Northwest’s Austin Barnes was 0-for-3 when he stepped up to the plate in the seventh inning Monday against Bishop Carroll.
But Northwest coach Travis Stockam wasn’t worried.
“Going into these games, Austin Barnes has our highest quality at bats,” Stockam said. “Nobody knows that, and he’s hitting in the six or seven hole, and his swing looks a little different, but up to this point he’s been our best quality at bat guy.”
Barnes delivered with his first hit of the night, a grounder to the shortstop that took a bounce through to left field, scoring one run to top off Carroll 3-2 in the first game. Northwest won the second game 3-1 for the doubleheader sweep.
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“Everyone does that in practice, it really depends on you. I just went up there and did the job,” Barnes said. “I thought we were in trouble because I saw it go straight to the shortstop, but somehow it went through.”
In the first game, Carroll took the lead in the fourth inning and held it until the bottom of the seventh inning. Northwest’s Jared Gates doubled to bring home the tying run, followed by Barnes’ grounder that brought Gates in for the win. Carroll’s defense struggled with errors all game, ending with six.
“We have to play defense, and defense hurt us in both games,” Carroll coach Charlie Ebright said. “Both pitchers threw well and we gave them extra outs, that’s kind of been the story the last couple of weeks for us.”
Northwest took an early lead on Carroll in the second game and maintained it. Northwest pitcher Jacob Jones allowed only four hits, and finished the game with 12 strikeouts, two of which came from the final inning.
“It’s Carroll, it’s a big rivalry. I pitched well against Kapaun, and I wanted to keep it going,” Jones said. “My adrenaline was pumping (in the seventh inning). I could feel my heartbeat throughout my body.”
Northwest’s sweep of Carroll puts three teams in a tie for the City League title with three losses each: Northwest, East and Kapaun. The Grizzlies have no remaining regular-season games, but East has a double header against Heights Tuesday, and Kapaun faces Heights for one game Friday.
However, at the time, Stockam could only dwell in the moments followed by defeating the number one ranked 5A baseball team in the state.
“The one thing I said tonight that I haven’t said all year is we need to play with emotion. We need to be emotional about everything we do,” Stockam said. “ I wanted them to be emotional tonight, and I want them to play with emotion the rest of the season.”
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W — McIntyre.L — Holman.
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W — Jones. L — Miller.