Panthers get a pleasant surprise|Earn the lone wild-card bid in East for playoffs

Published 4:20 pm Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sports Editor

Earn the lone wild-card bid in East for playoffs
Sports Editor
YEATESVILLE — Northside coach Keith Boyd was still in a bit of shock Wednesday morning, but he was just fine with that. The baseball coach thought his season had come to an end after an extra-inning win over Southside in the regular-season finale. However, his Panthers got a second life as a wild-card entry for the 2010 N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A state playoffs.
“Considering that we thought we weren’t in, it’s a shock but it’s a good thing,” Boyd said. “We are the only wild-card in the east. We have nothing to lose.”
The Panthers (8-14) travel to Rosewood (14-6) for Friday’s first-round game. The Eagles are the Carolina Conference champions.
The Panther coach said he isn’t familiar with his first-round opponent.
“I don’t know a thing (about Rosewood),” Boyd said. “All I know is their record and how to get there. I haven’t had a chance to find out anything yet. I’ll look up some stuff on them, and we’ll have a good practice today and (Thursday).”
The winner takes on the survivor between Midway (16-5) and Red Springs (6-16) in second-round action on Tuesday.
Brandon Marsh will get the start for Northside in Friday’s playoff opener, the team’s first playoff game since the 2007 season.
Boyd believes his team is ready to go.
“We came off the 11-inning win over Southside (in the regular-season finale),” Boyd said. “With a group that I have, we won two in a row at the end of the year, I think we’re ready.
“We are young and they are all excited. They are ready to go. We’ll go there and do the best we can.”
Boyd said the playoff experience will benefit his young squad next year.
“This crowd has never experienced a playoff game before,” Boyd said. “I will get most of these guys back. I hope we can learn from it and build off it for next year.”
The third round, called the district round, will be played Friday, May 21. Sectional action begins on Tuesday, May 25.
The Eastern finals will be played May 27-29. The state championships will be held June 4-5.