Panthers place secondPublished 10:18pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013
ROBERSONVILLE — Northside rocketed into the Easter tournament finale with a 3-0 victory over Mattamuskeet but fell back down to Earth in the title game as the Panthers lost 12-0 in five innings to Hertford County on Tuesday to take second place.
“First of all, I want to say hat’s off to Hertford County, they have a great team,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “They hit the ball well and did everything we didn’t do. They didn’t make any mistakes in the field and played solid and took it to us.”
The Bears played near perfect ball as pitcher Ackerman Grace allowed two hits and struck out seven in five innings to get the win. Grace also went 2-4 and drove in four runs at the plate to help clinch the tourney title.
“I’m really excited. The boys are playing well and we pitched well,” Hertford coach Chris Towell said. “Our hitting is starting to come around and we’re looking forward to the second half of our season.”
Battling against the larger 3-A Bears, the 1-A Panthers struggled at the plate and on the field as hits by Caleb Sherman and Kirby Clark where the only two they had all game, while the Northside defense committed two errors in five innings.
On the mound, Sherman got off to a hot start as he pitched two scoreless innings before the Bears attacked with a four-run third and an eight-run fifth highlighted by a 345-foot two-run home run to left-center by Tucker Warren.
Sherman finished the game allowing 11 runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, while walking five and hitting three batters.
“His pitch count was much higher than what it should have been,” Boyd said. “We didn’t make plays behind him and we’ve been doing that all year.”
The Panthers were much sharper in the first game, as Ryan Arthur surfed past the Lakers lineup in the semifinal matchup as he allowed one hit in seven innings and struck out 11 to advance.
“Ryan was solid. He’s been solid all year and I think that win put him at 4-1 on the year,” Boyd said. “He’s as steady as we have and when his pitches are on we’re tough to beat.”
Northside took a 1-0 lead in the first when Neal Gibbs singled in Sherman. The team would add two more runs in the third when Sherman scored on a past ball before a Cole Cutler RBI single.
Sherman, Clark and Gibbs both finished the game with two hits, while Brandon Barr had one.
Northside Easter tournament
Northside 000 00 — 0 3 2
Hertford 004 8X — 12 8 0
WP: Ackerman Grace: LP: Caleb Sherman
Hitting: N — Caleb Sherman 1-2, Kirby Clark 1-2; H — Ryan Weaver 1-2 (RBI), Ackerman Grace 2-4 (4 RBI), Bryan Merritt 1-2 (RBI), Tucker Warren 1-3 (HR, 2 RBI), Austin Hurdle 1-3 (RBI), Clay Barmer 2-3.