Post-season next for once-beaten Northport

Mustangs will play host FridayNorthport High (19-1) will play host to the first round of the District 7 1B baseball tournament Friday afternoon at 1 p.m.In the opener at 1 p.m., Almira/Coulee-Hartline will oppose Panorama North no. 2 Curlew (8-8) in a loser-out match-up. The Northeast 1B champion Mustangs will play the winner immediately following game one. At stake is a berth in the District 7 1B championship game next Monday at University High School (Spokane). If Northport is able to advance, the Mustangs would play the winner from the Odessa, Selkirk and Wilbur-Creston District bracket that plays Friday in Odessa.RECAPNHS blew out Cusick in a cold May Day doubleheader last week at Cusick. The Mustangs were able to substitute liberally in the 26-6 (four innings) and 22-3 (four innings) twinbill wins.Back home on a decidedly nicer day for baseball last Saturday, Northport wrapped up their regular season with impressive 7-0, 11-4 wins over Wilbur-Creston (8-9).CUSICK RECAPIn the opener at Cusick, NHS collected only five hits off Panthers’ pitching. But the Mustangs took advantage of nine Cusick (5-12) errors.NHS ace Jeremiah Johnson made a brief appearance for the first time in awhile after working through some arm issues. Johnson returns“Jeremiah pitched two pain-free, sharp innings,” Northport head coach Don Baribault said of his right-hander. Dylon Masters and Jace Shaw each got in an inning of relief work in the first game.In the second game, Josh Konkler was very sharp once again, yielding only four singles in the four-inning contest. Panorama League Most Valuable Player Daulton Burke and Johnson didn’t make an out all afternoon long against the overmatched Panthers. They combined for eight eights.Brandon Hedrick hit another home run (his fourth). Johnson was even sharper in the sweep of Wilbur-Creston. Not to worry—Johnson hurled a one-hitter at the Wildcats. “The main thing I was concerned with was getting Jeremiah back to health,” Baribault said. “After sitting out several starts, he pitched very well.” Johnson looked sharp and had Wilbur-Creston swinging and missing often and early.“He was pain free and mixed his pitches very well,” Baribault said of Johnson’s shutout gem.Look for Johnson to be back on the hill Friday afternoon.NHS backed Johnson with eight hits. Hedrick had a double for Northport, who used a four-run second inning to give Johnson an early cushion he wouldn’t relinquish.In the second game, Konkler pitched five strong innings and Hedrick pitched the final two innings to wrap up the sweep.Konkler was cruising until the fifth inning, when some wildness took over. He made it through the fifth inning, but surrendered four runs. Hedrick came on and was effective with his fastball and an assortment of off-speed pitches.“We struggled in both games offensively against their pitching staff,” Baribault said of a line-up that hasn’t often shown a whole lot of pop this spring. “Their pitchers threw a lot of strikes and moved the ball around the plate very effectively,” Baribault said of the W-C hurlers. “With the exception of Brandon (Hedrick), who had a few doubles and his fifth home run, our big guys we have been relying on to carry us did not have great days at the plate. But the middle and bottom of our order stepped up.”ALL-LEAGUENine players, including Burke, Johnson, Konkler and Hedrick, were picked to the nine-member Northeast 1B All-League team. Burke, a transfer from Kettle Falls, was named league MVP.