Panthers hope quarterfinal series follows familiar script

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 15, 2007 - North Hopkins baseball coach Brian Bymaster believes the Panthers' upcoming playoff series could resemble the last one.

He certainly hopes it turns out that way.

The Panthers (17-11) will start their Class A, Region III quarterfinal series against the Maud Cardinals at 6 p.m. today at Gilmer High School. Game 2 is set for noon Saturday at Paris Junior College, with Game 3 to follow, if necessary.

The Panthers are coming off a two-game sweep of Overton last week in the area round. Both games were close, with NH winning by scores of 4-2 and 5-1.

Bymaster believes the series against Maud will follow the same scenario.

"I think we've evenly matched," he said. "I think it will be a lot like the last series, where each team will have a chance to win. It's just a matter of who makes plays to take advantage of their opportunities."

The Panthers, champions of District 17-A, will start ace Bradley Ball on the mound tonight. Ball pitched both wins last week and will have an opportunity to pitch again on Saturday with three days rest.

"The Tuesday-Saturday series is good for us because Bradley is throwing so well," Bymaster said. "Maud is kind of like us in that they have more than one pitcher, but they have a definite No. 1."

Maud, the runner-up in 18-A, has gotten to the regional quarterfinals by beating Cumby in bi-district, 11-2, and defeating Union Hill in the area round, 7-4.

The winner between NH and Maud will take on the Groveton/Lovelady winner next week in the regional semifinals.

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