In its first year in the conference, Cardinal Gibbons won the PAC-6 Conference championship by scoring eight runs in the fourth inning to defeat Northern Durham 9-6 at the Knights’ home field on Wednesday night.
In the fourth, the Crusaders (21-2, 11-1) had eleven consecutive hitters reach base, and scored three runs off wild pitches, two scores off a single by left fielder Stephen Shank, and one run each of hits by Jeff Cadran, Chris Thorburn, and Cam McNabb to retake the lead to 9-2.
Going into the regular season finale tied with the Knights for first in the PAC-6, Gibbons gained revenge after losing to Northern 4-3 on April 8 in Raleigh, its only conference loss this season.
Northern (14-7, 10-2) starter Griff Baker, who earned the win last month against Gibbons by giving up just three runs, yielded eight runs on ten hits.
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Northern went into the fourth inning leading 2-1 after Spencer Smith singled home Pete Vurnakes, who went 3-for-4 with a double on his senior night.
Gibbons’ Paul Todd (5-0) earned the win despite yielding five runs and nine hits over four-and-a-third innings. Submariner Jack Yusko took the save by throwing the final two-and-two-thirds innings, giving up just one hit.
The Knights rallied for three runs in the fifth, including an RBI double from catcher Spencer Smith. Gibbons retired Northern in order in the seventh to earn the title.
In the bottom of the fourth with Gibbons leading 3-2, Shank laced a bases-loaded double to right center field to score Noah Campbell and Daniel Haberem. The Crusaders led 5-2 and would score four more to put away the conference championship.
Three to know
Cam McNabb, Cardinal Gibbons: First baseman went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Noah Campbell, Cardinal Gibbons: The shortstop went 2-for-3, scoring a run and made five assists on defense.
Spencer Smith, Northern Durham: Catcher went 2-for-3 with a double.
They said it
“You never expect something like that. Baseball is a funny sport. That’s the type of thing that can happen. You certainly never expect it, especially against a team like Northern. Our guys just went up there with a lot of plate discipline, they put the ball in play and found a lot of holes.” – Gibbons coach Jim Liebler.
By the numbers
0: Number of teams from Wake County who won the PAC-6 Baseball Championship before Gibbons did it on Wednesday.
7: Consecutive wins for Gibbons.
6: Number of runs scored by Northern. Only South Johnston (7) has scored more against Gibbons this year. (Charlotte Christian and Sun Valley also scored 6).