For 5 1/2 innings on Saturday morning, Northern York's Scott Leitholf and Northeastern's Kody Reeser were locked in a pitching duel.
The Bobcats then erupted for three runs in the bottom of the sixth and survived a shaky seventh to emerge with a 3-0 season-opening win at home.
"We'll take it," Northeastern coach Andy Srebroski said. "You had two quality pitchers out there. Pitchers are normally ahead of hitters early in the season and Northern, they are a heck of a program (winning the District 3 Class AAA title in 2014 and qualifying for the tourney last spring). They execute well, run the bases well and put the ball in play."
Northeastern loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth as Jonah Latchaw reached on an infield error, No. 3 hitter Alex Raymond singled with one out and Reeser walked. Lefty Adam Kipp then drilled a full-count pitch off Leitholf into the right-center field gap that Northern center fielder Curtis Robison snagged with a spectacular diving catch.
Robison managed to get up and make a throw back into the infield, but by then, Latchaw tagged up and scored and Raymond advanced to third.
"I was on first, I saw Kipp hit it and thought it was in the gap," Reeser said. "Nobody was there. I was yelling at Alex Raymond ahead of me to go, go, go and he was like, 'He caught it!' I had already rounded second, so I had to go back, touch second and race all the way back to first. That might have been the worst base running of my career."
Right fielder Brady Dolan and No. 7 hitter Devon Ream followed with back-to-back RBI base hits to extend the Northeastern lead heading into the seventh.
Reeser induced two ground outs to open the top of the seventh before walking the bases loaded. Northern leadoff hitter Nick Sacoman then popped out to second to end the game.
"I think it was just a case of being a little tired towards the end of the first game of the year," said Reeser, a four-year varsity player who has committed to play baseball at NCAA Division I Towson next year. "I'll shake that off and come back."
Reeser struck out three and walked six. The right-hander allowed only a second-inning opposite-field single to Leitholf and an infield hit into the hole at shortstop by No. 7 hitter Trent Culver in the fifth.
"I think my fastball location was really key," Reeser said. "I was able to get on top of the hitters and put some pressure on them. It's not that I usually don't have that, but (Saturday) it was better than normal."
Leitholf surrendered just a second-inning single to Kipp and a hit batter combined with a bunt single to Latchaw in the third over the first five innings.
"(Leitholf) was at 70-some pitches there in the sixth inning," said Northern coach Brian Robison. "That wasn't a problem. We booted a couple balls behind him and that opened the door. We made a couple of nice plays out there, but we need to make the routine plays too."