Three Panthers commit to play college softball

Published 4:10 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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Three key components to Northside’s chances of making a deep playoff run this spring signed to play college softball Wednesday morning in the school’s media center.

Pitcher/infielder Bella Boykin signed with Catawba College in Salisbury, while infielder/outfielder Jorden Clark and her twin sister Jaden signed with Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk.

Boykin was named to two All-State teams as a pitcher and also earned Coastal Plains Conference Pitcher of the Year honors with a 12-3 record, a 1.00 ERA and 113 strikeouts in the 77.1 innings pitched. She batted .508 for the Panthers, who finished 20-5 with a trip to the fourth round of the 1A playoffs. She scored 31 runs, drove in 34 and had 19 extra base hits, including seven home runs.

“Catawba made me a good offer and wants me to hit as well as pitch,” Boykin said. “I really liked the campus and am excited to keeping playing softball in college.”

The Clark twins were members of the CPC All-Conference team, while playing multiple positions. Jorden, the elder by 33 minutes, batted .406 with 34 runs scored and 12 extra base hits.

Jaden was second on the team with 28 RBI and struck out 44 batters with a 1.67 ERA on the mound.

“We knew we were going somewhere together and the mountains are beautiful,” Jorden said. “We enjoyed our visit and knew it was the right spot. The coach told us he wanted us because we are fast and can play anywhere on the field, so we want to contribute right away.”

The Panthers finished 9-2 in the CPC with both losses to Pamlico County, 4-3 in eight innings. The last one was in a one game playoff to determine the league champion and a high seed in the state playoffs. Northside had to play the post-season on the road and made it to the third round before losing at East Columbus.

All three signees agree they have unfinished business before moving on to college.

“We are among seven seniors who have played together for a long time and this is our last chance,” Jaden Clark said. “We’ve worked hard to improve over the summer and will be ready to go when the season starts.”