First place Cambridge looked to solidify its region lead with a game at Northview Monday evening. Northview had other ideas, sending its SEC-bound ace to the mound, while the Bears sent Evan Pollifrone out in opposition
Hits were at a premium in the early going as both pitchers came out strong. Cambridge squandered a Ross Friedrick single in the first, while Pollifrone set the home team down in order in the bottom of the inning. Cambridge got a two-out single from Ryan Todd in the third, but he was stranded.
Northview scored first in the bottom of the third. The first two hitters reached on a swinging bunt and a regular bunt that between them didn't go fifty feet. Pollifrone buckled down to retire the next two Titans batters. After a beautiful 0-2 pitch was called a ball, the Northview 3-hole hitter lofted a perfectly-placed fly ball to right that just eluded right fielder Johnny Eneberg for a double and two runs for the home team.
Pollifrone worked easy innings in the fourth and fifth, matching his counterpart pitch for pitch. The Bears threatened in the sixth via a Todd single and walks to Cody Rech and Mitch Fleming to load the bases. But all runners were left stranded, keeping the score at 2-0. Pollifrone pitched another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth, setting up the offense for one last chance in the seventh.
Facing a new Northview pitcher, the offense delivered in a big way. Pinch-hitter Tommy Fester led off and got on by error. Eneberg then walked with two outs to keep the rally alive. Todd blooped a single to shallow right to score Fester and close the gap to 2-1. Friedrick then lined a single to right center to tie the score at 2-2. Rech stepped to the plate and lined a picture perfect single to left center to drive in the go ahead run and deliver a 3-2 Cambridge lead before the inning finally ended.
Northview was not finished as they pushed the tying run across in the bottom of the inning off of reliever Michael Polk as the game moved to extra innings. Neither team scored in the eighth, though Polk worked out of a small jam to escape with the game tied.
Cambridge went quietly in the ninth. Northview loaded the bases against Bears reliever Nick Dato in the bottom of the inning, and then won the game by error for a dramatic 4-3 victory.
The top three hitters in the Cambridge lineup accounted for all six hits on the evening, led by Todd with three hits, Friedrick with two and the big go-ahead single for Rech. Pollifrone pitched a whale of a game, going six innings and allowing two runs on four hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. Dato took the loss, his first of the season.
Cambridge continues region play with a home game against Dunwoody on Wednesday, March 20th. Dunwoody is in second place in region, so the Bears need a win to retain the top spot. Game time is 5:55 PM.