Southside’s Cilluffo wins duel with Beirne, Panthers’ baseball holds off Seahawks

Published 5:18 pm Saturday, April 12, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
CHOCOWINITY — With Southside ace Gabby Cilluffo facing off against Northside star pitcher Amanda Beirne on Thursday, both teams knew the first run of the game would be critical. The first run would also be the only run, as Southside edged out its Atlantic Conference rival 1-0 in a classic pitchers’ duel.
Both Cilluffo and Beirne were on fire Thursday night as they combined to let up only seven hits in seven innings. However, Southside made the most of its opportunities.
Cilluffo finished the game throwing seven scoreless innings, striking out eight while letting up only three hits and walking none.
Seahawks’ coach John Lohman said Cilluffo’s performance was one of the best this season.
Beirne struck out six in seven innings, while letting up four hits and issuing two base on balls. Though Beirne only walked two batters, they would prove costly.
The Northside hurler looked un-hittable at the onset of the game as she struck out the first two batters she faced with wicked fastballs.
With two outs, Resla Penn stepped into the batter’s box, and when she saw a changeup, seized the opportunity and drove it to left field.
Beirne battled the next two Southside batters to full counts, before walking both of them to load the bases.
With the sacks packed, the Seahawks’ Kellie Hardison blooped the ball toward Panthers’ second baseman Kassie Sasnett, who could not get under it in time. With the ball falling in for a hit, Penn was able to score from third for the game’s lone run.
Sasnett was playing only her third game since rehabing what Panthers’ coach Louise Beirne said was a severe injury to her right knee. Beirne said under normal conditions she felt her second baseman would have been able make the play, but the real difference in the game was the Panthers’ inability to hit Cilluffo.
Beirne said that while Cilluffo threw a great game, her hitters needed to show better plate discipline.
Lohman said that with two star pitchers going head-to-head, getting on the board first was crucial.
The win gives the Atlantic Conference leading Seahawks a perfect Conference record at 6-0, while the Panthers (third place behind Williamston) slip to 3-3 in the conference.
Northside will be back on the diamond Tuesday when it plays at Plymouth, while the Seahawks will host Camden.
Northside 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
Southside 100 000 X — 1 4 1
WP: Gabby Cilluffo; LP: Amanda Beirne
Hitters: N — Amanda Daw 1-3, Whitney Lewis 1-3, Lauren Rodriguez 1-2; Resla Penn 1-3 (R), D.D. Stanley 1-2, Kellie Hardison 1-2 (RBI), Shakiera Lomax 1-2.
Southside’s rally in seventh falls short
Staff Correspondent
CHOCOWINITY — For every punch the Northside Panthers threw, Southside had an answer Friday night. That is, until the seventh inning when Southside couldn’t quite overcome a four run deficit to eventually lose 7-5.
Northside’s Dee Martin led off the game with a double and came around to score on Tyler Woolard’s single. That gave the Panthers (10-5, 5-2) the early 1-0 lead.
Southside (2-8, 1-6) didn’t even blink. After two flyouts in their half of the inning, the Seahawks put two of their own on the board to lead 2-1.
A pitcher’s duel then ensued. Over the next three innings, although a batter reached base here and there, William Rushton of Northside and Eric Boyd of Southside were locked in.
The scoring picked up again in the top of the fifth when Holden Cox led off with a double that went all the way to the wall. A base on balls and two sacrifices later, Cox came around to tie the game at 2.
However, the Seahawks again had an answer for Northside.
Josh Sheppard led off the Southside half of the inning with a double of his own, made it to third on a wild pitch, and was driven in by Jamie Blackard’s single to center.
That gave the advantage back to the Seahawks, 3-2.
The scoring continued in the top of the sixth as Rushton singled to center and made it all the way to third when the ball went through Jules Moore’s legs. A sacrifice by Woolard brought Rushton in safely to tie the game back up, this time at 3.
It was in the top of the seventh that Northside was able to break through with more than just a run at a time. And all four runs came with two outs.
Sonny Robbins singled in the lead-off spot, followed by another single from Ethan Coltrane. Robbins was tagged out on that play when he rounded second a little too heartily.
After Thack Cutler flew out, Martin singled to left. Rushton helped his own cause with a triple to right-center that drove in two. Rushton came home when Woolard reached on an error to stretch the lead to 6-3. A ground-rule double by Colby Mason, which gave every player in the batting order for Northside a hit, brought Rushton around to score before Boyd was finally able to close out the inning.
But Southside just wouldn’t quit. A lead-off walk for Moore, followed by a single to left from Sheppard, brought coach Boyd to the mound. He brought in Woolard to relieve Rushton.
Woolard promptly gave up a single to the first batter he faced to load the bases.
Blackard hit a ground ball to second baseman Martin, who calmly flipped for one out to shortstop Rushton, who, in keeping with his name, rushed the throw to first. Holden Cox went high in the air to try and come up with the ball and landed hard on his back, a scary moment for everyone in the stands. Cox would be okay and remain in the game, but two runs came around to score.
The next batter for Southside, Brad Boyd, reached on a fielder’s choice before Woolard was able to strike out catcher Kevin Sparks to seal the victory for the Panthers.
Northside travels to Plymouth Tuesday and Southside welcomes Camden, also on Tuesday, at 6 p.m.
NORTHSIDE — 100 011 4 — 7
SOUTHSIDE — 200 010 2 — 5
WP: William Rushton; LP: Eric Boyd
Leading hitters: NS — William Rushton 2-4 (2 RBI, 2 R), Dee Martin 2-3 (2 R), Colby Mason 1-4 (2 RBI), Aaron McKinney 1-4, Tyler Woolard 1-3 (2 RBI, R), Thack Cutler 1-2 (RBI), Ethan Coltrane 1-2 (R), Sonny Robbins 1-2, Holden Cox 1-3 (R); SS — Josh Sheppard 3-3 (2 R), Eric Boyd 1-4, Jamie Blackard 1-4 (3 RBI), Kevin Sparks 2-4 (RBI, R), Daniel Jennings 1-3, Sam Jarman 1-3 (RB)