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Seniors guide Northside to opening round playoff win

PINETOWN — Senior leadership saw the Panthers get through to the second round of the state baseball playoffs, as Northside defeated Lakewood 4-1 at home on Wednesday.

The senior foursome of Reg Bishop, Parker Boyd, Zach Griffin and Zach Woolard were highly influential for the Panthers in the first round matchup of the NCHSAA 1A Baseball State Championship.

Woolard, Northside’s starting pitcher, kept Lakewood’s hitters from having much impact on the game. The right-handed hurler limited the Leopards to only one unearned run on six hits scattered throughout the game, while pitching all seven innings. Woolard also racked up seven strikeouts in the game.

Bishop, Boyd and Griffin did the majority of the damage at the plate for the Panthers, supplying seven of Northside’s nine hits in the game. Bishop was perfect with a bat in his hands, going 3-for-3 and scoring two runs. Griffin, who hit 2-for-3, was responsible for most of his team’s runs, hitting three RBI. Boyd also went 2-for-3 and added an RBI of his own.

While neither team was prolific at the plate, Northside coach Keith Boyd said the difference in the game was that the Panthers were able to get their hits in big moments, while Lakewood’s six hits were spread out over the game’s seven innings.

“That was the difference in the game, our defense and pitching, and we had nine hits to their six,” Boyd said. “But we scattered theirs and we were able to stack ours together a little bit at timely moments and get a win.”

The Panthers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, when Griffin laced a double down the left field line, bringing home Bishop and Parker Boyd to score. Then in the fifth, Northside doubled its lead thanks to RBI-hits from Boyd and Griffin. The Leopards scored a run in the seventh, but Woolard was able to close the game out, striking out a Lakewood batter with a runner on second.

For their second round game, the Panthers will travel to Cerro Gordo today to take on West Columbus at 6 p.m.