Panthers fall in final game

Published 7:37 pm Saturday, June 1, 2024

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Northside couldn’t hold an early 3-1 lead as East Wilkes erupted for seven runs in the fourth inning on the way to a 9-3 victory in the third and deciding game of the 1A state finals at Duke Softball Stadium in Durham.

Londyn Keech drove in Jorden Clark with a single to left, then Keech scored on Jaden Clark’s liner off the shortstop’s glove into left field for a 2-0 lead in the second, then added another in the third on Jorden Clark’s single that scored Emaleigh Cherry, who had doubled.

“We played the first three innings pretty well, but couldn’t sustain it,” coach Keith Boyd said. “We were spotty all day and couldn’t duplicate our play of the first game yesterday. Hats off to East Wilkes, they are a great team and hit the ball well.”

East Wilkes (29-4) sent 11 batters to the plate in the deciding fourth inning and came up with five hits, including a three-run homer to claim the 1A title in their first trip to the state finals.

Jorden Clark had two of the Panthers six hits, while Jaden Clark, Megan Hopkins, Keech and Cherry had the others.

“We had an outstanding playoff run, mostly on the road as the 13th seed,” Boyd said. “We had played so well until today. I think we just ran out of gas, but I’m very proud of our effort.”