
Pitching: (Penn) Chad Whitmer (W) six strikeouts and no walks. Dalton Teitsma also pitched. (Northridge) Austin Moniot (L) one strikeout and no walks. Brock Logan pitched three innings, no strikeouts and one walk and Shannon Baker pitched two innings, three strikeouts and non walks.
Hitting: (Northridge) Blake Fry two doubles, two runs; Drew Burgess two singles, two RBI, one run; Alan Grusy single, RBI; Jake Baylis single, Sam Troyer single. (Penn) Steven Smallwood double, single, RBI; Chad Whitmer two singles, two runs, one RBI; Cole Harlacher two singles, RBI; Tyler Perry two singles.
Northridge 101 01 4 4 — 11-11-2
LaPorte 000 002 0 — 2-4-2
Pitching: (Northridge) Blake Fry (W) five strikeouts and one walk. Arick Doberenz also pitched, striking out one and walking one. (LaPorte) Ben Saliwanchik (L). Chase Ruiz and Brody Kutch also pitched.
Hitting: (Northridge) Shannon Baker triple, double, two RBI, three runs; Steven Frye two singles, two RBI, three runs; Blake Fry two singles, two RBI; Brock Logan single, two RBI; Craig Kasten three singles, two runs. (LaPorte) Blake Arnett two singles, Chase Ruiz single, RBI.