Northwestern sophomore Gage Voorhees said he was nervous about pitching against Northeastern in Wednesday’s second-round tournament game. He knew the Ohio Heritage Conference champion Jets could hit.
But his nerves never showed. And neither did the Jets’ bats. Voorhees kept them off balance with a curveball-fastball combo, allowed two hits and struck out six to lead the Warriors to a 6-1 victory in Division III.
When he walked off the mound at Northeastern after throwing strike three to end the game, Voorhees didn’t even smile. His teammates were just as calm.
“You know you expect to win and you want to have that feeling that it just comes naturally,” said Voorhees, who won his fifth game. “We don’t want to showboat.”
The Warriors (14-11) might celebrate a little next Wednesday if they win. They play Carlisle or Dayton Christian for the sectional title at 5 p.m. at Tecumseh High School.
The Jets (17-9) scored in the sixth with the help of three errors. Otherwise, it was only two singles by Connor Obee.
“He pitched a nice ballgame,” Warriors coach Todd Houseman said. “He usually gives us a really good outing.”
The Warriors scored four runs off Jets ace Aaron Phillips in the fourth. Derek Whip and Brenden Huber singled in the first two runs. Then Phillips tried to pick Huber off first. Jets coach Chad Fyffe said Huber was out and approached the base umpire.
“He said it was a judgment call and he couldn’t see whether he got in or not,” Fyffe said. “And I asked if he could appeal it.”
The answer was no. To everyone’s surprise, Fyffe was ejected as he returned to the dugout. With only one out instead of two, Spencer Rindali sacrificed both runners into scoring position and Jake Parks hit a two-run double for a 4-0 lead. Christian Highfield added a two-run double in the fifth.
Rinaldi, who also had a single, and Parks were batting because of injuries to left fielder Tanner White and first baseman Evan Crew. White is out for the season with a sprained ankle. Crew has a sprained knee, but he might play next week.
Fyffe has much to look forward to the next two seasons with all but two starters coming back.
“I figured it’d be a long season,” Fyffe said. “They just stepped up. We’ve got a good shot the next couple years.”