Playing their third game in as many days, the Northwestern Trojans broke open a close game with four runs in the fourth inning and six more in the fifth to defeat cross-town rival Rock Hill High, 13-3, at Northwestern on Friday night.
The Trojans, winners of four in a row after a 1-3 start, had extra motivation after being eliminated by Rock Hillin last year's four-team Class AAAA Upper State finals tournament.
"They beat us twice in last year's Upper State, so we were thinking and talking about that the whole time leading up to the game," Northwestern's Sammy Taormina said. "I was on the team and did not play much, but I had to sit and watch it."
Taormina played a key role in the Trojans' 17-hit attack during Friday's Region 3-AAAA contest.
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Taormina went 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs. In the fourth and fifth innings, he belted 2-run singles.
Other Trojan offensive standouts included Stuart Hunt, who was 2-for-3, Taylor Norris, 3-for-3, and Michael Patrick, 3-for-4. Jeff Long went 2-for-2.
After the Trojans a took 4-1 lead in the fourth inning, Rock Hill countered with two runs in the top of the fifth to pull to within one.
But Northwestern countered with six runs on seven singles in the fifth to take control. The Trojans added three more in the sixth to end the contest on the 10-run rule.
Trojans coach Mitch Walters said his team did an outstanding job putting the ball in play.
"Baseball is a game where the little things matter," Walters said. "It is unlike football and basketball where the bigger and stronger athletes usually can dominate. And what we are doing is the little things, such as moving the runner over into scoring position."
Patrick said the team's aggressiveness at the plate was the key.
"We concentrated on hitting the ball up the middle. It was very important for us to get base runners aboard."
Norris, who got three hits batting seventh for the Trojans, agreed.
"That is something that we do everyday in practice, and it paid off for us tonight."
Sophomore pitcher Cameron Norwood picked up the mound victory for the Trojans. In four innings of work, Norwood scattered six hits with four strikeouts.
The Trojans captured their third win in as many days over York County rivals.
Northwestern defeated Clover on Wednesday and South Pointe on Thursday before Friday's win over Rock Hill. More importantly, two of those three wins counted in the region standings, where the Trojans are now 2-0.
"Playing three games in three days is tough on anyone, especially in high school," Walters said. "But we stayed on a good level and were ready to play.
"However, it does help anytime you play your rivals. Like we always say, we want to play the game and not your opponent, and that is what we did today."
NORTHWESTERN 13, ROCK HILL 3
Ben Berger and Taylor Gillespie. Cameron Norwood and Jensen Michaels. W -- Norwood. L -- Berger. 2B -- (NW) Sammy Taormina, (RH) Ethan Neely.
Leading hitters: Rock Hill -- Adams, 2-2. Northwestern -- Taylor Norris 3-3, Taormina, 3-4, Michael Patrick, 3-4, Stuart Hunt 2-3, Jeff Long 2-2
Records: Northwestern 5-3, 2-0.