Panthers advance in dramatic fashion on the diamond, other county teams also in action

Published 9:30 pm Friday, May 12, 2023

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Northside senior Carson Clinkscales was at the plate in a classic situation Friday night. The Panthers had the based loaded with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, trailing the Riverside Knights, 6-4, in the second round of the 1A state baseball playoffs.

Clinkscales worked the count full, then slapped an outside pitch between the diving first baseman and the bag into the right field corner. The ball sliced into foul territory after from the right fielder while Clinkscales was sprinting toward third base.

Head coach Keith Boyd, also the third base coach, told him to keep going and Clinkscales slid head first safely across home plate with an inside the park grand slam to put his team ahead 8-6.

“We work on taking outside pitches to right field every day in practice, so I just hit it where it was pitched,” Clinkscales said. “I thought I had a triple when I hit it and I knew it would be close when coach waved me home. It was an awesome moment that couldn’t have worked out any better.”

The Panthers gave back a run in the top of the seventh, but fittingly Clinkscales caught the final out at first base for an 8-7 victory that sent #6 Northside (19-4) into the third round at third-seeded Voyager Academy (18-5) Tuesday in Durham.

“Seniors tend to step up in situations like that and once the right fielder bobbled it a little, I sent him on,” Boyd said. “It’s a moment he’ll never forget and it keeps our season alive.”

Two of the three county teams won on the softball diamond Friday.

Sophomore left-hander Emma Orr fired a two-hit shutout and fanned 10 in Washington’s 4-0 victory over #14 Roanoke Rapids. The third-seeded Pam Pack (17-5) host #6 North Johnston (14-4) Tuesday. Ava Mizell had two hits, while Carly Woolard drove in two runs for WHS.

#11 Northside advanced in the 1A softball playoffs with a 16-2 victory at #6 Warren County. The Panthers (19-4) play at #3 Perquimans (19-4) Tuesday. Northside prevailed, 8-4, in an early-season matchup.

Southside’s softball season ended with an 11-3 loss at #10 East Columbus. The 26th seeded Seahawks finished 9-12 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2017.