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Panthers squeeze by Vikings

Staff Correspondent
YEATESVILLE — After an outburst that saw the Plymouth Vikings and the Northside Panthers score a combined 11 runs in the first two innings, the pitching for Northside settled down and allowed only one more run to Plymouth in the last five innings.
Pitcher Tyler Woolard held the Vikings scoreless the last three innings for the Panthers (2-3, 1-0), allowing only three hits over that span. He also went 2-4 at the plate with two RBI.
The ballgame started off with Northside’s William Rushton hitting the Vikings’ Josh West with the very first pitch. West stole second and scored when Plymouth’s starting pitcher, Cameron Peed, laced a double to center field.
After moving to third on a passed ball, Peed scored on Doug Chesson’s sac fly to left to put the Vikings up 2-0.
The Panthers came roaring back in their half of the first to take the lead back, 3-2.
Two throwing errors to first from Peed helped the Panthers get back into the game. Holden Cox was caught trying to steal third to end the inning.
Undaunted, the Vikings continued the frenzied scoring pace in the top half of the second, scoring four runs against the Panthers, primarily due to Rushton’s being unable to consistently find the plate.
After Jamaal Butler grounded out to start the second, five straight batters reached base for Plymouth, two on walks and another one who was hit by a pitch. Peed singled in a run before Eli Spruill laid down a successful suicide squeeze to score Donique Butler. A sac fly by Chesson and a single by catcher Cody Smith closed out the scoring for the Vikings to give them a 6-3 lead in the second.
The Panthers scored two more runs in the bottom half of the second to close the Plymouth lead to one.
Zach Boyd got two RBI on an infield hit with two outs, scoring both Grant Fath and Dee Martin.
The scoring and the pitching for both squads settled down after the second inning, with the Vikings scoring only a run in the fourth as Chesson flew home on a wild pitch by Rushton.
It was in the bottom of the fifth that the Panthers decided to follow the comeback trail.
Eli Spruill came on in relief of Peed and promptly saw the first batter for Northside, Rushton, reach on a throwing error from third. Woolard was hit by the very next pitch. Both runners advanced on a double steal, and Rushton scored on a sac fly by Holden Cox. Woolard scored on a throwing error two batters later to tie the score at seven apiece.
Smith reached on an error for Plymouth in the top of the sixth, but Woolard was too much for the Vikings and needed only 10 pitches to retire three batters in the frame.
In the latter half of the inning, Martin was hit by the first pitch before being moved over to second on catcher Sonny Robbins’ sacrifice bunt. Boyd moved Martin to third on a sharply hit single and Spruill balked Martin in for the score to give the Panthers their first lead since the first inning. Another passed ball allowed Boyd to score to put Northside up by two.
The game was still in doubt, however, and when pinch-hitter David Cook reached base on an infield single, Northside fans looked a little nervous. Two quick outs on four pitches relieved the anxiety in the stands before Peed got his third hit of the evening. Woolard was able to close out the game by getting his counterpart on the mound, Spruill, to ground out up the middle.
This was the first conference game for both ball clubs, and their both looking forward to the rest of the season.
Plymouth 240 100 0 – 7
Northside 320 022 X – 9
WP: Tyler Woolard; LP: Eli Spruill
Leading hitters: P – Cameron Peed 4-5 (2 RBI, 2 R), Josh West 1-3 (2R), Eli Spruill 1-4 (RBI), Cody Smith 2-3 (RBI), Donique Butler 1-2 (R); N – Zach Boyd 2-4 (2 RBI, 2R), Tyler Woolard 1-2 (RBI, 2R), Colby Mason 2-3