In Hagerstown’s path to all three baseball championships won in 2013, Northeastern put a scare in the Tigers.
The Knights led in the Tri-Eastern Conference meeting, Wayne County tournament game and sectional semifinal.
Ultimately, however, the Tigers prevailed to win a third straight county championship, second straight TEC title and first sectional in six years.
The Knights come to town Tuesday for this year’s TEC meeting.
“That’s another great ballclub,” Hagerstown coach Brad Catey said following last Thursday’s 8-2 victory over Union County. “They’re going to try to take it. We just got to fight back. We knew coming down here (to Union County) it was going to be a rough game. There’s going to be some adversity and we handled it well. I’m very proud of the way they handled it.”
The Knights gave the Tigers more than their share of adversity last spring.
Northeastern had a four-run lead in the TEC meeting, a three-run lead in the Wayne County title game and 8-0 in the sectional semifinal.
Hagerstown won 9-5, 9-3 and 10-8, respectively.
“Our kids remember last year,” Northeastern coach Steve Bray said. “Hagerstown’s a good ballclub. They’re having a good year, and we don’t expect anything less than a tough game.”
At 4-0, Hagerstown is the only remaining team undefeated in conference play this year.
The Tigers are 11-0 during the past two seasons and 17-1 during the past three, earning the outright title in 2012 and 2013.
Union County and Northeastern are both 3-1, with Centerville 1-1. Union County and Hagerstown still haven’t played Centerville.
Bray replaced longtime leader Mike Roeder and the Knights have had a successful boys athletic year, winning TEC titles in football, tennis and boys basketball; claiming sectional crowns in tennis and basketball; and reaching the State Finals in tennis.
“Northeastern, with coach Bray in there, they’re going to come out ready to fight,” Catey said. “They’ve got a lot of great athletes, got a lot of guys that have had success in tennis, football, basketball and they’re going to want it. They’re going to want to come over and want to beat us. They had us down three times last year. We had to come from behind three times; we may be in that situation again. We’ve got to handle it again, just like we did (against Union County).”