Southmoore also made it to the regional championship game. Yet, it was Norman North who punched a ticket to the season’s final weekend with an 8-1 victory over the SaberCats in a game that started out full of tension and finished just the opposite, as a number of timely T-Wolves hits combined with six SaberCat errors turned what was a 1-1 game in the fourth inning into a come-from-behind blowout victory for North.
“Just like every season, I am very proud of the hard work that these young men have done, especially the seniors,” Southmoore coach Craig Troxell said. “As a veteran, this isn’t the way you want to end your career. We have made a lot of strides with our younger kids and they will be battle hardened coming into next season.”
Southmoore struck first, loading the bases with one out against starter DJ Gasso. But the senior worked out of the jam with minimal damage, with a baserunning error and a pop-up providing the final two outs. That gave North a chance in the second to regain the momentum, and the T-Wolves seized it, tying the game on a Tyler Bottoms sacrifice fly, after the first of Southmoore’s six errors put runners in scoring position.
But the SaberCats threatened to retake the lead in the bottom half of the inning, as well as in each of the next three. But Gasso and the North defense worked out of every tough spot, holding Southmoore scoreless and forcing the SaberCats to strand five runners through three innings.
That opened the door for North to take control of the game, and the T-Wolves did so. They added a run in the fourth inning to take the lead when Kallen Snodgrass narrowly beat a throw to home plate, and the floodgates opened in the fifth. Jones led off the inning with a triple, Nick Basquine scored him by bunting for a hit, and Herron capped off a spectacular regional tournament in which he went 7 for 11 by providing the hit that brought in Basquine.
The Cats end the year at 16-15.
“We are always going to have high expectations at Southmoore,” Southmoore coach Craig Troxell said. “We, as a staff, knew that we only had three starters coming back, but had some talented newcomers. We had to battle injuries with our veterans almost the whole season, and we had to endure growing pains with our young kids. Those two obstacles were big ones. “