LATHROP – Three feet.
That is how close Northgate pitcher Blake Mount came to a no-hitter Friday, as Jayden Morales lifted a Texas Leaguer down the right-field line in the first inning that landed barely in fair territory for the only Spreckels Park hit at Mossdale Landing Park.
Northgate gave its pitcher more than enough offensive support for a 6-0 win and the District 67 9-11-year-old championship.
“I think Blake Mount had a dynamic pitching performance today,” Northgate coach Stephen Schluer said. "At the beginning of the week we didn’t even know if he was going to be here because he was vacationing at Lake Shasta.
“He came back earlier in the week and then he got back from Shasta this morning and he told me he was ready to pitch. We were able to pitch him just enough to save him for this game. He is a solid baseball player and is one of the leaders on our team.”
Morales’ hit was the only Spreckels Park ball to clear the infield.
“We played them earlier in the tournament and they were hitting the high pitches,” Schluer said. “So we have been working on keeping the ball lower to get groundballs and it worked.”
Northgate converted nine groundouts with no errors.
“We played 100 percent as a team,” Schluer said. “And however sweet for a pitcher to throw a one-hitter, the win was a collaborative effort for the team.”
With Ian Buck (four hits, five strikeouts) matching Mount for two innings, the wheels started to come off the wagon in the third inning for Spreckels Park. Northgate forced two errors in both the third and fourth innings, leading to four runs with Noah Navarro lacing a two-RBI double in the fourth, plating Nick Garcia and Kila Day.
Devon Richardson led off the Northgate fifth with a triple and scored on a single by Garcia who came in to score on a wild pitch. In the third inning for Northgate, Navarro walked and scored on an error and Collins Schluer reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error off the bat of Hunter Canady.
Northgate won the District 67 championship last season as 8-10 year olds.
“This is practically the same group of kids we won it with last year,” Stephen Schluer said. “We did pull one kid – Anthony Morales – up from the minors to play with us but all the rest played on either the A or the B team last year so they have been here before, they know how to play and they know how to compete.
“I am excited for them and excited for Sections next week.”
The Section championships begin next Saturday at 9 a.m. at Mossdale Landing Park.