Panthers collect key wins in CCC

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

April 29, 2014

Tri-County North’s baseball team picked up two key wins as it continued its quest for a Cross County Conference title.

The Panthers downed two of the CCC’s top teams last week and in doing so improved to 7-0 in conference play.

North plated seven runs in the final three innings to take down host Bethel, 8-1, on Tuesday, April 22.

Senior Austin Hutchins picked up the win, allowing just five hits and giving up the single run in the fourth inning.

North’s offense collected 11 hits on the night, led by Austin Elmore’s 2-for-4 performance which included a home run and 2 RBI. Blake Lawson added a pair of hits and drove in two runs.

With the game tied at 1-1, North notched three runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings to pull away from the Bees.

On Friday, North fell behind early to visiting Miami East, but rallied to claim an 8-7 win.

The Vikings got to North starter Nick Gray for a pair of runs in the first inning, and extended the lead to 3-0 at the end of three innings.

North scored a run in the bottom of the fourth then took the lead with a 6-run fifth inning.

With a 7-3 lead heading into the final inning, it looked as if the Panthers had the game locked up, but a few mistakes allowed Miami East back in the game.

Elmore picked up the win in relief. Hutchins was key with a pair of hits and 2 RBI. Kyle Edgin added pair of hits as did Kodey Hawthorne.

“Overall, it was good week for (us),” North coach Larry Gray said. “Beating two of the tops teams in the same week in CCC was huge for (us). The Bethel game was very well played (no) errors and clutch hitting. I was very proud of our team. This is what we’ve been trying to work on since baseball started.”

Gray said the Miami East game was very hard fought game.

“We never gave up. The team was always battling every inning. As a coach we always preach never give up and battle to very end and that’s what we did,” Gray said. In the bottom of the seventh we scored to win the game. Now we could have won the game 7-3 but we lost our focus in the 7th with same critical errors that let Miami East back in the game. This is what we remind the team about ever practice, is the ability to stay focused every inning and never let your team down. Hopefully, we learn from this game and don’t have close games like that. Like I said we have to continue to improve ever week to be a good team.”

North was scheduled to play Covington on Monday, April 28, but the game was postpone due to rain. It has been rescheduled for Wednesday. The Panthers were to play National Trail on Tuesday. They will visit Twin Valley South on Friday and host the Cody Holp Memorial Classic on Saturday.