St. Francis’ Eric Zmuda finished with three hits and four RBIs to help beat Northview.
The St. Francis de Sales lineup touched up Northview’s pitching for a dozen hits Tuesday afternoon at Mercy Field.
Matt Zmuda accounted for a quarter of the hits and came up a long-ball away from recording a cycle in leading the Knights to a 6-3 win against the Wildcats in a Division I sectional final.
“They hit the baseball,” Northview coach Greg Szparka said. “They dominated at the plate. We scattered 12 hits on them. They can rope the baseball, and they’re a real nice team.”
No one swung a more lively bat than Zmuda, who registered a single, double, triple, and drove in four runs for St. Francis, which will play in a district semifinal against Whitmer on May 23 at Mercy Field.
“I just tried to do my job and drive in runs for the team,” Zmuda said. “So it was a good day.”
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Northview (7-14) trailed St. Francis the entire game after the Knights got to Northview starter Kyle Kremcheck for two runs in the first inning.
Cody Lewis and Zmuda tagged back-to-back triples off Kremchek with one out. Zmuda’s extra-base hit that drove home Lewis to make it 1-0.
Miccoy Drzewiecki made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly that allowed Zmuda to score easily from third.
The Knights (24-1) added another two runs in the second and led 4-1 before coming through with a two-run sixth inning.
Northview's Eric Walz, top, collides with St. Francis first baseman Kenzie Mayo during their game at Mercy Field.
“That’s tournament baseball,” St. Francis coach Tim Gerken said. “We were able to get some hits in the game, but give Northview some credit for playing well.”
The Wildcats (7-14) scored a run in the second, third, and sixth innings, but never found a way to put together a multirun rally against the Knights. A run-scoring base hit by Northview’s Ryan Moebius in the sixth inning pulled the Wildcats within a run of the Knights, making it a 4-3 contest.
However, St. Francis responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to build the lead back up to three runs.
“Overall, I’m happy with my team’s performance,” Szparka said. “It’s a great team in St. Francis. They hit the ball very well. We gave it everything we had and just came up short.”
Kenzie Mayo earned the decision for St. Francis after replacing starting pitcher Max Lyon who left the game after being hit in the shin with a ball hit back to the mound in the first inning.
Mayo pitched 2 1/3 innings and didn’t allow run while giving up a hit and striking out two.
Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade,com, 419-724-6302, or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.