Panthers’ rally falls short in tourney

Published 8:30 pm Friday, April 13, 2007

By Staff
YEATESVILLE — Down 6-0 in the last inning, the Northside Panthers’ softball club showed a bit of its bite to the Edenton Aces in Friday’s Easter Tournament opener.
The two-run rally off three hits in the Panthers’ do-or-die inning is what coach Keith Boyd pointed to in describing what his team is capable of doing.
That’s what happened Friday as the Aces controlled the tempo of the game for most of the game, and won 6-2 to advance to the championship round of the two-day tournament.
Northside plays Kinston today at 5 p.m. for the consolation game. Following that game, Edenton and Currituck, a 12-0 winner over Kinston, face off in the championship.
Struggling to connect with winning pitcher Megan Bass’ off-putting throws kept the Panthers’ hit count to six. Bass had six strikeouts.
But what plagued the Panthers more than a psychological pitcher was poor defense. Northside made fielding errors that allowed the Aces to capitalize on the few hits tallied against losing pitcher, Amanda Bierne.
Bierne kept the Aces at bay for the first two innings, not allowing a single Edenton runner on base. For the night, she threw three strikeouts, which all came in the second inning. She allowed eight hits, half of which came in the final inning. The last hit by the Aces turned into a double and saw three runners make it home off a fielding error. With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning, Edenton’s Morgan Cook knocked it far enough over first base to move all runners safely to their respective bases and bring in Erin Gabel.
The Panthers’ right fielder slipped trying to scoop up the ball, leading to two more players making it home.
The play turned a 3-0 game into a 6-0 rout.
The Panthers’ slip up was nearly sidestepped by Bierne. Cook was the third Edenton batter in a row to step up to the plate with the bases loaded. After allowing the first three batters in the final inning to single, the Panthers’ defense stopped Edenton on the next two plays, catching a pop fly in center field and getting the ball to home on a fielder’s choice in the next at-bat.
Boyd said consistency has been the team’s downfall all season.
Friday’s loss sends the Panthers’ record to 6-5 overall (5-2 in the conference).
Edenton’s first score came in the third inning off an error when catcher Casey Alligood tried to get the ball to second base to stop an Ace runner from stealing. The ball bounced under the shortstop, which gave Gabel — on third after singling and getting into scoring position off a couple fielder’s choices — the right of way to steal home.
Two more runs in the fifth inning would give Edenton its 3-0 edge going into the final inning.
Boyd said the Panthers’ Friday the 13th loss boiled down to a “lack of execution.”
Northside’s two runs came off a line drive off the bat of Amanda Daw. The hit brought in Alligood and Bierne, who had both singled to get on base and then got into scoring positions off a fielder’s choice.
Edenton 001 020 3 — 6 8 1
Northside 000 000 2 — 2 5 4
WP: Megan Bass; LP: Amanda Beirne
Hitters: E — Megan Bass 0-4 (run), Leigh Vogades 1-4 (RBI, run), Morgan 2-4 (2B, 3 RBIs), Ann Hollowell 2-3 (run), Erin Gabel 2-3 (2 runs), Brittany Roundtree 1-3 (run); N — Casey Alligood 2-2 (run), Amanda Beirne 1-3 (run), Amanda Daw 1-3 (2 RBIs), Kassie Sasnett 2-2.