To play baseball for Northeastern High School certain rules must be followed. They include sporting clean-shaven faces and no long hair.
It’s the second part the Jets have totally embraced.
Looking for something to help bust a slump, the Jets decided one player would get a Mohawk haircut after each win. So far it’s nine and counting.
“We’re almost out of names (to pull out of the envelope),” said senior shortstop Nick Wiseman said. “We’re probably going to throw the JV in there to mess with them.”
Northeastern had buzzed through the Ohio Heritage Conference with a 9-0 record entering Friday’s game with Mechanicsburg. Still looming are two games with OHC power West Liberty-Salem. How big would an OHC title be? Talk about creating a buzz: Northeastern’s last baseball league title came in 1984.
“It’d be indescribable,” said senior left-hander Cameron Hand. “That would be pretty nice.”
The battle cry “Hang The Banner” has served as Northeastern’s inspiration. Wiseman and Hand are leading the charge.
Offensively, leadoff hitter Mitchell McCorkle leads the Jets with a .500 average, 17 runs and an on-base percentage of .617, thanks in part to getting plunked eight times by pitches. Wiseman (.415, 19 RBIs, 2 HRs), Dylan Unangst (.394) and Clayton Farquer (.389) are also tough outs.
On the mound, Hand is the aceat 4-0 with a 1.55 earned-run average. He also has 40 strikeouts in 27 innings. McCorkle (2-2, 1.04 ERA, 34 strikeouts in 21 innings) and Matt Paul (3-0, 0.93 ERA) are also keeping opposing hitters guessing.
“I knew we had some talent,” coach Chad Fyffe said. “I knew the key was to get the guys to believe in themselves, to believe in each other. Once we started doing that we got on a roll.”
One of the biggest confidence builders was a win over Triad. Northeastern trailed 5-0 but rallied for the 7-6 victory.
They don’t want to get too far ahead of themselves, but the Jets can’t help but think about the postseason. More specifically, the district tournament. If the Jets win the league an assistant coach promised to get a Mohawk. If they reach the district tournament coach Fyffe has promised the same.
“I think we have a chance of going pretty far in the tournament,” said Hand, who hasn’t received his Mohawk yet. “I think we can at least win sectionals. We’re confident in that.”
Added Fyffe: “My wife’s not too excited about that. If we make it there I’ll be happy.”