|North Hopkins gets help from Saltillo in victory|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
April 1, 2004 -- SALTILLO -- The North Hopkins Panthers banged out 16 hits and got a little help from the Saltillo Lions in a 20-4 victory Wednesday afternoon that tied the pair for second place in the district.
The Lions committed 10 errors, half of them in the top of the first inning when North Hopkins took a 9-0 lead before the home team came to bat.
With the win, North Hopkins improved to 5-1 in district (9-6 overall), while Saltillo fell to 4-1.
North Hopkins was paced at the plate by Sean Wilson, who went 4-for-5 with five runs scored and three RBIs. Chad Darlin and Micah Walker each had three hits and knocked in three runs.
After putting up nine in the first inning, the Panthers added two more runs in the third, six in the fourth and three in the fifth. But, just five of those runs were earned against the Saltillo tandem of starting pitcher Travis Thompson and reliever Trey Thompson.
The Lions' infield made two errors within the first three batters of the game, and that opened the floodgates as North Hopkins sent 14 batters to the plate in the first inning, including a string of four consecutive hits the second time through the batting order from Jake Cockrum (two-run double), Wilson (RBI single), Darlin (run-scoring double) and Walker (single).
The Lions added three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning, on RBI singles from Micha Carr and Colin Garmon and a sacrifice fly from Frank Van Ryn. That made it a short day for NH starting pitcher Josh McPherson, who was pulled after hitting Micah Payne with one out in the first and two runs already across. Cockrum came in to settle things down, getting the win by tossing 3 1/3 innings of three-hit ball.
Hard-throwing lefty Roy Warren pitched the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit.
Garmon and Carr finished the game with two hits apiece, and Garmon just missed his eighth homerun of the season in the third when North Hopkins right fielder A.J. Ramirez went deep into the corner to make a nice catch against the fence. Saltillo's Micah Payne followed with a triple to the right field gap that scored Carr, cutting the deficit to 11-4.
But, North Hopkins added six more runs to its advantage in the fourth with the big hit being McPherson's two-run double. In the fifth, Wilson added an RBI double and Walker had a run-scoring single.