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Northwestern blanks Ridge View in just 85 minutes

Northwestern flexed its top-seeded muscle in Thursday's 10-0 first-round playoff win over Ridge View. The Trojans sent 12 men to the plate in a seven-run third inning. They needed just five innings and about 85 minutes to get the victory.

The Trojans (16-8) collected 12 hits -- all singles -- and each player in the lineup got at least one base hit. Stewart Hunt had a two-run single in the third-inning outburst that broke the game wide open. Justin Worley reached on pair of singles and was hit by a pitch. Will Stephenson had two hits and an RBI.

Northwestern coach Mitch Walters said his team swung the bats as well as it has all year. The Trojans' next game will be against the winner of the Mauldin/Easley game played Thursday night. A Mauldin game would be played today at 6 p.m. An Easley contest would be on Saturday at noon.

In either case, the game will be played at Northwestern.

Chris Hyatt had an RBI-single in the fourth and finished 1-for-2 with two RBIs. It was his first hit in three games. He really can't complain too much, though. He entered the game hitting a gaudy .516 and had a .720 on-base percentage. Those numbers should be attached to a basketball player's free throw stats, not hitting.

The senior catcher has committed to play for Lander next year.

"I have been driving in runs, just not getting hits lately," Hyatt said. "I will trade hits for RBIs as long as we keep winning."

Hyatt is one of four Trojans named to the All-Region 3-AAAA team. Teammates Worley, Clay Bates and Chad Smith also made the team, according to Walters.

Smith was nothing short of brilliant on the mound. He allowed just three base runners and retired 13 of the final 14 would-be hitters. His one-hitter was not overpowering, just good according to Hyatt.

"Chad threw great. His fastball was running on him a little but his curveball was good," Hyatt said.

Smith improved to 4-3 on the year. Ridge View's Brenton Smith reached on an error with one out in the first.

One out later Alex Snider drew a walk. Smith froze Will Parsons with a curve ball for a called third strike to end the inning.

Smith, who signed earlier this week to play for Winthrop, put the Blazers down in order in the second and third. Snider got a clean single to center field with one out in the fourth.

Snider, incidentally, is a 6-foot-4, 290-pound first baseman. His coach, Robbie Hardy, answered the inevitable question before it could be asked. Snider does not play football.

Hardy is a former baseball and basketball for Indian Land High School.

Northwestern got to Ridge View's starting pitcher Scott Baldwin in the second inning. Hyatt brought Zach Watts home with the first run on a sacrifice bunt. Worley came around to score on a fielding error.

The Trojans plated six of their seven runs in the third frame with two outs. The binge was aided by three more Blazers' errors.

Baldwin (3-4), an All-Region 4-AAAA pick, gave up nine hits in three innings.

Only one of the nine runs scored on him were of the earned variety. Ridge View fell to 10-14 and will play at Mauldin or Easley on Saturday.

NORTHWESTERN 10

RIDGE VIEW 0

Ridge View

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00

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0

0

4

Northwestern

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1x

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10

12

1

Scott Baldwin, Adam Knopik (4) and Austin Ross. Chad Smith and Chris Hyatt. W -- Smith (4-3). L -- Baldwin (3-4). Leading hitters: Ridge View -- Alex Snider 1-1. Northwestern -- Will Stephenson 2-3, Justin Worley 2-2, Chris Hyatt 1-2, 2 RBIs, Stewart Hunt 1-3, 2 RBIs.

Record: Northwestern 16-8

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