SALTILLO — The North Hopkins Panthers jumped to an 8-0 first inning lead on the slugging of Jessie Williams fourth homerun of the year to clinch a playoff spot routing Saltillo 15-2.
The win sets up a showdown for the district title at home Friday against the Roxton Lions.
"We just need to take care of business at home Friday and we will get the district championship and the top seed," Coach Timmy Henderson said. "We must put the ball in play against one of the best pitchers in Northeast Texas, Walker Wharton, if we are going to be successful."
Back to Monday's win, the Panthers led 11-0 after just three innings and coasted to the final 15-2 margin of victory. The Panther bats pounded out 13 hits on the day. Kevin Meza hit for four RBIs on two doubles. Leadoff batter Silas Whaley was a cheetah on the base paths with five stolen bases, scoring four times on three walks and getting hit once. Williams also had a double to go with his round-tripper.
Blake Adams, Dakota Miller, Dakota Jones and Hunter Joslin each had a two-hit game for North Hopkins. Jones took the win on the mound with Whaley and Meza closing out the final three frames for the Panthers. Panther hurlers struck out Lion batters eight times.
The Panthers split two games over the weekend, losing to Class 2A Farmersville and walloping Sam Rayburn 17-1.
"We had a couple of bad innings that cost us the game against Farmersville, but we came back Saturday and played well against Rayburn," Henderson added. Freshman pitcher Austin Oldham took the win against Rayburn.
North Hopkins now stands 11-4 in District 17A and 15-7 for the season.
Friday's showdown against Roxton will be at North Hopkins, with the first pitch at 4:30 p.m.
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