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NEA downs Northampton

LASKER – Northeast Academy scored all the runs they would need in the first inning and held on for a 4-1 win over Northampton County High School in the opening round game of the Sgt. Will McLawhorn Scholarship Baseball tournament here on Tuesday afternoon.

Northeast opened the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the first.  Trey Futrell started things off with a walk and stole second.  Nathan Rowe then drew another base-on-balls to put two Eagles on base.  Christian Bland then delivered a run-scoring double to centerfield, scoring Futrell.  Austin Brinkley collected the third walk of the inning to load the bases.  Moments later, a wild pickoff throw by the Northampton pitcher allowed Rowe and Bland to score and it was 3-0, Northeast, after the first inning of baseball.

The Eagles added another run in the bottom of the second inning.  Peyton Galloway opened the inning with a triple over the Northampton outfielder’s head into left field.  Futrell followed with his second walk of the ball game.  Eagles coach Billy-Boy Bridges then called for the double-steal and as Futrell swiped second, Galloway stole home for another Northeast run.  The Eagles were then up 4-0 after two innings.

The Jaguars scored their only run of the game in the top of the fourth inning. Jamonta Branch drew a walk and stole second base.  Branch then scored on a Kelvin Gee RBI single to center field, cutting the NEA lead to 4-1 after three-and-a-half innings.

Northampton mounted one final threat in the top of the seventh inning.  Nick Bonanno led off with an infield base hit and stole second.  Later, with two out, Dylan Watkins singled to right field, but Bonanno was thrown out at home plate trying to score and ending the ball game.

Bland pitched a complete seven-inning game for Northeast to get the win, allowing a run on five hits with seven strikeouts.  Matt Wheeler pitched six innings for Northampton County allowing four runs on six hits and he had five strikeouts in the loss.

Northeast had six hits, led by Galloway and Bland with two hits each.  Rowe and Matt Little had one hit apiece.  The Jaguars had five hits: two by Bonanno and one each by Watkins, Gee, and George Bethel.

Northeast advances to today’s (Thursday’s) championship game, looking to defend their McLawhorn title.  The Eagles square off against Bethel Assembly at 6:30 p.m. while Cornerstone Christian meets Northampton County in the consolation game at NEA at 4 p.m.