GOOSE LAKE – The Northeast baseball team had an answer for every Monticello push during the opener of the squads’ River Valley North doubleheader Monday.
The last one, though, came right in the nick of time.
Trailing 10-7, the Rebels quickly loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but the Panthers answered back with two strikeouts.
A third out, however, never came as four straight Northeast batters reached safely, plating teammates in the process, to finish an 11-10 comeback victory.
The Rebels took advantage of Monticello wildness in the seventh. Cade Hughes was hit by a pitch, while Sam Moraetes and Anthony Adney both walked to load the bases.
Back-to-back strikeouts slowed Northeast’s momentum, but then Jimmy Weispfenning was hit by a pitch, scoring Hughes, and Riley Wolfe singled to pull the Rebels within a run.
Dane Johnson followed with a bases-loaded walk to plate Adney and tie things up at 10.
That brought up junior Dakota Stevenson, who worked the count full before finally coaxing a final walk to bring in Weispfenning for the winning run.
It was the only time Northeast led in the game and capped off a stretch of seven straight runs after the Panthers had taken their biggest lead (10-4).
Monticello scored twice in the first inning, but the Rebels answered with a run in the bottom of the inning as Caleb Gruhn and Stevenson both walked before two different passed balls brought in Gruhn for a run.
The Panthers answered back with three more runs in the second, but again Northeast countered with runs of their own.
The Rebels again made sure two early walks hurt as Wolfe drove in Kael Parson with a single and Stevenson did the same for Weispfenning before Wolfe scored a third run on a Monticello error.
Up just one, Monticello appeared to break things open with three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth, but Northeast rallied again.
Gruhn led off the bottom of the fifth with a triple and scored on a Stevenson hit before Hughes made it 10-6 with a sacrifice fly.
The Rebels got even closer in the sixth as Parson coaxed a lead-off walk and was eventually knocked in on a single by Johnson.
Wolfe and Stevenson combined for four hits and five RBIs in the game, while Gruhn, Parson, and Weispfenning each scored twice (the Rebels had six hits, while also coaxing 10 walks).
Weispfenning earned the victory in relief, surrendering just three hits and two runs in a little under four innings of work.
In the nightcap, the Rebels watched a 4-0 lead disappear, but Northeast broke a 4-4 tie with two runs in the fourth to finish the sweep with an eventual 7-5 victory.
Moraetes and Johnson both socked RBI doubles in the Rebels’ four-run second inning, while Weispfenning also drove in a run with his single (Parson scored the fourth run on a wild pitch).
Stevenson provided the big hit in the fourth as he singled in Weispfenning before scoring, himself, on a wild pitch.
Moraetes added an insurance run in the fifth. The Rebels loaded the bases without a hit – Moraetes was hit by a pitch, while Johnson and Weispfenning both walked – before Wolfe drove in Moraetes with a single.
Wolfe and Parson each had two hits for the Rebels, who finished with nine hits as a team. Moraetes scored twice, while Stevenson earned the victory and Gruhn the save.
A day later, the Rebels fell victim to a big fifth inning in a make-up road contest with Tipton.
Holding a 4-1 lead, the Tigers erupted for six runs in the frame to pull away for an eventual 11-1 victory.
Stevenson provided the Rebels’ run in the fourth, earning the first of back-to-back walks and then stealing third before scoring on a single by Johnson.
Johnson had a pair of hits, while Wolfe, Gruhn, and Hughes each added one – both Wolfe’s and Gruhn’s hits were doubles.