North Hopkins Panthers ousted in first round of Class A playoffs
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

May 10, 2006 - PITTSBURG - Same Field, same team, same result.

For the second straight year, the North Hopkins Panthers faced the Harleton Wildcats in the bi-district round of the baseball playoffs and came away with almost the same score as last year.

The Wildcats handed North Hopkins a 15-2 run-ruled shortened game Tuesday at Pittsburg High School after winning 13-2 in Game 1 of their series last season.

Dustin Clements was 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Jake Cockrum was 1-for-2 with a run scored, and Jeremy Dixon was 2-for-2 for the Panthers.

North Hopkins fell behind 2-0 after the first inning as with one out, Rory Hollon singled and teammate Josh Salmon tripled him home. Salmon then came in on a passed ball by North Hopkins for a two-run lead.

Harleton came back with three more runs in the top of the third inning off Panthers' starter Josh McPherson - who went four innings while giving up eight hits, 10 runs, six earned, two walks, one strikeout, six hit batters and a balk.

With two outs, Salmon was hit by a pitch and Colten Knuckles singled, putting runners on first and second. Bryan Baker then cleared the bases with a triple and scored on the balk by McPherson.

The Panthers then scored their only runs of the game in the bottom half of the inning as Clements singled and stole second, advanced to third on a fly ball by McPherson and scored on an errant pick-off attempt at third from Knuckles.

After consecutive walks to Cockrum and Joe Smiddy, Cockrum stole third and scored on a wild pitch for a 5-2 deficit.

The Wildcats sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the fourth inning against McPherson as Mikey Bass smacked a double and Hollon reached on an error by North Hopkins which scored Bass. 

Salmon was hit for the second time, then Hollon and courtesy runner Colt Chambers scored on Knuckles' double to center, and Baker drove in courtesy runner Spencer Morris with a triple for a 9-2 lead.

Later in the inning, Bass had a bases-loaded walk to score Baker for the 10-2 lead.

Cockrum came into the game in relief of McPherson in the fifth inning with Harleton scoring five runs off him in the inning. Cockrum gave up two hits, two walks, two strikeouts, five runs, three earned, and two hit batters.

North Hopkins ends the season with a record of 16-10 under first-year coach Talon Cockrum, who took over for Steve Drummond this year.

Notes: North Hopkins was the District 15-A champion with an 11-3 district record. This is the final year that Harleton will be in Class A as they are moving up to District 18-2A due to the recent realignment. Harleton will face Trenton in the next round of the playoffs.

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