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Tigers extend win streak

A pair of wins have stretched the Northwestern baseball team’s winning streak to 10 games as it draws closer and closer to what could be the biggest game of the season early next week.

The Tigers (9-1 Colonial League, 11-3 overall) beat Wilson (6-5, 7-6) and Catasauqua (2-8, 2-10) by a combined score of 26-7 recently, clinching a spot in the District 11 3A playoffs and moving closer to wrapping up a spot in the Colonial League playoffs.

The most recent win was a 15-5 victory against Catasauqua. Juniors Josh Farber and Aidan Freeman each collected two hits to lead an 11 hit barrage against the Rough Riders, while senior Josh Lichman and freshman Jake Carson provided the power with home runs in the game.

Both teams did most of their damage early with Catty taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the first only to have the Tigers fire back in their half of the inning with four runs.

With one out and Eli Zimmerman on base, Lichman took a 2-0 pitch out to right field to make it a 3-2 game. Bob Croneberger walked, and Farber singled to put two runners on. One out later, Freeman collected his first hit on a line drive to center to bring in Croneberger and Brady Zimmerman, who came on as a courtesy runner for Farber. That quickly, Northwestern erased the three-run deficit and took a 4-3 lead after an inning.

A leadoff walk to Eli Zimmerman to open the second resulted in another run when he stole second and advanced to third on a ground ball by Cannon Fitch. From there, Zimmerman was awarded home on a balk and the Tigers went up 5-3.

After Catasauqua put up two runs against Farber in the third to tie the game at five, the Tigers decided to put an end to the back-and-forth game when they scored eight runs in the bottom of the third.

Northwestern used leadoff base runners in the first two innings to score runs and they deployed the same strategy in the third when Farber opened the inning with a walk and Justin Augustus was hit by a pitch.

Freeman then singled to load the bases. A passed ball brought in one run and moved the runners up and Nolan Fitzgerald flied out to center to push across another run for a 7-5 lead. Freeman then scored on a wild pitch for the third run of the inning.

A hit batter, a single, and an error loaded the bases and Lichman worked a walk to force in a run for an 8-5 lead. Croneberger drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Farber again singled to plate two more runs and an error pushed across two runs as Northwestern grew their lead to 13-5.

Fitch led off the fifth with a single and went to third when Winston Church followed with a single. Another error brought home Fitch for his second run of the game. Carson put an exclamation point on the game when he hit his first varsity home run to lead off the sixth and end the game on the 10-run rule.

Farber started and threw three innings to get the win and Chase Moyer added two shutout innings with three strikeouts before Carson struck out two in the top of the sixth inning.

Earlier in the week, Northwestern downed Wilson as Augustus doubled twice and drove in three runs to lead the Tigers to an 11-2 win. Eli Zimmerman, Croneberger, and Freeman each had two hits in the game with Farber and Zimmerman both driving in two runs. Croneberg hit his first home run of the season for the Tigers.

On the mound, Lichman allowed two runs – one earned – over five innings and Griffin Unrath threw two shutout innings for Northwestern.

Northwestern has to guard against looking ahead to its rematch with Salisbury (10-0, 12-1) on Monday.

The Tigers must get past Notre Dame – Green Pond (2-7, 5-7) and Northern Lehigh (3-6, 3-8) between now and then. Salisbury and Northwestern are one and two respectively in both the Colonial League and District 11 3A standings with the difference being the Falcons 3-1 win over the Tigers earlier in the season at Salisbury High School. Monday’s game is at Northwestern Lehigh.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Chase Moyer pitched two shutout innings in a 15-5 win over Catasauqua.