Antelopes win second match-up against Flames

BY J.J. IGIMS

In the second of this season's two rivalry games between Northgate and Avonworth, Northgate took the opportunity last Tuesday to honor the seniors of their team, and Avonworth took the opportunity to secure a spot in WPIAL playoffs, making this year's team the first to make AA playoffs in the school's baseball history.

Prior to the game, Northgate, the hosts, passed out gift bags to celebrate their seniors and were even kind enough to include gifts for Avonworth's seniors. However, Avonworth did not repay their kindness. The Antelopes defeated the Flames 11-3, scoring six runs in the first inning.

Pitching for the two teams included Nate Slenska for Avonworth and Johnny Camello for Northgate. Camello pitched the entire game, while Slenska was relieved by junior Brach Herzig later in the game.

The problem with Northgate's defense, though, was their lack of synchronization, according to their head coach, Brandon Hogle.

"We were not sound defensively. We didn't make the necessary plays," said Hogle, who also reflected on his pitcher. "Johnny Camello, a senior, pitched a good game. We just didn't back him up with gloves in the field."

The teams had not met since around the middle of the season, when Avonworth again came out on top 7-2. The Antelopes point to improved hitting since that time, something that was evident against the Flames when every single player in the line-up hit, including doubles from Slenska and freshmen outfielder Alex Osbourn. Those big hits, along with singles from senior second basemen Eric Lippert and Robibaro, drove in over half of Avonworth's runs.

Head coach Phil Coffin also believed his team picked up a few things since the teams' last meeting on the field. "We jumped on them early, scoring six in the top of the first. We have learned how to finish games. We are not leaving as many men on bases like [we did] earlier in the season. This is the first team to make AA playoffs. They are excited to make a run in the post-season," said Coffin.

Any time Avonworth and Northgate meet, no matter what sport, there always is the rivalry factor. It was big in the teams' first meeting, and there was no doubt that it was present in their last. Northgate, having nothing to lose, went out and gave it their all, and Avonworth, fighting to secure a position in the WPIAL playoffs, also came out smoking.

"It is always tough to lose to a strong rival. Avonworth had clutch hits, but the rivalry was definitely there," said Hogle.

Two days after their big win, Avonworth traveled to New Brighton, where they were defeated, 10-8. This was the last week of regular season play for both Northgate and Avonworth, with Avonworth commencing AA WPIAL playoff competition next week.

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