Late Surge Brings Victory to Panthers
J. C. Tilton
But which Panthers team? In a game with Championship repercussions, North and South matched up last week. Both teams had just one league loss coming into the game. North, the defending champs, have been getting everyone's best game this spring. With this being a rivalry, South was ready to play their best.
Like their counterparts on the fastpitch diamond, South got off to an early lead. At one point leading, 5-0. TCN pitcher was starting his first game since injury and the South players were tagging him early. The North coach got his team to settle down. Holp found the plate and although he gave up a late home run to Wes Rehmert, he was otherwise unscored on for the rest of game. With the pitching back on track, the North batters started to get base hits off of South starter Steve Summers. They quickly caught up to and then passed South. To stem the bleeding, coach Wright brought in Wes Rehmert. But he did not fare much better as North kept accumulating basehits.
I asked the North coach about the errors that allowed South an early lead. “Things like that happen in a big game. We told them to keep focusing - there are a lot of innings to play, and we will battle back. And we tell them to never give up, and we didn't give up tonight. It took us a little time tonight to get adjusted to the pitcher. Eric Croley lead us off with a homerun - that got things going. It was the first one of his high school career. We kept getting the hits when we needed them. We've been facing everyone's number 1 and 2 pitchers this year. Since we won the league last year, we have the big bulls eyes on us so we are going to see everyone's best.” Next he was asked about the pitching, “Cody Holp is our number one pitcher and he has been out for over two weeks with a hurt arm. He slid into third base and kind of jammed his shoulder. This is his first complete game back.”
South coach Frank Wright was asked for comment after the game, “They hit the ball well, they put it in play and we didn't make the plays that we needed to make. They are a good team and if you give good teams opportunities they take advantage of it.” Next he was asked about the reversal in the game, “They made some mistakes against us early and gave us a chance. Then we let them back into the game, they got momentum back on their side. We are a young team and they got rattled and made some mistakes. They are not used to the pressure, but you know we will get better from that.”
North did manage to continue their winning ways in a decisive win over National Trail. Josh Linder had a home run and pitcher Matt Ferguson had the win in the 12-6 victory. Comments: email: Chris Tilton