Panthers advance to semifinalsPublished 10:15pm Saturday, March 30, 2013
PINETOWN — It’s been an up and down season for Northside so far but on Saturday the Panthers closed out the first day of the Northside Easter baseball tournament feeling sky-high as they advanced to the semifinal round on the strength of a high-powered offense and a Colby Freeman no-hitter.
Offense has been a bit of an issue for Northside this year but on Saturday its 14-0 victory over Columbia allowed coach Keith Boyd to smile as bright as the sun as the Panthers racked up eight hits in five innings.
The Panthers took advantage of some Wildcat miscues as they rallied for seven runs in the first despite only having one hit. After a scoreless second, they struck for seven again to seal the deal and move on to the semifinal round of the tourney where they will face Mattamuskeet on Monday at South Creek, where the remaining games of the tourney will be played.
“Toward the fourth and fifth inning we really started hitting the ball hard,” Boyd said. “We even had some kids that hit it hard but it was just right at somebody. But, we’re leaving this game with some good impressions on our mind and we hope that we can get back in the box on Monday and have some success.”
The seven-run first gave Freeman all the cushion he would need as he went on to fan seven in five innings to record the no-hitter.
“He kept it in the zone and when you have a pitcher that does that you’re going to be successful,” Boyd said. “He just pounded the zone and kept the ball down and our defense had no errors today.”
In the second game of the day, Southside battled with Mattamuskeet but could not hold on to a 5-3 lead as the Lakers rallied for five in the fifth to take an 8-5 victory.
Drew Berry pitched a complete game and struck out six in the win, while going 2-3 at the plate.
“It’s always good to win and we just want to play good in this tournament,” Mattamuskeet coach Jay Etheridge said. “We’re just happy to get a win.”
The Seahawks were powered by Hayden Bogart and Eric Vick, who each had two hits. Vick also pitched five innings and allowed four runs in the loss.
“We’re a young team and we’re just taking some lumps right now,” Southside coach Jeff Carrow said. “We just have to get more consistency with our pitching and more consistency hitting the ball with runners on base.”