Rushton’s pitching performance key to Panthers’ victory

Published 3:00 pm Sunday, March 30, 2008

By By AARON CARPENTER, Staff Correspondent
YEATESVILLE — The Northside Panthers won the inaugural WDN/Northside Easter Invitational baseball tournament Saturday night against the Southside Seahawks (1-5, 0-3) 7-3.
On a bitterly cold night, pitching was the key for the Panthers (6-4. 2-1), and William Rushton, who had nine strikeouts and allowed only three hits, was excellent on the mound for the first six innings.
The starting pitcher for Southside, Eric Boyd, also had a good game on the mound, only allowing two earned runs and six hits. However, Boyd was the victim of some defensive errors that eventually lost the game for the Seahawks.
The bottom of the first saw Northside score the first of its two earned runs after a lead-off single from Zach Boyd. Rushton laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Boyd to second. Woolard grounded to second and Boyd used his speed to reach home from second base after Woolard was thrown out at first.
Southside was able to get on the board in the top of the third after Rushton had some control issues and walked two straight. Jamie Blackard singled to right to score Alan Hobbs and move Eric Boyd to third. Jarman sacrificed to the right side of the infield to score Boyd and Southside led 2-1.
Speed was the factor in Northside scoring two more runs in their half of the third to retake the lead. Dee Martin raced to first after Boyd’s wild pitch on the third strike, just beating catcher Kevin Sparks’ throw. Martin then got caught in a run-down, but was able to keep it going long enough for Southside to make a mistake and advanced to second. He moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on a passed ball.
Northside tacked on to its lead in the bottom of the fourth. Mason Colby came around to score on an error from Southside second baseman Hobbs, making the score 4-2.
Southside got a run back in the top of the fifth. Daniel Jennings singled to center, stole second, made it to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.
The defense let the Seahawks down again in the bottom of the fifth. Rushton reached on an error and Woolard tripled to right-center and scored on a throwing error to put the lead at 6-3. Martin bunted another run across the plate in the sixth with two outs to finish up the scoring.
The crowd, wrapped in blankets and considerably larger than one might have expected given the temperature being below forty, cheered heartily as Rushton, switched to shortstop, stepped on second to record the final out and give Northside the championship.
Northside welcomes Manteo to Yeatesville on April 1st at 6 p.m.
The Halifax Academy Vikings beat the Northampton-East Rams in the third-place game, 19-5 in five innings.
SOUTHSIDE — 002 010 0 — 3
NORTHSIDE — 102 121 X — 7
WP: William Rushton; LP: Eric Boyd
Leading hitters: SS — Sam Jarman 1-4 (RBI), Jamie Blackard 1-2 (RBI), Daniel Jennings 1-3 (R); NS — Zach Boyd 1-3 (2 R), Dee Martin 1-3 (RBI, R), Holden Cox 1-3 (RBI), Colby Mason 1-3 (R), Tyler Woolard 1-3 (2 RBI, R), William Rushton 1-3 (RBI, R)