Union Hill takes series opener from North Hopkins
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 8, 2004 -- PARIS -- At least the North Hopkins Panthers are through with Shawn Hayes.

Union Hill's sophomore righthander threw a complete-game one-hitter Friday afternoon in an 8-0 victory in the opening game of the best-of-three bi-district series at Paris Junior College's Hub Hollis Field.

In doing so, Hayes threw 96 pitches, which will likely make him unavailable to pitch in today's Game 2 or Game 3 (if necessary) at New Diana. The first pitch is set for 1 p.m.

That's good news for the Panthers (15-9), who had a hard time figuring out Hayes' mastery of his fastball and off-speed pitches. He finished with 16 strikeouts and three walks while giving up just one hit, a single to right field by sophomore Josh McPherson with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

"We knew Hayes was going to be tough," said NH head coach Steve Drummond. "He was just kind of a dominant pitcher out there this afternoon. I was just proud we made him go seven because we kept battling along."

Drummond pulled his ace, senior southpaw Roy Warren, after the fourth inning when the Panthers fell behind, 4-0. Having thrown 69 pitches, Warren will be available for a couple of innings today, if needed.

Warren gave up just one earned run in four innings, striking out four and walking three while giving up five hits. It was a hesitant defense in the first inning that got the Panthers in trouble.

Hayes led off the first for the Bulldogs with a soft single to left center and Dallas Jones followed with a single to left, compounded by an error. After a strikeout, Warren intentionally walked UH's cleanup hitter, Mitch Clemens to set up a double play. It may have worked when the next batter, Brice Blair, hit a ground ball, but a fielding mistake followed by a throwing error allowed two runs to score. Warren then struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

"We made a couple of key errors in the first inning, and really Warren pitched a real fine ballgame," Drummond said. "We just didn't play very good defense behind him. We had some young kids in a position that had never been here before and made some key mistakes."

UH added a pair of runs in the fourth on a Michael Hawthorne single and Brock Blair double. NH shortstop Jake Cockrum helped short-circuit the Bulldog rally when he fielded a grounder toward third base and tagged out Blair running to third.

First baseman Micah Walker, who pitched the final three innings, made a pair of outstanding catches on foul popups.

But, the Panthers didn't have any luck in solving Hayes, who struck out every batter at least once. Apart from McPherson's single, they managed to get three runners on base via walks: McPherson in the second, Cockrum in the sixth and Chad Darlin in the seventh.

For the Bulldogs, Hayes also had a pair of hits, going 2-for-5, while Hawthorne went 2-for-4 and Blair adding a 2-for-3 day.

Coach Drummond, though is confident the Panthers will have better luck when they play UH again today.

"We feel pretty good about it," he said. "Roy can come back tomorrow and throw a few innings, and we've got Cockrum and McPherson rested and ready to go.

"I don't think their No. 2 and 3 pitchers will just dominate us like Hayes did today, and we'll be able to put some hits together and score some runs."

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