Panthers open East finals with a win and a loss

Published 10:58 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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The Northside girls softball team is one victory away from claiming the East regional championship and a trip to the state finals, while the Panthers baseball team dropped the first of a three game series at home.

The 13th-seeded softball Panthers (20-4) wiped out a 3-0 first inning deficit with four runs in the second inning, four more in the fourth and another in the fifth for a 9-3 lead before #11 Roxboro Community (18-5) stormed back with fourth in the sixth. Northside held on for a 9-7 road victory and a 1-0 lead in the best of three series. It was their fourth straight playoff victory on the road.

Senior Taylor Willard led the offense with three hits, while classmates Emaleigh Cherry, Bella Boykin and Jaden Clark had two each. Eight different Panthers scored the nine runs, with Cherry scoring twice.

Northside can advance to the softball state championship series for the fourth time in school history with a win at home Thursday at 5:00 p.m.

Meanwhile the third-seeded baseball Panthers (20-6) dropped a 9-0 home decision to #4 East Wake Academy (18-4), who collected their 17th straight victory.

The Eagles led 4-0 when Northside starter Hunter Chrismon left the game with the bases loaded in the third inning. Reliever Trenton Allen gave up the final run in that inning, then allowed a run in the sixth and three more in the seventh to set the final margin.

The Panthers managed three hits against three Eagles pitchers, singles from Ashton Willard, James Sawyer and Griffin Johnson.

East Wake collected 10 hits, took advantage of six walks, two wild pitches and a hit batter.

“We didn’t play like ourselves tonight for some reason,” coach Parker Boyd said. “We knew they would be tough, but we never got anything going at the plate. James (Sawyer) couldn’t pitch tonight because of his pitch count from Friday and I wanted to save Brandon after things got out of hand.
We’ve been resilient all year and I expect us to bounce back Thursday at their place. Sawyer will pitch for us and I look for a better all-around performance.”

If the Panthers win, they will host the third and deciding game Saturday.