Diamond update: Northside’s hot start continues

Published 8:31 am Sunday, April 2, 2023

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Northside’s strong start on the baseball diamond has reached another level in the last two weeks. The Panthers (11-1) have outscored Manteo, Tarboro, Southside (twice) and Lejeune (twice), 82-6, in the last six games. The only blemish on their record was a 12-3 loss at Ayden-Grifton in early March and the Panthers were ahead with two outs in the sixth inning before the Chargers erupted to win going away.

“We aren’t sure how good we really are just yet, but we’ve hit the ball very well, our pitching has been good and our fielding has been solid,” coach Keith Boyd said. “There aren’t any easy outs in our batting order and the kids are really having fun right now.”

The Panthers are 4-0 in the Coastal Plains Conference, tied with Pamlico County (4-0) for the league lead. They won the conference last year and made it to the third round of the 1A state tournament before losing to eventual state champion Perquimans.

Senior first baseman-pitcher Carson Clinkscales leads the CPC with a .567 average (17-30), and 20 runs scored and is third with 15 runs batted in.

Classmate Briley Cooper is fourth with a .519 average, while junior Hunter Chrismon is sixth at .483 and senior Eli Huynh is seventh at .474.

Huynh, Chrismon, Brandon Arthur and Jarrett Spruill are also among the top 10 in several other offensive categories.

Northside is fourth in the 1A East state rankings, behind Wilson Prep (7-0), Roxboro Community (5-2) and Voyager Academy of Durham (6-2), who the Panthers will face in the Pitt County Easter tournament next weekend.

“That game and the Greene Central (8-3, 5-0) game will give us a good idea of where we stand,” Boyd said. “We beat Voyager, 2-0, in the second round and they have most of their team back just like we do. It will be fun to test ourselves.”

Southside is 6-7 and 0-4 in the CPC after two losses to the Panthers last week.

Freshmen Joshua Lewis (.557), Luke Bullock (.438) and Jackson Harding (.421) lead the team in hitting along with junior Cutter Williams (.429). Senior Walker Hill is second in the CPC with 16 RBI and Bullock leads the league with 39 strikeouts in 23.2 innings pitched. Williams is third with 29 strikeouts in 20.2 innings.

Washington is 5-4 overall and 1-3 in the Eastern Plains Conference. Junior

Hunter Baldree still leads the league with a .571 average (16-28) 19 runs batted in and a .625 on base percentage. Baldree has slugged a pair of home runs and a triple.

Bryce Williams is fifth in the conference with 12 runs scored, seventh with a .414 average and has seven doubles.

Evan Waters is seventh with 21 strikeouts in 13.1 innings pitched.