Nottingham’s Nick Houghton broke two school records on the mound with his win over Hamilton West. Photo by Michael A. Sabo
Whenever two Hamilton Township schools faceoff in any sport you know it’s going to be exciting! The Nottingham and Hamilton baseball teams proved that again, as the Northstars edged the Hornets in a classic pitchers duel by a final score of 3 to 2.
While it hasn’t exactly warmed up to normal mid-April temperatures, Nottingham “Ace” Nick Houghton brought the heat and left a lot of Hamilton batters out in the cold!
14 to be exact. Houghton fanned 14 at the plate, which was just 1 strikeout shy of tying a single-game school record for the Northstars. While he wouldn’t break the record for most strikeouts in a game, he would break two others – he became the winningest pitcher in Nottingham history and broke the record for most strikes outs by a Northstar with 180 in his career.
“It’s good playing against rivals like West and Steinert, it’s always a good atmosphere. You just have to throw strikes and stay calm” explained Houghton
Nick Houghton would do exactly that, in fact, he threw 22 strikes on the first pitch keeping himself constantly ahead of West batters and putting them at a disadvantage.
But Houghton was the only hurler that was impressing the massive crowd that bounced between checking out the softball game behind them and keeping tabs on the track team that made for a full house on Klockner Road.
“It was a good ball game, Hamilton is well coached with “Little Mo” and his kids played good, there pitching was good. We’re an experienced team and we took advantage of some opportunities early and Nick was really good, he made some big pitches in some big spots, he broke some records today! Im proud my guys,” explained Nottingham head coach Jim Maher
Hamilton West southpaw Dazani DeLeon kept the Hornets in the game with an impressive outing going five inning and allowing only six hits while striking out five. Equally impressive for West was freshman David Zamora who came in and struck out the side in the sixth.
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Nottingham’s Phil Rojek hat two hits and a run, Tommy McParland finished with two hits, a run and an RBI and Christian Fuentes chipped in a hit, a run and an RBI for Nottingham providing the offense that was just enough to squeak by a young Hamilton team that never gave up fighting against a dominate Houghton.
“They got on base but I wasn’t worried I know what my team could do and that is the time you have to stay calm and composed” added Houghton
Hamilton would threaten in the sixth on couple throwing errors putting runners in scoring position on to see Houghton battle out of the jam.
“Houghton was good, you have to tip your cap to him, he pitched a great game. I would have like to have seen my guys fight a little more with two strikes because you are not going to get a lot of hits against a guy like that, you have to find ways to make runs. But I’m proud of my guys. I’m happy with the way they battled, and Dazani pitcher really well” first-year Hornets head coach Mike Moceri Jr. said.
The Northstars moved to 5-0 on the season and will face off again against Hamilton West at Demao Field in a night game that will help raise funds for the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee on May 1st at 7 pm.
While there is no guarantee that the mercury will be any higher and the temps any warmer the way Mother Nature has been treating our area, you can bet on great baseball!