"We knew coming in they were a dynamite offensive team," Knights coach Mike Warrenfeltz said. "Their kids, you have to give them credit for scrapping back after a couple of deficits. Sometimes, a team that's favored, late in a game like that, they'll fold when the pressure's on, but they didn't."
"They were a feisty team," said Murray. "I underestimated them personally. But every time we got down, we battled back."
The Hubs (16-5) found themselves trailing Middletown (8-14) out of the gate, as Main blasted a Murray fastball over the fence in left for a two-run homer.
North bounced back with two in the bottom half on Justin Weaver's single, Murray's double, a wild pitch that scored Weaver and Ridenour's groundout that scored Murray.
The Hubs added three more in the third, all on Murray's three-run blast to left that never should have happened.
After Chris Grove and Weaver each singled to bring Murray up with one out, Murray hit a sky-high ball foul on the third-base side. But Middletown third baseman Wes Bidle dropped the ball for an error, and on the next pitch, Murray golfed a low curve over the fence for a 5-2 lead.
"It was unexpected, but (Bidle) gave me another chance," Murray said. "I'm usually a pretty good curveball hitter. It was low but I got enough of it and the wind took care of the rest."
"That's probably the biggest play of the game," Reynolds said. "If he doesn't hit that homer there, that's an 8-7 game, and they might score a couple of runs and get some momentum. That was big for us."
Dustin Knox's two-run double in the fourth cut North's lead to 5-4, and Middletown loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, forcing Reynolds to pull Murray for ace Kent Worthington.
See HUBS, D4
Continued from D1
Worthington got a strikeout and a shallow flyout, but Kevin Murphy's single to left made it 5-5, and left fielder Connor's throwing error on the play made it 6-5. Worthington then induced a groundout to end the inning.
"Worthington came in and did an awesome job," Reynolds said. "He gave up two, and he probably should only have given up one."
North took care of the rest with its bats, scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it 10-6. Toms' two-run triple to the gap in left and Connor's RBI triple to the gap in right were the big blows, and Fred Kreiger beat out a bunt single to drive in another. Ridenour's solo home run in the sixth added an insurance run.
"In the playoffs, a win is a win," Reynolds said. "It's all about getting to the next step, no matter how pretty or ugly."