By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The suicide squeeze is one of the most exciting plays in baseball — when executed correctly.
NorthWood executed the play not just once, but twice- on back-to-back hitters — Wednesday night, and the two plays yielded three runs in the fourth inning en route to a 6-1 victory over Goshen in an NLC contest.
NorthWood improved to 10-5 overall (4-2 NLC) with the win in a game rescheduled from Monday due to rain.
NorthWood coach Zach Benko said the small-ball approach to the inning was about fulfilling a goal of scoring one run per inning against the Redskins.
“Goshen is a very good defensive team, and we wanted to score runs however we could,” Benko said.
The Panthers got on the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the first. Tanner Roberts led off with a single, and Brock Spitaels reached on an error. With two outs, Blake Cleveland singled home Roberts.
Goshen tied it in the top of the fourth. Travis Pickard walked, and Luke Harris sacrificed him to second. With two outs, Diego Garcia plated Pickard with an RBI single.
But NorthWood bounced right back with the aforementioned three runs in the home half of the fourth. Ryan Gerber led off the frame with a single, and Hunter Lane followed with a single. Nate Wagner sacrificed the runners to second and third, and then Kyle McCoy came up. He laid down the first suicide squeeze, and both runners scored. McCoy ended up at second after first base was left uncovered.
Roberts followed, laying down the second suicide squeeze and plating the third run of the frame.
McCoy said when he got the sign, his first thought was just getting the bunt down in a good spot in fair territory.
“When the first base coach noticed first base was covered, he waved me around,” McCoy said.
The scorebook will credit McCoy with a double — on a ball that traveled maybe 12 feet.
NorthWood added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Roberts earned the win on the mound, going five innings and striking out three. Will Kirkwood finished up with two scoreless innings.
Berko was pleased with his team’s errorless play, and also with 10 hits — the Panthers’ first game this season with double figures in hits.
Tyler Slagel took the loss for the Redskins.
For the Redskins, the frustration continued. Goshen dropped to 4-13 overall (0-7 NLC).
Goshen coach Hal Farmwald said mental mistakes did his team in on Tuesday.
“When you’re not hitting, you can’t afford the kind of mental errors we’re making,” Farmwald said. “We have to play smart at all times.”
Goshen returns to action today. The Redskins host Northridge at 5 p.m.
NorthWood travels to Concord today for a contest also scheduled for a 5 p.m. first pitch.
NorthWood 6, Goshen 1
Goshen 000 100 0 — 1-5-1
NorthWood 100 302 x — 6-12-0
Pitching: (Goshen) Tyler Slagel (L), Jesse Good and Jake Jesse. (NorthWood) Tanner Roberts (W), Will Kirkwood.
Hitting: (Goshen) Diego garcia 1-for-3, RBI; Austin Henke 1-for-3; Looker 1-for-3. (NorthWood) Blake Cleveland 3-for-4, two RBIs; Roberts 2-for-3, run scored, two RBIs.
Records: Goshen (4-13 overall, 0-7 NLC) hosts Northridge today; NorthWood (10-5, 4-2) travels to Concord.