Charles Henderson wins 5-4 nailbiter over Northridge in extra innings

Published 9:59 pm Friday, February 20, 2015

It took one extra inning, but Charles Henderson baseball remained undefeated Friday afternoon, winning 5-4 over Northridge in the team’s first game of the Terry Sikes Memorial Tournament at Charles Henderson High School.

“They (Charles Henderson) compete,” assistant coach Brandon Lee, who filled in for a sick Derek Irons, said after the game, “That’s a really good team in Northridge. We finish. That’s what we talk about.”

Tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 8th inning, with a runner on third base, Northridge’s catcher couldn’t handle a low pitch, and Charles Henderson junior Chase Hartley was able to steal home plate from third base, providing the walk-off run for the Trojans.

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“They know how to win,” Lee said. “Austin (Ingram) competed. He didn’t have his best stuff and he threw a lot of pitches. Jason Fleming came in and shut it down. He did what we needed him to do.”

Charles Henderson jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first when Nicholas Lewis, who reached base on a single to lead off the game, scored on an errant Northridge pickoff attempt.

Northridge responded immediately in the second inning, though, on an RBI single up the center of the infield to score a run, knotting the game at 1-1.

After a scoreless bottom of the second, Charles Henderson stormed back to take the lead with a three-run bottom of the third.

Lewis got the Trojans rolling, doubling to center field with one out.

One batter later, Reilly Fox cleared the bases with an RBI triple, scoring Lewis.

Chase Smartt and Austin Ingram followed up, each scoring a run on an RBI double.

After a fruitless fourth inning for both teams, Northridge fought back, scoring a combined three unanswered runs in the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game at four.

But in the seventh and eighth innings, Charles Henderson’s pitching dug in, shutting down the streaking Northridge offense before clinching the game in the bottom of the eighth.

At the game’s conclusion, Lee said his team still had some work to do in order to win a third-straight state title, but that doesn’t bother the assistant coach.

“No we’re not (playing our best baseball yet), but that’s OK,” Lee said. “We don’t want to be playing our best baseball until May. Hopefully we can continue to get better every day.”

With the win, Charles Henderson improves to 3-0 on the season.