Senior SurplusPublished 1:10am Saturday, May 3, 2014
Following a 4-3 loss at the hands of Jones Senior in the first game of a doubleheader, Ryan Arthur, Curby Clark and Corbin Minor stepped onto the diamond at Northside High School for the last time Friday evening, the trio of seniors all contributing in a 10-0 rout of Lejeune.
But before Arthur could throw his first pitch, both the baseball and softball teams took to the field for an emotional pregame Senior Day ceremony. Arthur, Clark, Minor, Cheyenne Franks, Alexandra Cutler and Jessica Clearly were escorted by family members onto the field and honored for their contributions to Northside athletics.
As five seniors were ushered off, one remained. In what’s become a cherished and honored Northside tradition, the Woolard family presented Arthur with the 2014 Bryan Keith Woolard Memorial Scholarship.
The award honors the memory of Bryan Keith Woolard, a former Northside baseball catcher who tragically passed away in 2009 in a motor vehicle accident. Woolard was a part of the 1994 state championship team and two members of that historic lineup, David Elliot and Chad Alligood, were in attendance to present the scholarship plaque. The last two recipients of the award, Caleb Sherman and Brandon Marsh, both of whom currently play collegiate baseball, were also looking on.
Arthur’s love of the game of baseball and his performance in the classroom earned him the accolade.
Arthur was also set on earning something else in his last appearance on the Northside diamond – a win for his ball club.
It may have been luck, or just a nice piece of hitting, but the first batter of the game for Lejeune worked a full count and roped a cleanly hit single to left field. Despite the early boost of confidence for the Devil Pups, the team would go hitless for the remainder of the game.
On offense for the Panthers, Minor followed suit and started things off with a single of his own. An error and two hits would later plate Clark and Arthur, giving Northside a quick 2-0 lead.
Again, Arthur reached in the third, this time on a single, and later scored on a fielder’s choice. On the mound, the senior hurler had all four of his pitches working. His two-seam fastball jammed hitters and his slider, his strikeout pitch, buckled knees. Through the first three innings, he had already racked up six Ks.
“There’s no question on the mound he is our leader,” said head coach Gil Robbins. “If you watched both of those games, you can feel the difference in the atmosphere when Ryan is on the mound compared to when we have other pitchers on the mound. It’s because of his attitude towards the game. He’s going to do what he’s going to do, and we expect that from him. When you expect that from him, then you play the same way, and I think that’s what he brings to the team. And he brought it tonight.”
A four-run fourth inning for the Panthers would seal the game. Minor picked up an RBI and his second hit of the day in the frame.
In the fifth, boasting an 8-0 lead, Clark stepped up with bases loaded – his last at bat as a Northside Panther – and rocketed a two-run single to center, activating the 10-run mercy rule and sending the Panthers faithful home early.
With the loss in the first game and the win in the second, the Panthers head into their final regular season match up against Southside sitting fourth in the Coastal Plains Conference with a 4-6 record. The team will head to Chocowinity Thursday, May 8.