Through five full innings, the North Pole Patriots looked like they may just be heading to the state championship game for the first time in school history.
Instead, they’ll be heading to the DII third place game.
North Pole gave up four runs in the sixth inning Friday, losing their two run lead and eventually losing the game 4-3 to Kodiak in the DII semifinals. The Patriots quest for their first ever state title in baseball and just their second state title overall in 17 years ended as a result.
Things were scoreless until the bottom of the third inning when North Pole struck. After originally getting on base with a single, Noah Perkins managed to score on an error with two outs in the inning before Alex Garcia’s RBI single scored Logan Fischer to give the Pats a 2-0 lead.
North Pole maintained the lead until the sixth inning. After getting a quick out, the Patriots pitching and defense, which had been stellar all day to that point, faltered. North Pole surrendered back-to-back runs to tie the game before a two-run single by Kodiak put the Bears up 4-2.
The Patriots had one last chance to tie or win in the bottom of the seventh. Noah Perkins went up to bat first and led things off with a single before Conner Lanser brought in the RBI single. Perkins had already stolen second, so he ran home to bring North Pole within one run. Jake Dawley came in as a pinch runner for Lanser and Nic Jones stepped in to hit for Collin Drumhiller. Jones grounded out but he was able to advance Dawley to second before Fischer went up to bat.
The Patriots were down to one out left before Fischer even took a swing as Dawley was picked off at second. Fischer was the last hope North Pole had, and that hope ended with another ground out, sending the Patriots to the third place game.
Garcia (2-for-3, one RBI) and Perkins (2-for-2, two runs) led the offense for North Pole. Fischer pitched a complete game, giving up five hits, four earned runs, two walks, and five K’s.
North Pole played the third place game at 12:30 p.m.. The result of that game can be found in today’s paper.
Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.