Northwestern was quite hospitable in its first game of the Wheels Baseball Invitational. The hosting Trojans committed five errors that led to 10 unearned runs in an 11-5 loss to Anderson's Westside Rams.
The Rams, off to a 9-5 start this season, trailed 4-1 through the first four innings. But a five-run outburst in the fifth gave them the lead.
Gabe Moon singled with one out for Westside. Wilson Bishop walked after a Dylon Campbell line out. Cody O'Brien singled to load the bases.
Rock Harling hit a grounder to third base that could have ended the inning. But Northwestern's third baseman James Childress' throw bounced past first baseman Dylan Carpenter. Two runs scored and the flood gates opened.
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Trey Ivester singled in another run. Marshall Daniel ripped the next offering from Trojans' starting pitcher Wade Ruff to centerfield scoring two more.
Moon reached base five times, score four runs and finished 3-for-4.
"We preach all the time the importance of playing basic baseball," Northwestern coach Mitch Walters said. "If you can't throw it and you can't catch it, you aren't going to win many games.
"Ruff pitched well enough to win. He battled and had to throw a lot more pitches because of the errors behind him."
Northwestern scored three runs in the first inning on an RBI single from Justin Boylston and a two-run double by Scott Heise. The inning had greater potential except for a base-running mistake that led to a double play on a fly ball to center.
Heise had a great night at the plate. The junior second baseman was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs. Everything he hit was a laser.
"Heise has been hitting the ball real well. If we can put the defense together with the offense we'll be OK," Walters said.
Northwestern (7-6) will play two games today. The Trojans will entertain Upper St. Clair at 5 p.m., followed by Region 3-AAAA foe York at 7:45.
York beat Northwestern, 11-3, in their lone meeting this season.
Westside, a Region 1-AAAA member, got four innings from senior starter Andrew Rash. Rash scattered six hits, walked two and struck out four before yielding to Jacob Saxon.
Saxon gave up a run on three hits in three innings of work.
Rash hit a grand slam in the Rams' first game of the tourney against York. But the Cougars prevailed when Stephen Trotter singled in the go-ahead run with one out in the seventh and final inning.
"This was kind of like the first game. It took a while to get our bats going," Westside coach Barry New said.
The Rams were held hitless in the first four innings against York. They managed just one run on five hits through four frames against the Trojans.
"We did a pretty good job hitting and we capitalized on their errors," New added.
New was pleased to finish the first day with a split. They'll play Upper St. Claire today at 2 pm. Following the game, he plans to take his team bowling.
This is Westside's first trip to the Wheels. "We've been treated real well," New said.
WESTSIDE 11, NORTHWESTERN 5
W -- Andrew Rash (W) L -- Wade Ruff (N)