OSSIAN – The baseball teams from Huntington North and Norwell are expected to be the boys of summer – or at least the boys of late spring, depending on how deep they go in the IHSAA tournament.
But for one wicked, windy afternoon at Norwell, where stadium blankets were the spectators’ uniform of the day and nobody suggested Let’s play two, each team shivered through winter-like conditions in Huntington North’s 5-1 victory.
It was an early-season showdown of a pair of teams that could make a push toward Victory Field in Indianapolis, yearly site of the state finals.
Both entered with 6-0 records, with Norwell as the No. 1-ranked team in Class 3A, and Huntington North ranked No. 3 in 4A.
But with Norwell committing four or five errors, according to Knights coach Kelby Weybright, and giving up two runs in the sixth inning on two errors, a passed ball and a wild pitch, Norwell was more than hospitable to the Vikings, who took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a solo home run from pitcher Trevor Storie.
On a day like this, you fight and scratch, and we got five runs, which was enough, Huntington North coach Russ Degitz said. We’ll take it.
Huntington North got the two-out home run by Storie in the top of the second and took a 2-0 lead in the third on Evan Brown’s RBI single to right.
Norwell got a run back in bottom of the third when Austin Dantzer led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Kyler Mills’ single to right. But the Knights, issued six walks from Storie, couldn’t mount an offense.
It was a big game for us, Storie said. We knew coming in they were a great team; ranked No. 1 in 3A. We’re No. 3 on the 4A poll. It kind of left us with a bitter taste last year when they beat us.
And yet both coaches were quick to say how early it was in the season, even though April felt like January.
It is early, and it’s just one regular season game, Degitz said. For us, it was a great test. We know they’re a great ball team and they’re going to have an outstanding season. For us to be able to come in here and play well was important to us. I think it’s a confirmation for our players that the work we’re putting in is the right type of work and doing its job. We don’t want to make too much of it, but it is a good feeling to be reaffirmed in those things.
And as for Weybright: That’s why it’s April 10th and 35 degrees.