Panthers come up short against Pirates

Published 10:01 pm Friday, March 18, 2011

Northside ace Lilyann Arnold prepares to throw a pitch during the Panthers' 3-2 loss to Perquimans on Friday at Northside High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

YEATESVILLE — Northside ace Lilyann Arnold and Perquimans’ hurler Katie Copeland were both outstanding on the mount Friday, but it was what Copeland did with her bat that gave the Pirates the edge in their 3-2 victory over the Panthers.

Trailing 2-1 in the top of the sixth, Copeland stepped to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded and knocked a double over the out-stretched glove of shortstop Jordan Woolard that would score the game-tying and game-winning runs for the Pirates (6-2, 1-1).

Northside got out of the inning when catcher Jena Payne alertly caught Perquimans Cassie White in a run down in between second and third base on Copeland’s double, but the damage was already done. Northside failed to get on base in the bottom of the sixth and seventh as the loss dropped its record to 1-4 (1-1).

“We have some fundamentals that we have to work on,” Northside head coach Jack Beirne said. “I thought the pitcher from Perquimans did a nice job and kept us a little off balance. She worked the outside corner pretty good and our girls could not make adjustments to put it in play when we needed to. There were a couple of situations where we had runners on base and could not get a run.”

Overall, the Panthers tallied seven hits as Caroline Slade and Payne accounted for two each to lead the team.

Slade had a fantastic overall game as she went 2-for-4 from the plate for a double and a triple and scored a run while making a few big plays at third base. Payne went 2-for-3, with her second hit scoring Slade in the fifth inning.

Payne contributed to the Panthers first run as well, as she singled with one out in the bottom of the second and was removed for pinch runner Cheyenne Franks. Franks would score on a Sarah Credle (1-for-2) RBI single to give the team a 1-0 lead.

With her team up 1-0, Arnold looked sharp as she held the Pirates scoreless for the first three innings thanks to the use of her devastating changeup.

“She has been a great asset for us,” Beirne said. “She has six different pitches and she likes to move the ball around. She really did a good job for us.”

Arnold would finish the game throwing all seven innings as she scattered eight hits, struck out five and walked two.

The Pirates got on the board in the fourth when Shelby Spruill (2-for-3 2 RBIs) blasted an inside-the-park home run to left field.

The score stayed that way until Payne’s RBI single in the fifth gave Northside a 2-1 lead.

Perquimans delivered the big blow in the sixth when it led off the inning with three straight singles. Northside recorded the first out of the inning when Slade fielded a grounder and riffled the ball home for a force out. After that, Arnold picked up the second out by striking out Kylli Copeland. With two outs and Copeland, the No. 9 hitter, up at bat, it looked the Panthers might escape the inning with no damage done. However, Copeland would not allow it as she delivered the game-winning hit.

Of Arnold’s eight hits allowed, four came during that inning.

Arnold’s pitching counterpart Copeland allowed only seven hits, while striking out seven and walked three.

Perquimans 000 102 0 č 3 8 1

Northside 010 010 0 č 2 7 0

WP: Katie Copeland; LP: Lilyann Arnold

Hitting: P č Brean Fields 1-4, Shelby Spruill 2-4 (HR 2 RBIs), Jamie Denson 1-3, Danielle Baccus 1-1 (R), Casey Cartwright 2-3 (R), Katie Copeland 1-1 (2 RBI)