By JOHN VRANCIC
For The Daily News
HERMANSVILLE - There was plenty of excitement around the ball park Wednesday as the North Central Jets took the field for home baseball games in the first time in their school history.
Bryce Derouin/Daily Press Photo
North Central’s Bobby Kleiman unsuccessfully tries to avoid the tag from Norway’s Taylor Benetti during Wednesday’s high school baseball game at Hermansville.
The results weren't what they wanted, however, as they dropped 10-5 and 10-1 decisions to the Norway Knights on the cloudy, breezy and chilly evening.
Game 1 was stopped after six innings to conserve on the remaining daylight. The second game was halted after five frames by darkness.
"This was huge for the community," said Jets' manager Kyle Durow. "I just wish we could have given our fans a better showing. The first game got off to a decent start, then we ran out of pitching a little."
North Central (1-2) led 5-3 after five innings of the opener. Norway then gained its first victory this season scoring seven times in the sixth and holding the Jets scoreless in their half of the frame.
Norway went ahead to stay (6-5) on Bryce Grayvold's single to leftfield. Mike Faull's single to left made it 7-5 and Cody Carlson clubbed a two-run single to left for an insurmountable 9-5 advantage.
Prior to Wednesday, the Knights (2-3) dropped three games to Gladstone, including both ends of a twinbill on Monday. North Central opened with a 12-1 triumph at Stephenson last week.
"We hit the ball better today," said Norway manager Tony Adams. "This is the first time we've played multiple games in any week this year. Although, today is really about North Central playing its first home game in its program's history. We appreciate them inviting us to be part of their history."
Faull and Austin and Bryce Grayvold had two hits each for Norway, which hosts its annual invitational tournament on Saturday. Austin Grayvold became the winning pitcher.
Norway freshmen Kevin Evosevich, Cody Carlson, Caleb Tinkey and Dane VanDenHeuvel have all recorded their first high school hits this week.
Norway's Taylor Bonetti suffered an ankle injury in the sixth inning and was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
Dawson Bilski collected three hits and drove in three runs for the Jets. Bob Kleiman had two hits and an RBI.
Tyler Bray, the second of three North Central pitchers, absorbed the loss in relief of Bilski.
"Dawson pitched real well, but his pitch count got kind of high (80)," said Durow. "We didn't want to take a chance on losing him to injury."
In the nightcap, Norway took advantage of three errors and grabbed an early 4-0 lead.
The Jets got on the board in their half of the first on Kleiman's single to right-center.
Norway raised the count to 5-1 on John Edwardsen's double to right in the second.
In the third, Norway added three runs, including a pair on Edwardsen's single to center, and ended the scoring in the fourth.
Faull and Edwardsen combined for a three-hitter and eight strikeouts.
"Overall, we played better than in our first three games," said Adams. "Although, we have a long way to go. We're still making baserunning mistakes and mental errors on defense. We need more reps."
Kleiman, who pitched the first inning, absorbed the loss.
North Central played without its four seniors, who were on their class trip.
"We had too many mental errors," said Durow. "You can't give your opponents 5-6 outs an inning. This was a big learning experience. Our kids need to learn that you can't hang your head when you make a mistake or take plays off. On the positive side, we played seven freshmen and stayed with Norway for five innings. They're a solid team. You have to play your best ball to beat them."