Girls win East title, boys tie series

Published 10:05 pm Thursday, May 23, 2024

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The moment had been a year in the making and the Northside girls softball team wasn’t about to let it pass uncelebrated.

Senior Jaden Clark sent her teammates into wild shrieks of joy, multiple hugs and general pandemonium with the series-clinching hit in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 15-5 victory and a regional sweep of Roxboro Community to claim the third East regional title in school history and a trip to the championship series next weekend at a site to be announced.

“I’m the fourth coach these seniors have played for and I’m so happy for and proud of them for doing the work that it takes to win a championship,” coach Keith Boyd said. Boyd started the Panthers softball program in the 1990’s and won the East in 1999 and 2001. He coached baseball for 15 years, then returned this spring to bring the program full circle.

“He was the difference in us making it this far after falling short (fourth round) last year,” senior Bella Boykin said. “We practiced hard every day because of him and he made us get mentally tougher so we could handle tough situations. I’ve never felt anything like this before and it’s a credit to him that we get to play for a state championship.”

Northside (21-4) scored two runs in the first, then fell behind 4-2 in the second before Jorden Clark hit a bases loaded double to tie the score. It was all Panthers after that as they added two more on Jaden Clark’s two-out single for a 6-4 lead.

Emaleigh Cherry made it 8-4 with a two-run triple in the third, then scored on Boykin’s single, who later scored on one of five Bulldog errors.

Jaden Clark took over for Boykin in the pitching circle and allowed a run on two hits in four innings.

“We took full advantage of our extra opportunities and took the extra base every chance we got,” Boyd said. “Speed puts pressure on the defense and every base matters. I’m really proud of the way our seniors have become leaders and brought the team together this last month. They are playing for each other and that’s what championship teams do.”

Taylor Willard went 3-3 with two walks and scored three runs as Northside collected 11 hits. Cherry was 3-5 with a double, triple and four RBI, while Jorden Clark drove in three runs.

The Panthers will face the #2 East Wilkes (26-3)-#4 Robbinsville (24-3) winner in a best of three state championship series that begins Friday, May 31.

Meanwhile the third-seeded Northside boys forced a deciding third game in their East final series with a 7-4 victory at #4 East Wake Academy In Zebulon Thursday night.

The Panthers (21-6) scored in the first, then the Eagles (18-5) scored three in the bottom of the inning off James Sawyer to take a 3-1 advantage. The junior right-hander settled down while his teammates scored in the second and third to tie, then took the lead for good with three in the fourth inning.

Senior Jamie Corprew went 2-5 with a home run as the Panthers collected seven hits, after just three in Tuesday’s 9-0 loss to start the series.

Hunter Chrismon and Corprew scored twice each.

“Jamie is our catalyst and he got us going tonight,” coach Parker Boyd said. “He hit the homer, stole some bases and made a great catch in center field. We showed resilience to bounce back and keep our season going, but the job isn’t finished yet.”

Sawyer went 4.2 innings with six strikeouts, Brandon Arthur threw 29 pitches in two innings and junior Ashton Willard recorded the final out.

The deciding game was completed after deadline for this edition. Go to the for a complete recap.