Walled Lake Northern grinded out a doubleheader sweep at home against Waterford Kettering on Wednesday, May 11 to stay alive in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division race.
The Knights (10-11 overall, 6-5 in the KLAA North) defeated the Captains 9-8 in the opener before taking the nightcap, 6-5.
Northern trails first-place Walled Lake Central (7-4) by a game in the KLAA North with four division games remaining.
The Knights traveled to Walled Lake Western for a doubleheader yesterday, Tuesday, May 17 and will play at Central today, Wednesday, May 18, in a doubleheader that will help decide the division race.
Against Kettering (4-10, 4-9) in the first game last Wednesday, Northern trailed 8-6 entering the bottom of the sixth inning before Ted Lilley hit an RBI single, scoring Hunter Van Maele.
Then in the bottom of the seventh with runners on the corners, Dalton Cozart hit a pop fly ball that was dropped in left field, allowing Cole Lubin to score the game-tying run.
After Austin Bommarito loaded the bases on an infield single, Matt Jerore hit the game-winning RBI for the Knights.
Lilley stole four bases, scored two runs and hit an RBI for the Knights in the opening game, while Brady Schaefer hit a pair of RBIs and Todd Larson scored three runs.
The second game was just as exciting, as Northern held a 5-3 lead before Kettering scored a run each in the top of the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game at 5-5.
In the bottom of the sixth, Brandon Grodman drew a walk for Northern before pinch-runner Chad Bailey stole second base. After Lilley was intentionally walked, Schafer drove home Bailey for the game-winning run to complete the sweep.
Lilley and Schafer each finished with two RBIs on the afternoon.
“This is another character-building victory for the team,” Northern Head Coach Tim Baglow said. “If we can grow and ride this momentum, then we’ll be peaking at the right time and that’s important.”
Northern began the week by hosting Pinckney in a KLAA crossover game on Monday, May 9 and defeating the Pirates, 6-0.
Evan Kohler pitched a complete game, giving up just four hits and three walks while striking out four batters for the shutout.
Larson hit two RBIs for the Knights while Lilley scored 2 runs.
“Evan has emerged as our ace. He’s had quality outings his last several starts and given us a chance to win,” Baglow said.
The Knights then hosted West Bloomfield in a non-league game on Tuesday, May 10 and fell to the Lakers, 12-9.
West Bloomfield led 9-1 after the second inning before Northern cut the lead to three runs in the third inning. But, the Lakers responded with two runs in the fourth and held on for the win.
Mike Janas finished with three RBIs for the Knights while Schafer scored three runs and hit an RBI.
Northern also played at Grand Blanc on Monday, May 16 after press time and will play at Birmingham Groves on Saturday, May 21.