Homestead rallies in seventh to beat HNHS in sectional championship

Huntington North batter Connor West twists out of the way of a high, hard one against Homestead in the Huntington North Baseball Sectional champinship game on Wednesday, May 29. Photo by Scott Trauner.

Homestead scored twice in the top of the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie with the Huntington North High School varsity baseball team in the championship game of the Huntington North Sectional on Wednesday, May 29, ending the Vikings' season, 4-2.

The Spartans' rally came with two outs, and ended with two runs scoring on a delayed steal of home and an error by HNHS catcher Devon Goelz.

With runners at first and third, Homestead's Tyler Zimske took off for second, drawing a throw from Goelz, which prompted Homestead's runner on third, Joe Ault, to make a dash for the plate. When the return throw to Goelz skipped in the dirt, the Homestead runner collided with Goelz and scored what proved to be the winning run. When Goelz pleaded his case for interference with the home plate umpire instead of retrieving the ball, the second Homestead runner scored.

The Vikings went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame.

The Spartans, 18-10, plated one in the top of the first inning to take the early lead, but the Vikings responded in the bottom of the third on a two-run home run by Drew Schnitz.

Another solo score was the equalizer for Homestead in the top of the fifth.

Schnitz accounted for Huntington North's only other hit on a night when Homestead hurler Ault went the distance on the mound, ceding only two hits and as many earned runs while striking out six to get the win.

The pitcher also starred at the plate for the Spartans, banging out a game-high three hits with a run scored. Zimske added two runs batted in, a hit and a run to the team's offensive effort.

Connor West pitched 4.2 innings for the Vikings, yielding five hits and two earned runs with nine strikeouts. Quinton Smith pitched two frames of relief, during which time the Spartans scored the game's decisive runs, and the senior got tagged with the loss.

Huntington North finishes the season 15-10 and loses eight players to graduation.