Panthers prepare for another deep playoff run

Published 9:10 am Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Coming off a trip to the third round of the 1A state baseball tournament last spring, the Northside Panthers return six of the nine starters along with their top three pitchers.

Among the returnees is right-hander Eli Huynh, who was named the Coastal Plains Conference Pitcher of the Year after going 6-2 with a 2.12 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. Huynh also led the team with 38 runs scored, 27 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases.

“He’s a solid all-around baseball player and it’s good to have him back for another season,” coach Keith Boyd said. “We feel like we have three effective pitchers and our top six batters are pretty strong. We should be in the thick of things again at the end.”

Northside is off to a 2-1 start with double-digit victories over Riverside and Tarboro to start the season followed by a 12-3 loss at Ayden-Grifton after leading 3-2 with two outs in the sixth inning.

“I have never seen a team score 10 runs with two outs, but that’s what they (Ayden-Grifton) did,” Boyd said. “We just couldn’t get them out. It was a good experience for us against a very good 2A team and it will help us later on.”

Boyd expects juniors Brandon Arthur and Hunter Chrismon to compliment Huynh on the mound and at the plate after joining him on the All-Conference team last year. Briley Cooper, Tres Cherry and Jarrett Spruill are part of the starting lineup as well.

“I like our lineup one through nine,” Boyd said. “Our conference is more competitive this year (after the Panthers went 10-0 last spring) and we should have closer games. Jones, East Carteret, Pamlico and Southside are all off to good starts, so we’ll have our work cut out for us.”