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Baseball: North pitchers twirl shutout against Denmark, win fifth straight
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Jess Ackerman throws off the mound during the 3-0 shutout victory for North on Wednesday, March 24. - photo by Jacob Smith

North Forsyth stayed hot Wednesday with a 3-0 shutout victory against Denmark, winning its fifth game in a row. 

Jess Ackerman led the way on the mound, throwing 6 ⅓ innings and allowing no runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out 11 Danes on the way. 

After walking Nic Ferrer and a Brody Wheeler single to start the seventh inning, Michael Sills came in and struck out two batters to record the save and keep the shutout. 

“I thought that [Ackerman] did an incredible job of buckling down in big situations,” said Jamie Corr, who coached the Danes Wednesday. “Really going to his offspeed with command. In the last inning, Sills did the same thing.” 

Denmark moved runners to scoring positions in more innings than not but could never cross the plate. 

However, North’s pitching staff buried their cleats in and were dominant, collecting six of their 13 strikeouts with a Denmark base runner on third. 

“I told these guys any night we have a chance to win because of our pitching staff,” North head coach Jim Cahill. “In region play so far, they’ve been outstanding.”

Francesco Capocci started for the Danes and threw 5 ⅔ innings, striking out five Raiders and allowing three earned runs. He also executed a pickoff move against Tyler Triche in the first inning. 

“[Capocci] has been there for us all year,” Corr said. “He’s stepped up to become our legitimate number one guy that we can rely on every week and he did that tonight.”

Smaran Ramanathan came in with a baserunner on and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, and after allowing a walk, struck out the next batter he faced. 

Along with throwing the majority of the game for North, Ackerman drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the first inning. 

After Casen Blackburn hit a triple to right field, Ackerman’s hard single through the infield drove in the game-winning run. 

Sills collected the only other RBI in the game in the bottom of the sixth. 

North’s other run came after Andrew Elkhill advanced to third base on an overthrown pickoff attempt by Cappoci and then scored on a balk call. North had seven hits in the game, all by seven different batters.

“I thought we did a good job moving runners and executing with situational hitting,” Cahill said. “It’s been different guys in the clutch and getting those solid RBIs to win the game.” 

University of Alabama commit Sammy Leis and UAB football commit Teddy Davenport both had two hits for Denmark, which were game-highs. 

Denmark (5-12, 2-4 Region 6-7A) will start a two-game series against Gainesville on Friday. 

The Danes collected their second region win on Tuesday against Lambert, but Smart said his team still has plenty of growth to go through. 

“Right now, we don’t really need to worry too much about our opponent,” Corr said. “We need to focus on playing solid baseball.” 

North (12-7, 5-3 Region 6-7A) sits just one game behind Lambert in the region standings. The Raiders have a chance to take the top spot in the region with their next series against Lambert, starting on Friday. 

“If we go out there and pitch like we have been, we’re gonna be in a good spot,” Cahill said.