Panthers stay calm in eye of the storm

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, May 9, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Despite the difference in seeds, heading into Thursday’s 1A state playoff showdown with conference rival Pamlico County, the Northside Panthers knew the difference between the two teams wasn’t that great.

The 13th-seeded Panthers split with the fourth-seeded Hurricanes during conference play, winning at home, 4-1, and losing away, 7-2, in the space of four days last month.

Northside lost a conference game to 2A East Carteret, while Pamlico prevailed, which meant the higher playoff seed
went to the ‘Canes.

“We knew they were a tough opponent, but we also knew we could win if we played a great game,” coach Keith Boyd said. “Londyn Keech and Jorden Clark pithed great and we manufactured enough runs to win. Our mindset was that the pressure was on them (as the higher seed) and we played our best game of the year.”

The Panthers (17-4) scored in the first when Samantha Braddy singled to score Taylor Willard, who had walked. Emaleigh Cherry doubled in the third inning and scored on Bella Boykin’s bunt single.

Pamlico Co. (20-6) answered with a run in the fourth, before Keech drove in Boykin with a single in the fifth.
Keech struck out five in the first four innings, the Jorden Clark pitched the final three with three strikeouts.

Keech also made a diving catch at third base to end the game and send the Panthers into the third round.

“She made a Sportscenter highlight-type catch,” Boyd said. “It would have been a double down the line if she hadn’t laid out for it and we would have played a while longer. Londyn, Jorden and Bella have pitched great for us all year and having three who have pitched about the same number of innings helps us. Nobody has to carry all the load and this win was a true team effort.”

Northside plays the winner of Friday’s game between #5 Perquimans and #21 East Bladen in the third round Tuesday.