Shortstop’s two homers lead to big victory

Last updated: July 03. 2013 9:30PM - 3509 Views
By - psokoloski@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6392

Northwest's Sam Saxe does a fist pump as he rounds third base after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against Bob Horlacher in District 31 Little League action in Beaumont on Wednesday evening.
Northwest's Sam Saxe does a fist pump as he rounds third base after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against Bob Horlacher in District 31 Little League action in Beaumont on Wednesday evening.
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BEAUMONT - Staring incredulously at the first base umpire, Northwest shortstop Sam Saxe turned his palms toward the sky, wondering why his strong throw to first base was ruled too late to complete a double play.

He left no doubt, though, when he got a bat in his hands.

Saxe slammed two home runs Wednesday as Northwest stayed alive in the District 31 Little League Tournament by beating Bob Horlacher, 7-2 in an elimination bracket final at the Bob Horlacher field.

“It feels good to come through in a clutch moment,” Saxe said.

His heroics helped Northwest advance to play for district championship against unbeaten Back Mountain on Friday.

“It’s awesome,” Saxe said. “All of us, it’s our last year (in Little League), except for one. It’s great to be here now and have a chance to be in the district final.”

“This is big for us,” Northwest coach Brian Hardiman said. “This is a privelege and an honor for these guys.”

Saxe honored the moment with his biggest game yet, but his first blow was the biggest.

After Bob Horlacher struck first while playing as the visitor on its home field when Tyler Faux led off the game with a double and eventually scored on a grounder, Saxe tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first by lining a shot over the center field wall.

He duplicated the feat with a nearly identical drive in the third inning, using his second homer in as many at-bats to up Northwest’s advantage to 6-1.

“I felt like I was zoned into the pitcher,” Saxe said. “We’d seen him before, we were confident in our hitting. I think my timing was good.”

“Heck of a game,” Hardiman said of his star shortstop. “One heck of a kid he is.”

All heck broke loose in the second inning, when Northwest pretty much gained the upper hand with a four-run frame built around three Bob Horlacher errors and a couple of key hits.

Michael Sherrick scored the tie-breaking run for Northwest when Jake Reilly reached on a fielder’s choice, and Brandon Hardiman - Brian’s son - hammered a two-run single to right field. Hardiman also doubled and scored Northwest’s final run on an error in the fourth.

About the only thing that didn’t go Northwest’s way was that call at first base, when Saxe fielded a grounder, stepped on second and fired to first - only to be denied getting the call on the double play attempt.

“Looked like he was out there,” Saxe shrugged, “but …”

Bob Horlacher pulled within 5-2 in the third inning, when Mike Lee’s single drove home Mitch Rome, but that was all Northwest pitcher David Piestrak allowed.

The righthander worked a complete game six-hitter, striking out five and issuing just one walk along the way.

“Solid pitching, defense was solid,” Brian Hardiman said.

Now, Northwest has a solid shot at making a run at a Back Mountain team it must defeat twice to take the District 31 crown.

“I’ve never seen them play,” Saxe said, “but they’re obviously a good team to be in the district finals.”

Bob Horlacher`AB`R`H`RBI`2B`3B`HR

Tyler Faux p,ss`3`1`1`0`1`0`0

Mike Lee ss,p`3`0`1`1`0`0`0

Tommy Traver c`3`0`1`1`0`0`0

C.J. Wright 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Cole Coolbaugh 2b`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Brendan Verre 1b`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Lenny Kelley lf,cf`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Mike Spudis cf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Mitch Rome rf`1`1`1`0`0`0`0

Zach Strazdas rf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Shane Sherwood cf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Robert Phillips lf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0



David Piestrak p`3`1`0`0`0`0`0

Brandon Hardiman cf`3`1`2`2`1`0`0

Sam Saxe ss`3`2`2`2`0`0`2

Austin Ford 1b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Matt Saxe lf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Elijah Schnee lf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Alex Davison lf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Michael Scherrick 2b`3`1`0`0`0`0`0

Bobby Long c`2`1`1`0`0`0`0

Jackson Yaple 3b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Caleb Diltz 3b`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jake Reilly rf`1`1`0`1`0`0`0

Bryce Koser rf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0


Bob Horlacher`101`000 - 2

Northwest`141`10x - 7

LOB - Bob Horlacher 5, Northwest 5. DP - Bob Horlacher 1. E - Bob Horlacher 5. Sac - Sherwood.

Bob Horlacher`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Tyler Faux, L`4 2/3`5`7`2`4`5

Jake Reilly`1/3`0`0`0`0`0


David Piestrak`6`6`2`2`1`5

WP - Piestrak 2, Faux.

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