Walled Lake Northern and Walled Lake Western met on the diamond on Tuesday, May 17 and split a doubleheader.
The Warriors took the first game, 5-1, behind the strong pitching of Jason Gamble, who struck out eight batters and walked only one in a complete game effort.
Gamble also hit 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Niklas Heglin hit 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored.
Evan Kohler pitched a complete game for the Knights, as he allowed five runs, one of them earned, on four hits while walking two batters and striking out two.
Todd Larson drove home Cole Lubin for Northern’s only run.
“We knew this would have to be a low-scoring game with both team’s aces on the mound, but we spotted them four runs in the opening inning and while we had several base runners, we couldn’t get that clutch hit to close the gap,” said Northern Head Coach Tim Baglow.
However, Northern would bounce back in the second game, earning a 4-1 victory.
Larson hit 2-for-4 with an RBI. Brady Schafer hit an RBI and scored two runs for Northern (11-15 overall, 7-9 in Kensington Lakes Activities Association North Division play).
Brandon Grodman pitched a complete game for the Knights, allowing only two hits and one run over seven innings while walking three batters and fanning five.
“Brandon was hitting his spots and keeping them off balance. It was a must win and he came up huge for us,” Baglow said.
Heglin drove home shortstop Ryan Bone for Western’s (12-10, 6-10) only run. Cam Vieaux pitched five innings, giving up three earned runs.
Both Western and Northern lost KLAA crossover games on Monday, May 16, with Western falling to Pinckney, 14-4, and Northern losing to Grand Blanc, 5-2.
Northern would then lose both games of a doubleheader at Walled Lake Central on Wednesday, May 18, as the Knights fell 9-5 in the opener and 6-4 in the nightcap.
Larson and Matt Jerore each hit 2-run home runs for the Knights in the opener, while Hunter Van Maele hit a solo home run.
“If you would have told me we would hit three home runs and lose, I wouldn’t have believed it. You have to hand it to Central, they weren’t phased,” Baglow said.
The Vikings would go on to clinch the KLAA North Division title.
Meanwhile, Western hosted Waterford Mott on Wednesday, May 18 and split a doubleheader with the Corsairs.
Western took the opening game, 9-8, as Heglin scored two runs and hit two doubles. R.J. Padrock hit 3 RBIs and Gamble hit a 2-run home run.
Mott had the bases loaded with one out, but Bone gathered up a ground ball and threw to home for the force out before catcher Blake Amhowitz threw to first to complete the 6-2-3 double play to end the game.
However, the Corsairs would take the nightcap, 11-3.
The Knights finished the week by being swept in a doubleheader against Birmingham Groves, losing 15-0 and 16-1.
Northern was scheduled to play at Brighton while Western was scheduled to play at Pinckney on Monday, May 23, after press time.
Both teams will also play KLAA crossover games today, Wednesday, May 25 at Kensington Conference opponents.
Western and Northern will both play in the South Lyon district playoffs when the state tournament begins on Tuesday, May 31.