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Prep baseball playoffs: Northridge survives roller-coaster, 1st-round game and beats Alta

By Bob Judson - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 13, 2022

LAYTON — Northridge High baseball scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday, breaking an 8-8 tie with Alta, to seemingly take a comfortable lead into the final frame.

But the Hawks came back, scored three runs, and made things interesting in the top of the seventh.

Of course they did.

In a baseball game reminiscent of what one would see in basketball, the score was tied or the lead changed hands six times before the No. 21 Knights escaped with a 14-11 play-in victory over No. 28 Alta in the 5A state tournament.

Alta’s (6-20) three runs in the seventh came on two Northridge errors and with two on and two out, Alta’s Jeremy Christensen, who already had hit two home runs in the game, came up to bat as the tying run at the plate.

With everyone in the stands pleading for Northridge coach Dave Martinez to intentionally walk him, Ryal Moon, in relief of Kobe McRoberts, got Christensen on a grounder to short to close it out.

“We have faith in our pitcher. We knew he could get it by him with some off speeds. He’s got a good curveball. Give him a curveball and make him ground out. We knew he could do it,” McRoberts said.  He’s been able to close out games time and time again this year.”

“We like to make it interesting with ourselves; we like to have a little fun,” McRoberts winked. “No, I wasn’t stressed. I had faith in my team and I know we can make the play when the going gets tough.”

McRoberts gave up a two-run homer that tied it at eight in the top of the sixth, then came up and hit a two-run dinger as part of the six-run bottom half of the inning.

“When I gave up that blooper home run, I was frustrated with myself,” McRoberts said. “I went up there (to bat) after Jace (Olsen) had hit a double and said I’ve got to find a way to score him. (The Alta pitcher) happened to give me a pitch I was able to get a hold of. I was looking for a low line drive to hit out of the infield or hit a gap so Jace can score from second.”

Northridge (12-12) scored at least one run in all six innings and rapped 20 hits. With threes across the board, McRoberts had three runs, hits and RBIs.

Sophomore Tytan Redd went 4-for-4 and effectively won the game with what was his third RBI of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Catcher Jed Hadley hit a two-run homer in the second inning.

Olsen came within a single of hitting for the cycle. He went 3 for 3 and scored three runs with a pair of walks. His three hits came on first-pitch swings and one of his walks was a 13-pitch at-bat.

“On my first at-bat (the home run), I got fooled on a curveball and just happened to take it out of the yard,” Olsen said.

He tripled in the third inning, doubled in the sixth, and drew walks in the fourth and sixth — which means he doubled and walked in the sixth as Northridge batted around.

“(The cycle) crossed my mind. I was a little disappointed when I got walked again,” Olsen said. “It would have been cool; we just wanted to win the game.”

Northridge now travels to play No. 12 Salem Hills for a best-of-three series starting Saturday.

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