Panthers end county spring sports season

Published 6:01 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

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Northside’s softball season came to an abrupt end Friday night against an unfamiliar opponent-themselves. East Columbus provided the actual opposition, but the normally sure-handed Panthers committed six errors that led to 10 unearned runs in a 13-9 loss after a three hour drive to Lake Waccamaw.

Northside, the 11th seed finished 20-5 after allowing the fourth seeded Gators 26-2) to score nine runs in the fourth inning for a 9-1 lead. The Panthers answered with four runs in the top of the 5th, but the Gators scored one in the bottom half and three in the sixth for a 13-5 lead with three outs left.

The Panthers battled back for four runs and the game ended with runners at first and second.

“East Columbus is a very good team and I don’t want to take anything away from their effort, but we lost the game,” first-year Northside coach Kevan Rabat said. “Normally, we are a sure-handed defensive team and our errors were very uncharacteristic. We hit and pitched well enough to win, but our defense wasn’t up to our usual standard. We had a long day in a difficult atmosphere and didn’t respond like we normally would.”

Northside outhit the home team 12-11 as Hannah Block, Bella Boykin and Samantha Braddy each had two hits. Boykin, the starting pitcher, had a double and three runs batted in, while Braddy and Emaleigh Cherry had doubles and drove in two runs.

Boykin allowed nine hits with six walks and seven strikeouts in six innings.

Black is the only senior and the team returns seven juniors.

“Hannah showed great maturity and was our voice of reason this season,” Rabat said. “There’s a big difference between juniors and seniors maturity-wise and hopefully our playoff experience this year will help us next year.”

Boykin led the Panthers with a .508 average, 34 hits and a team-best seven home runs among 19 extra-base hits. She was 12-3 with a 1.00 ERA on the mound with 113 strikeouts in 77 innings.

Black hit .455, Jorden Clark was second with 28 RBI and Cherry hit .437, scored a team-high 37 runs and stole 13 bases.