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Panthers win epic showdown between Beirne and Cilluffo

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
CHOCOWINITY — It took nearly 25 hours and two bus trips to Chocowinity, but the Northside Panthers are headed to the quarterfinals of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Group 1-A State Softball Championships.
After heavy rain and severe lightning forced officials to suspend the third round contest between Northside and Southside in the fifth inning Tuesday, the Panthers hopped off the bus Wednesday afternoon and stole the contest right from underneath their arch-rivals nose.
Northside and Southside left the field Tuesday evening in a scoreless tie, but just before the torrential down pours began, Panthers’ first baseman Cameron Waters drew a walk from Southside starter Gabby Cilluffo. Twenty-four hours later, she scored the game-winning run on a two-out double by Amanda Daw that gave Northside a thrilling 1-0 victory over the Seahawks.
The Panthers have played small ball all season long, and they did it again against Southside. With Waters on first base with no-outs, Beirne decided to have Tiffany Jackson lay down a sacrifice bunt to get Waters into scoring position. Waters advanced to third one batter later on a single by Casey Alligood before scoring on Daw’s double.
It was a game that could have gone either way as Panthers’ junior Amanda Beirne and Seahawks’ senior Gabby Cilluffo put on a pitching clinic. Beirne allowed just three hits and struck out six in seven innings of work, while Cilluffo gave up four hits and struck out 12.
Northside got revenge for two earlier losses to Southside this season.
The loss ends the best season in the history of Southside softball. The Seahawks won their first Atlantic Conference Championship this season, set a school record for wins (19), and advanced to the third round of the state playoffs for the first time ever.
Northside (14-9) will travel to Manteo to play the Redskins Friday evening. Manteo (18-6), the Albemarle Conference Champion, advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Princeton 5-4. A start time for Friday’s game has yet to be announced.
Northside 000 010 0 — 1 4 0
Southside 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
WP: Amanda Beirne; LP: Gabby Cilluffo
Hitters: N — Amanda Daw 1-3 (2B, RBI), Casey Alligood 1-3, Lauren Rodriguez 1-3, Amanda Beirne 1-3. S — Mandi Harding 1-3, Kristen Ayers 1-3, Shakeira Lomax 1-3.