TOWNSEND -- The North Middlesex baseball team came into Monday afternoon's game with Midland B front-runner Hudson riding a five-game winning streak, but the Hawks exploded for five runs on five hits in the first inning to top the Patriots, 9-5, at Ralph Schoppe Memorial Field.
"I probably left our starting pitcher in too long," North Middlesex head coach Tom Bartleson said. "We dug ourselves a bit of a hole in the first inning, but I am proud of them for not giving it up. They fought to the last out, but you can't spot a good team like that too many runs and be successful."
The Patriots (5-2, 1-1 Midland B) were able to secure the first out of the inning on a fly out to right field by Evan Cain, but the wheels soon came off for North Middlesex starting pitcher David Neuhaus. Hudson batted through the order in the opening frame with RBI hits from Steve Rivela, Connor Baron and Kyle Sullivan.
Neuhaus showed some resiliency by fanning Kyle Manero and Cain to end the inning, but the damage was already done, as the Hawks led 5-0.
Manero, the Hudson starter, retired the top third of the Patriots order in succession. The Hawks (5-3,3-0 Midland B) added an insurance run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Rivela which brought in Domenic Fontes from third.
North Middlesex put two runners on base in the second inning due to back-to-back hit batters by Manero., butwere unable to capitalize as shortstop Logan Kuzmitch dribbled out to the pitcher to end the inning.
Bartleson pulled the plug on Neuhaus after 2.1 innings and brought in junior lefty Jimmy Ciampa. An earned run was charged to Neuhaus on a wild pitch, which allowed Jesse Nemerowicz to come across and score. Ciampa located his pitches well and picked up a pair of quick outs with runners at the corners to get the Patriots out of the of jam trailing 7-0.
North Middlesex nearly scored its first run of the game on a cue shot in front of the plate by senior Shawn Pinney. Senior Tyler MacDonald scampered across home, but the run was waived off, as Pinney was struck in the back of the leg on a bizarre play in fair territory by the throw to first resulting in the final out of the inning.
Ciampa surrendered one hit in the fourth and picked up a strikeout on a curve ball out of the zone that caught Sullivan off balance. North Middlesex senior catcher Ben Wright (3 for 4) slammed the door on Manero's no-hit bid with a single that skipped into right field.
North Middlesex scored in the fifth on a line drive to left field by Pinney that brought across sophomore Richie Sharp from third.
Wright would later come across to score on a two-run double that also plated third baseman John Boutwell, who reached on an infield single to cut the deficit to 7-3. The Patriots left Kuzmitch stranded at third as Tony Sylvester hacked at a pitch out of the zone for the final out.
Sharp (2 for 4, 2 RBI) stroked his first career home run over the left center field fence in the seventh inning.
Hudson tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the sixth on RBI singles by Rivela and Sullivan.
Follow Ed Niser on Twitter @EdNiser