LAGRANGE – The NorthWood baseball team will get to play another day.
The No. 8 ranked Panthers edged past Angola 4-3 in eight innings in the opening game of the Class 3-A Lakeland Sectional Wednesday night.
NorthWood, which has won five straight sectional titles, earned a spot in the semifinals Saturday. The Panthers, now 20-4, will face Tippecanoe Valley at 10 a.m.
The sectional continues Thursday night as West Noble faces Lakeland at 5:30 p.m., followed by Wawasee versus Fairfield. The Thursday night winners will meet in the second semifinal contest on Saturday at approximately noon.
The title game is set for Monday at 11 a.m. with the champion advancing to the Bellmont Regional on June 2 to play the t Bellmont Sectional champion in the second semifinal game.
The Panthers and the Hornets locked up in a tight one to open tourney play.
NorthWood took a 1-0 lead in the third inning before Angola scored one in the fourth to tie it. The Panthers plated a pair of runs in the fifth frame to make it 3-1. Angola scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to tie the contest. NorthWood scored an unearned run in the top of the eighth inning for the 4-3 lead and the eventual victory.
Angola, which was co-champions of the NECC, outhit the Panthers 6-5. The Hornets had four errors to two for the Panthers, who shared the NLC title with Plymouth.
Junior Matt Dutkowski went seven innings as the starter for the coach AJ Risedorph’s Panthers. He allowed three runs, two of them earned, while striking out five and walking none.
Junior Alec Holcomb pitched the final inning for NorthWood. He fanned two of the three outs he recorded for the save.
Brant Mast, one of eight seniors, led the Panthers with two hits and an RBI.
Senior Payton Bear had a hit and an RBI and both Dutkowski and Holcomb each had a single. Bear drove in the winning run with an RBI single in the eighth inning.
Angola starter Aaron Chao allowed just three hits and one earned run. He fanned 11 NorthWood batters in the contest.