HOWARD — The East Knox Bulldogs baseball team gave up four hits and two runs in the opening inning Thursday at home against Northmor, but then put the clamps on the Knights, while racking up 11 runs by the end to win 11-2.
Northmor came out swinging, and a single by Hunter Mariotti scored Wyatt Reeder, with a Pierce Lower single bringing around Mostyn Evans to quickly put the Bulldogs in a 2-0 hole before they could even touch their bats.
“It’s always next play mentality,” East Knox pitcher Kal Gallwitz said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the next pitch or the next inning, it doesn’t matter. You’ve just got to be fresh all the time.”
After two quick half innings, the Bulldogs managed to scratch out a run in the second, with Andrew Allman reaching base on an error and Kadden Lester scoring on the play to cut the lead to 2-1 in the second.
East Knox picked it up again in the third. Cade Leach scored on an error, Kasson Krownapple scored on a Lester single and Weston Melick scored on another error in the inning to steal the lead away and run it to 4-2 heading into the fourth. Lester had a stellar inning behind the plate in the fourth, throwing out a runner diving back to first for the first out of the inning, followed by a throw to second to gun down a runner trying to steal for the third out of a quick inning.
The Bulldogs got hot again in the fifth inning. Chase Lilly singled to score Melick. Gage Steinmetz doubled to bring in both Peyton Lester and Kadden Lester, with an Allman single scoring Steinmetz. On the next at-bat, Caleb Gallwitz reached on an error on his bunt and Allman took advantage to score, and in four at-bats, the score was run up to 9-2.
“Our offense has just been really good this year,” East Knox coach Randy Baugher said of the quick scoring. “There was no panic on our part. I get nervous, but the kids don’t. Nothing gets them shook up.”
In the next inning, the Bulldogs tacked on some insurance runs, with Kadden Lester doubling home Melick and Lester scoring later in the frame to move the lead to 11-2.
“You’ve just got to kind of roll with the punches,” Kal Gallwitz said of the solid play down the stretch. “You’ve got to take what they give you and just the ball where they’re not at.”
Kal Gallwitz, normally a reliever for the Bulldogs, got the start on the mound, switching spots with Cade Leach, who normally starts, but came in for relief Thursday.
“My pitching coach is Peter Crone and he has done such a good job with the boys,” Baugher said. “He flipped it on me tonight and I totally trusted him.”
The starter surrendered eight hits, two earned runs, while fanning eight.
Leach pitched two relief innings, giving up two hits with three strikeouts.
Brayden Black started for the Knights, pitching 4 1/3 innings. He took a line drive to the neck in the second inning, but continued to pitch after a short time on the ground. He allowed nine hits, six earned runs and a walk, with four strikeouts to his credit. Bryce Downard came on in relief, giving up three hits, two earned runs with a strikeout.
At the plate, Lester had a nice night, connecting in all three at-bats, including a double, which he paired with three runs and two RBI. Lilly was 2 for 2 with an RBI and Melick was 2 of 3 with three runs. Steinmetz had two RBI and a run on his double and Allman cracked a single with an RBI and a run on the night. Caleb Gallwitz and Leach each kicked in a double and Kasson Krownapple added a single.
Leadoff man Reeder led Northmor with three hits, including a double. Mariotti and Dakota Downard each had a pair of base hits on the night, while Evans, Lower and Chris Bood each connected on a single.
Northmor fell to 4-5 on the year with a 3-4 record in the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference. East Knox rose to a perfect 11-0 on the year, while toting a 7-0 league record. The two teams will battle it out again tonight
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