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A second straight 3-A Big East Conference baseball regular-season championship did not come easy for Fike High on Tuesday’s Senior Night.
Northern Nash, winless in conference play, forced the Golden Demons to come from behind three times before finally taking a 5-4 victory at Gilbert Ferrell Field.
Their eighth straight win sent the Demons to 15-1 overall and 8-1 in conference play with just Thursday’s rematch at Northern Nash left in conference play. Fike head coach Buck Edmundson said he was proud of his team for accomplishing their goal.
“This varsity team worked hard, they had a goal in mind, and to coach them and do what we do on a daily (basis), to see them achieve it is what it’s all about,” Edmundson said. “You love to coach players and see them achieve their goals — and they did it. Hats off to my players, I’m just a coach.”
Still, against the Knights (2-14, 0-9 Big East), Edmundson didn’t feel his team played their best. Edmundson cited the Demons’ approach to the plate and their seven pop-outs they had as evidence.
Junior Hunter Stokely was the catalyst for Fike on Senior Night as he scored the first run of the game in the first inning, drove in the second run in the second inning and scored the game-winning run in the sixth inning while pitching the last two innings to earn the win. Stokely allowed no runs, no hits, one walk and struck out out three for the win in his first decision.
“It was very important for me because I’ve been playing with the seniors since I was 5 years old and I wanted to win tonight for them,” Stokely said. “I wanted the ball coming into my hand because I’m that kind of player that wants to win and, if we lose, for it to be all on me — nobody else.”
The game-winning run came via Mason Lee’s bases-loaded walk to score Stokely. Knights senior Ben Heacox took the loss as he walked Stokely in the sixth inning before leaving with 5 2/3 innings pitched. He gave up seven hits, five runs, five walks and struck out three.
Chris Pietryk and Aaron Gerlach each had two of Northern Nash’s seven hits. Gerlach drove in two runs.
Seniors Zach Pittman and Tanner Sullivan each had a couple of hits for Fike. Sullivan hit a single in the first inning to score Stokely to tie the score at 1-1. Pittman tripled to lead off the third inning and Sullivan drove him in to tie the score 3-3. Pittman hit a double in the fifth inning and scored off a Chad Bean single to tie the score at 4-4.
“There’s nothing like it,” Pittman said about the Senior Night win. “We did it last year, we’re doing it this year. It’s something cool to say because not many teams do it. It’s really nice to say we’re conference champions two years in a row.”
Score by innings:
Northern Nash 102 010 0 — 4
Fike 111 011 x — 5
WP-Hunter Stokely 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO. LP-Ben Heacox 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER,5 BB, 3 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Fike: Zach Pittman 2-3, 2B, 3B, BB, R; Hunter Stokely 2-3, BB, RBI, 2 R; Tanner Sullivan 2-3, 2 RBI, BB. Northern Nash: Aaron Gerlach 2-3, 3 RBIs; Chris Pietryk 2-2, RBI, BB.