BIRTHRIGHT — The North Hopkins Panthers split in two district games and defeated Avery in a non-district match-up over the weekend.
On Friday, the Panthers took a step back falling at Honey Grove 11-10 falling just short in a seventh inning comeback. Silas Whaley two out single brought the Panthers within one run before Kevin Meza grounded to short to end the game.
"We just gave up too many walks and had errors that hurt us. We did come back and play well Saturday," Coach Tim Henderson said. "There are five teams in the race for three playoff spots so every game we play is important."
The Warriors had big innings in the fourth and fifth, scoring nine runs to take an 11-6 lead after five frames. Whaley took the loss on the mound coming out after 3 2/3 innings. Dakota Jones finished the game in relief.
The Saturday morning game found the Panthers streaking to a 6-0 first inning advantage on four hits by Whaley, Meza, Rheston Sills and Austin Oldham.
Meza had a great outing on the hill giving up just two hits while striking out nine Owls. Sills led the offense with a two-hit day as the Panthers banged out seven total hits, sealing the five-inning mercy rule win.
In Saturday's second game, the Panthers ripped Avery, 10-0. North Hopkins took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning and exploded for six runs to put the game out of reach. Alfredo Orozco tripled to lead off the bottom of the fifth and Miller sacrificed him in to give the Panthers the day's doubleheader sweep.
North Hopkins is 11-5 for the year and 8-3 in district action. The Panthers are tied for second with Sulphur Bluff, Cumby and Miller Grove. Roxton leads the pack, but only by one game.
In Tuesday action, led by Blake Adams three doubles, three RBI and three runs scored, the North Hopkins Panthers got an important 8-4 District 17A win over the Sulphur Bluff Bears Tuesday afternoon at home.
The Panthers rallied after a scary moment when senior Dakota Jones was hit in the face with a pitch. Jones would leave the game and would later receive 15 stitches.
"The guys really picked up after Jones got hurt," coach Tim Henderson said. "We only walked one and made just two errors in the game and that was the difference. I am really proud of Jones for getting up and being tough when he was obviously in pain. He says he will play Friday at Miller Grove."
The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Panthers answered on a single by Kevin Meza followed by the first of Adams' doubles. Adams scored on a Jessie Williams RBI ground out to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead after one frame.
The Panthers added a single run in the second inning, two in the third and three more in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-1 advantage. Sulphur Bluff made it an 8-4 game with three runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Silas Whaley came on in relief of Meza, who had come in for Jones, to shut down the Bears in the top of the seventh.
Both teams had eight hits for the game, but the Bears gave up three walks, three hit batters and five errors in the game. Panther pitching gave up two errors and one walk.
The win kept the Panthers in a tie for second place at 9-3 in district with Cumby. The Trojans defeated Miller Grove 16-2 Tuesday. Both teams are just one game behind district-leading Roxton.
North Hopkins is now 11-5 for the year and travel to Miller Grove Friday for another crucial district contest.
The Panthers will travel to Miller Grove this Friday for another 4:30 p.m. game.
lose one, win one
BIRTHRIGHT — A five-run Saltillo outburst in the top of the fifth inning erased a 3-3 tie and sparked the Lady Lions to a 12-3 district win over North Hopkins Tuesday afternoon.
The Lady Lions used four timely hits and a pair of Lady Panthers miscues to take a commanding 8-3 advantage to gain their sixth district win against no losses. The loss dropped the Lady Panthers to 4-2 in District 16A competition with three games to go and 11-11-1 for the year.
Sulphur Bluff defeated Cumby 30-17, leaving those two teams tied for the third playoff spot with identical 1-5 slates. The Lady Panthers own the tie-breaker with both teams and will get the second place spot for the playoffs.
"We really played well except for that one inning, but I am proud of my girls for never giving up," Coach Larry Tucker said. "Saltillo is very good and they got two exceptional defensive gems from shortstop Kendall Bain that killed rallies for us."
The Lady Panthers had eight hits with Cecily Saffel going 2-3 while Briana Weigel and Chelsey Crouch added doubles for North Hopkins. Tiffney Goldsmith had a home run and a triple to lead the Lady Lions who had 11 hits as a team. Chelsea Moore had a 3-4 day at the plate for Saltillo.
North Hopkins will host Cumby Friday for Senior Night honoring Macy Griner, Briana Weigel and Kealey McPherson.
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