Panthers’ have unforgettable senior moment

Published 11:42 pm Friday, May 4, 2007

Sports Writer
YEATESVILLE — On Northside’s Senior Night the Panthers’ seniors had a moment they will never forget as they rallied back from 3-1, 7-3 and 8-7 deficits to top Roanoke in the bottom of the seventh, 9-8 on Thursday.
Down 8-7, Northside senior Will Allen refused to lose his final home game as he led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple.
Tyler Woolard tied the game for the third time when he knocked an RBI single to score Allen assuring the Panthers of extra innings.
After a Holden Cox sac bunt pushed Woolard to second base, Aarron McKinney made sure the Northside seniors would go out as winners when he knocked a questionably fair ball to shallow right field off of Redskins’ reliever Greg Hardison, allowing Woolard to cross the plate for the game-winning run.
Hardison, the third pitcher used by Roanoke earned the loss, while Northside’s William Rushton earned the win coming out of the bullpen.
For the Redskins, being in tight games is nothing new, unfortunately so was the outcome.
While the little things brought in the ninth run, it was the big swing that accounted for 10 of the games’ 17 runs as a steady breeze helped the two teams tally five home runs.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the second, Roanoke’s Dontrel Spruill smashed a Woolard pitch over the left field fence for the first of his two, two-run home runs to put the Redskins up 3-1.
Northside answered back with a two-run shot of its own the next inning as Allen turned on a Warren Forbes’ pitch and knocked it over the fence to knot the score at three a piece.
In the fourth the Panthers pulled Woolard in favor of McKinney, who entered the game with the score tied at 3-3, but left the contest trailing 7-3 fifth.
The Redskins smashed two round-trippers in the fifth as Spruill sent his second of the day over the right field fence to give his team a 5-3 lead.
Spruill finished the game going 3-4 with four RBIs to lead Roanoke.
After McKinney walked Justin Jenkins, John Dail extended Roanoke’s lead to 7-3 with a two-run homer that just made it over the corner of the left field fence.
Panthers’ reliever William Rushton came on to close out the fifth and eventually picked up the win. Rushton did a solid job in relief and worked is way out of some tight spots.
Northside slowly chipped away at the Skins’ lead, picking up its fourth run in the bottom of the fifth behind some heady play.
Austin Swain, who reached base on an error, alertly stole third base when he noticed that nobody was noticing him on second. The swipe of third would set up Swain to steal home on a delayed steal.
The Panthers roared back in the fifth, tallying three runs to tie the game at seven. With Cox on board, Colby Mason stepped up to the plate and crushed a Tyreek Cooper pitch over the center field fence to make it a one run ball game.
Cooper came on in relief of Forbes in the fifth and struggled in relief for the Redskins letting up three runs in three-plus innings.
Northside would tie the game again on some aggressive base running by Bradley Slade. After reaching base on a walk, Slade stole second and later scored from third on a Swain grounder to the left side of the infield.
Roanoke answered in the seventh when Anthony Staton, who was pinch running for Jenkins, scored from third on a Dail grounder to the right side of the infield.
After the game the Panthers’ coach praised seniors Allen, Daniels and Swain.
Roanoke 003 040 1 — 8 6 4
Northside 012 013 2 — 9 9 2
WP: William Rushton; LP: Greg Hardison
Hitters: R — Tyreek Cooper 1-3 (2B, R), Dontrel Spruill 3-4 (2 HR, 4 RBI), John Dail 2-4 (HR, 3 RBI); N — Austin Swain 2-4 (RBI), Will Allen 1-3 (HR, 2 RBI), Eric Daniels 2-4 (3B, R), Tyler Woolard 2-4 (RBI), Aarron McKinney 1-4 (RBI), Colby Mason 1-3 (HR, 2 RBI).