Seahawks come up shortPublished 10:57pm Thursday, May 8, 2014
Northside locks up third-place in Coastal Plains with win
Northside held off a late-inning rally from Southside Thursday night to exit Chocowinity with a 8-7-win, secure a third-place finish in the Coastal Plains Conference and guarantee a spot in next week’s playoffs.
“At my age, those kinds of games make me older, faster,” said Northside head coach Gil Robbins. “It was a tough win, but a good one. We gave them our best and danced with them the whole way.”
Robbins sent his reliable ace Ryan Arthur to the hill to lock up a crucial win in the regular season finale. The senior has been among the conference and area’s best pitchers with an impressive 2.09 ERA and 100-plus strikeouts in nine starts.
For Kevin McRoy’s young Seahawks squad, which has won four of its last five contests, sophomore Terry Moore got the call. Moore, who struggled at times to command his fastball through the first half of season, has resurged over his last two starts, posting a sub-three ERA.
On Thursday, however, Moore was back to old habits and lasted just 1/3 of an inning, allowing five earned runs on one hit, a two-run double by Arthur, and three walks.
Senior Alex Graves came in to get the final two outs in the inning and ended up pitching the remainder of the game. Graves and Arthur went back-and-forth for the next two innings, racking up punch-outs in the process.
In the fourth, senior Curby Clark rocketed a double to left-center, which scored junior Adam Cahoon from second. Arthur followed with a single up the middle and a batter later, Chase Sauls smashed a double past the outstretched arm of Austin Nobles down the third-base line, scoring Clark. Up 7-0 heading into the fifth, the game seemed out of reach, but Southside’s body language remained assertive.
And their confidence would pay off in the next frame.
Back-to-back singles from senior Colt Dixon and sophomore Lawrence Brown started off the inning. Then, Graves stepped up and took a mid-80s fastball directly to the spine. It was the second time he had been hit in the game.
Rattled, Arthur walked in Nobles to plate the first run for Southside. With the bases still loaded, John McCormick hit a loud single up the middle to score two runs.
The Seahawks followed suit in the sixth with another three huge runs on hits by Brown, Will Mumford and a double from Graves.
Robbins looked on nervously as he saw his commanding seven-run lead slipping away. Yet, Northside managed capitalize on sloppy defense and push across an extra run of support in the seventh. In the end, it was those two errors that cost Southside the game.
Arthur, who was still pitching in the final inning despite the six runs, struck out the Seahawks’ fifth-inning hero, McCormick, to start the seventh. The next batter, Hunter Sparks, lofted a single into left and later scored on two defensive miscues. Arthur locked up the second out by striking out Dixon.
A walk to Brown in a lengthy at bat left the game-tying run on second and game-winning run on first with Mumford at the plate with two outs.
With a 1-2 count, Mumford smashed a deep ball to center that had Northside’s Corbin Minor back peddling to the fence. He squeezed it, as the Panthers walked away with a hard-earned victory.
“We’ve definitely been battling a lot better the second half of the season,” said Southside head coach Kevin McRoy. “I told them earlier how proud I was of them and we came out in the second half and won four in a row, lost to East Carteret, then came out here today, got down 7-0, and battled back. I’m proud of these guys. They’ve battled for me all year.”
Northside closes out the regular season with a 9-11 record and a third-place finish in the conference, while Southside finishes 8-9 and fourth in the Coastal Plains.
The first round of the Class 1-A playoffs is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, May 14.