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Despite sporting a 1-3 record against South Oldham in their last four meetings, the North Oldham Mustangs came out firing on all cylinders in Tuesday night’s district opener, dispatching the Dragons 8-5 to claim their first regular season win against a county team since 2011.
They certainly got a fight though as South matched the Mustangs beat for beat through the games’ first four innings, leading North Oldham 4-3 heading into the fifth frame.
That’s when things began to turn around, however, as the Mustangs responded in dramatic fashion, re-taking the advantage with a swing of their own.
Following an RBI single from Ethan Cleary to even the score, Peter Sohn returned the momentum to North three batters later, plating two more runs on a double. One more run also scored via error to push the Mustangs’ lead to 7-4.
After trading runs over the next inning and a half, South mounted one last challenge in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with two outs, but failed to capitalize as a pop fly to center field ended the threat and the game.
More than just a win though, North Oldham coach Eric Phelps said he was pleased to see his team fight, scoring seven of their runs with two outs.
“It was good to see that,” Phelps said. “We battled; we definitely competed. South is going to compete.”
The Dragons have plenty to work on though, coach Matt Wilson said.
“We didn’t put enough pressure on them,” Wilson said. “We put up five runs, but they were a soft five runs; they weren’t authoritative. Once we start putting pressure, we have to just go. We didn’t do that. Hats off to North though, we had them on a string a couple of times and they found a way to get us out.”
Now, the Mustangs find themselves in an unfamiliar situation moving forward, assuming the role of favorite over the duration of the district schedule.
“Last year, South beat us three times, and OC beat us twice. So, it’s nice to be in the driver seat a little bit,” Phelps said. “This is a change.”
Both North and South get another test soon enough though as the teams return to the field tonight for round two.
The first pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at North Oldham.
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