The Panther Press

Panthers Clinch Playoff Spot After a Win Against Pleasant Grove

BaseballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Joe Watson) Coach Kent Craig talks to Seth Adams (15) while Nick Noble watches in a game earlier in the season. 

(Photo by Joe Watson) Coach Kent Craig talks to Seth Adams (15) while Nick Noble watches in a game earlier in the season. 

As radio broadcaster and Panther Press writer Adam Routon said, "This could be the biggest upset in 4A baseball in Texas."

Of course he was referring to the Panthers' 4-1 victory over the visiting Pleasant Grove Hawks. To a casual fan, you would need to look deeper into the numbers to see why this was an upset.

First, you have the state ranking. Take it for face value but they came into play Friday night ranked fourth in the state of Texas in 4A. When I say take it for face value, I mean the rankings are comprised of coaches all over the state. They talk with each other obviously but don't see each other play.

However, this time, it seemed pretty legit. Coming into Friday's game against North Lamar, they had a 24-2 overall record and they were 8-0 in the district. They've already clinched first place in the district as well.

Second, it was only a couple of weeks ago when North Lamar played at Pleasant Grove. In that game, they lost 5-1 and only managed one hit in the game. Take that and the fact North Lamar was coming off a disappointing loss on Wednesday at Pittsburg, it made for a bad combination.

Third, the Hawks sent their Ace to the mound. He did not pitch in the first meeting against each other. The Panthers struggled against their number two starter so it would appear they would have a hard time against the number one guy.

Add all these up and you should have a North Lamar loss. However, that's not what happened. Instead you have the opposite. North Lamar beat Pleasant Grove. It wasn't really close either. The Hawks only managed three hits and two of them came from the same player. Their only run was scored in an inning in which there was no hit allowed.

Seth Adams pitched brilliantly for the Panthers. He allowed one unearned run while striking out seven Hawks in the process. Offensively, Zeke Wood continued his hot hitting as he finished with three hits and two RBI's. Sam Cowling had the only other RBI for North Lamar. For the season, Wood is batting .427 and has 23 RBI, which leads the team.

With the win, North Lamar clinches a playoff spot. Where they finish in the standings remains to be seen. If they beat LE on Tuesday, they will be in 2nd place. If they lose, then there are a lot of different scenarios that could happen.

What we know for sure is this: Pleasant Grove has clinched the district title. North Lamar and Atlanta are in the playoffs. LE has been eliminated. Paris and Pittsburg play on Tuesday. The winner is in the playoffs and the loser is out.

Panthers Hold off Atlanta Rally to Take Over Second Place in District

BaseballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Joe Watson) 

(Photo by Joe Watson) 

After falling behind early, the Panthers used three run innings to take control of the game. North Lamar three runs in each of the second, third and fifth innings in their 9-8 victory.

Atlanta jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning. In the bottom of the second, though, North Lamar would answer. After Tyler Biard was hit by a pitch and Cade Conway walked, Jake Roberts hit a 2-2 pitch over the right fielder's head for a triple. Roberts would come around and score on a Sam Cowling single.

In the third inning, North Lamar would see the first three batters reach base. Roberts would get another RBI as he hit into a fielder's choice which allowed Seth Adams to score. A groundout and an error would plate two more Panthers, giving them a 6-4 lead after three.

The score would remain that way until the fifth inning, when Atlanta would score three runs to take a 7-6 lead. The Panthers would would respond, though with three in the bottom of the inning. After a couple of walks, Conway would come around and score after Austin Exum reached on an error. Roberts would come around score later in the inning after Zeke Wood singled to right field. Exum would come around and score in a bases loaded walk to Austin Stephens.

The game would get really interesting in the top of the seventh inning. With one run already across and the bases loaded, Atlanta only had one out. North Lamar had the corners playing in and the middle infielders at double-play depth. Doran Hutchinson got Atlanta to hit into a double play. BJ Hammonds hit a line drive right to the second baseman Cowling. Cowling ran to the bag and touched second to double up the runner. The game was over and North Lamar could breathe a sigh of relief.

With the win, coupled with a Paris and Liberty Eylau loss, North Lamar is now in second place in the district. They will travel to Pittsburg on Tuesday to play the Pirates.

Panthers Bounce Back in a Big Way

BaseballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Joe Watson) Zeke Woods taking a bat against Pittsburg earlier in the season. Woods finished with four hits and five RBI's against LE on Friday. He also got the win on the mound. 

(Photo by Joe Watson) Zeke Woods taking a bat against Pittsburg earlier in the season. Woods finished with four hits and five RBI's against LE on Friday. He also got the win on the mound. 

For the second time in district play, the North Lamar Panthers bounced back from a loss with a win. In both losses, the North Lamar Panthers only managed one hit. In both bounce-back wins, Zeke Woods was the starting pitcher for the Panthers.

The first win came against Atlanta 2-1. The second win was a little easier as the Panthers won 18-1 over the visiting Liberty Eylau Leopards. North Lamar jumped out early and never let up as they scored their 18 runs in four innings on 17 hits.

Woods and Jake Roberts combined to pitch a one-hitter for the Panthers. Woods went three innings and gave up the lone Liberty Eylau hit. Their one run was an unearned run in the second inning. Woods also struck out four and walked two. Roberts didn't allow a hit nor a walk and struck out three in the win.

Six of the Panthers managed multiple hits against the Leopard pitching. Woods led the way with four hits and five RBI's for the Panthers. Austin Stephens finished with two hits and four RBI's. Austin Exum and Seth Adams each had two RBI's while Cade Conway and Tyler Biard each had one.

With North Lamar's win, they are now 3-2 in district play. That win coupled with Atlanta and Paris losing puts North Lamar in sole possession of second place in district. North Lamar will host Paris on Tuesday night at 7:30.

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North Lamar Loses District Opener at Paris

BaseballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Joe Watson) Jacob Roberts pitching for North Lamar against Paris High. 

(Photo by Joe Watson) Jacob Roberts pitching for North Lamar against Paris High. 

Sometimes, as an opponent, you have to tip your hat to the team you're facing. This was the case for the Panthers as they faced the Paris Wildcats in their district opener at Hub Hollis Field.

Playing a day later than scheduled due to rain, the Panthers ran into a dominating pitching performance by pitcher Phil Sikes. Sikes got 19 of the 21 outs via strikeout on Saturday night in the Wildcats 9-0 victory over North Lamar.

THe first time 11 batters were all strikeout victims for North Lamar. It wasn't until the fourth inning that they finally broke through against the big right-handed senior.

Austin Exum reached on an error by the second baseman of Paris. Zeke Woods than roped a single over the head of the shortstop. That was all the base runners the Panthers would get against Sikes.

(Photo by Joe Watson) Phil Sikes about to deliver a pitch Saturday night against North Lamar. 

(Photo by Joe Watson) Phil Sikes about to deliver a pitch Saturday night against North Lamar. 

On the other side, the Panthers defense had a rough night. The Panthers finished with six errors on the night. Of the nine runs scored, only three of them were earned on the night.

Jacob Roberts started on the mound for North Lamar. He only lasted two innings as he allowed five hits to the Wildcats. Seth Adams came in and pitched the final four innings, allowing one hit.

With the loss, North Lamar is 0-1 in district and 11-5 overall. They will travel to Atlanta on Tuesday night. Paris is now 1-0 and will travel to Pleasant Grove on Tuesday.

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Panthers Finish Van Alstyne Tournament with a 3-1 Record

BaseballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Suzanne Roberts) 

(Photo by Suzanne Roberts) 

The North Lamar Panthers ran their overall record to 6-3 after a successful four games this weekend in Van Alstyne. North Lamar secured victories over Anna, Princeton and Trinity Valley. Their only loss came to Pottsboro.

North Lamar 7 Trinity Valley 2

The Panthers picked up the victory against Trinity Valley thanks to an offensive explosion in the third inning. The Panthers came away with six runs in the frame to put the game away. The Panthers scored in the inning thanks to a couple of doubles and a couple of walks. Jacob Roberts and Tyler Baird both doubled in the inning. Roberts' hit plated one run while Baird drove in two with his. Wesley Culberson and Cade Conway each drew a bases-loaded walk.

Culberson got the win for the Panthers on the mound. Wesley gave up five hits and one earned run. He walked one and struck out three in the victory.

Pottsboro 10 North Lamar 1

Not quite the game North Lamar wanted to see after a great opener against Trinity Valley. North Lamar took a 1-0 lead after the first inning. However, that was a short-lived lead as Pottsboro scored five runs in the second inning. They added one more in the third and four runs in the fourth inning. Defensively the Panthers didn't help their cause as they committed four errors in the game.

North Lamar 3 Princeton 2

The third game of the tournament was a different game as it turned out to be a pitching duel. Zeke Woods went the distanced for North Lamar. Woods gave up two earned runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out eight in the victory.

Seth Adams got the scoring going for North Lamar as he singled in a run in the second inning. Cade Conway kept it rolling as he doubled in Adams. Jacob Roberts added an RBI in the third inning for North Lamar. North Lamar finished with 10 hits. Conway had four to lead North Lamar. Austin Exum had three on the night.

North Lamar 14 Anna 4

Cade Conway followed up his big game against Princeton with an equally big game against Anna. Conway had another four hit game against the Coyotes. Conway had three singles and a triple as North Lamar easily handled Anna.

He, along with Sam Cowling, Steven Wisham and Tyler Baird each had two RBI's for North Lamar. Leading 4-2 after the second inning, the Panthers offense erupted for seven runs in the third inning to put the game away. Baird and Zeke Wood each had a home run for the Panthers.

Jacob Roberts got the win for North Lamar. He pitched four innings and gave up two earned runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out seven.

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NL Panther Baseball Parent Meeting Set

Greg Higgins
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A parent meeting for athletes expressing interest in playing baseball for the North Lamar Panthers has been set for Monday, January 23 at 6:00 p.m. in the North Lamar High School cafeteria.

North Lamar head coach Kent Craig will outline this year’s program and address what is expected from players, coaches, and parents. Attendance is strongly encouraged.

This year's baseball team can expect North Lamar to provide athletes with agame uniform, practice pants, practice shirts, belt, helmets, and sleeves. Players will be required to purchase game caps for $20.

“We arelooking forward to a great year and continuing the tradition of Panther Baseball,” said Craig.

Coaches assisting Craig this season are Scott Igleheart, Chris Smith, and Josh Jordan.  For questions please call NL athletic secretary Nicole Neilson at 903.737.2003 x 2072.

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Steak Dinner Fundraiser for NL Panther Baseball

BaseballGreg Higgins
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Join others and show support of the North Lamar Panther Baseball team by attending a steak dinner at 6:00 p.m.on Saturday, January 21 at Richard Drake Barn located on Highway 271 North in Powderly, Texas.  The fundraiser is a chance to back the Panthers and mix and mingle with other supporters and coaches.  Tickets may be purchased for $100 each by contacting Jason Stephens at 903.517.3605.

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Panthers Defeat Athens in Dramatic Fashion

BaseballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Amanda Anderson) North Lamar Panther team: Regional Semifinalists

(Photo by Amanda Anderson) North Lamar Panther team: Regional Semifinalists

You only need one word to describe the three-game series between North Lamar and Athens. That word is simply execution. In the two games in which North Lamar defeated the Athens Hornets, they simply executed at the plate or on the mound when they had to. The game they lost, it was Athens that executed better.

(Photo by Amanda Anderson) Panthers dog piling each other after their dramatic series win on Saturday. 

(Photo by Amanda Anderson) Panthers dog piling each other after their dramatic series win on Saturday. 

Game 1: North Lamar 5 Athens 4

It's easy to say Game 1 wasn't the most dominating game Kevin Dickey has ever pitched in a North Lamar uniform. He was effective though on the mound. Dickey pitched 5 2/3 innings, He allowed four runs on six hits. He walked 7 and struck out 11.

Athens got the scoring started with a bases loaded walk in the first inning. North Lamar would take the lead in hot top of the third inning, though. After Sam Cowling walked, Brayden Steed tripled him home. Steed when then score when Trey Scudder hit a sacrifice fly.

Athens would tie the game up in the bottom of the fourth inning and then would regain the lead in the sixth as they scored two runs more runs off Dickey. Coach Scudder would bring in Junior Wesley Culbertson. Culbertson got a fly out to left to end the inning.

Going to the seventh inning, North Lamar trailed 4-2. Matt Gibbons led off the inning with a double. Cowling advanced him to third with a single and Steed brought him home with another single. After Jacob Roberts struck out, Scudder reached base on a fielder's choice in which Athens didn't record the out.

With the bases loaded, one out and trailing 4-3, Jake Wynn hit the ball hard to center field. Cowling easily scored to tie the game. Steed was thrown out at home trying to take the lead. Scudder would take third on the throw and Wynn would take Second. With Tyler Biard at the plate, the Athens pitcher threw a ball by the catcher, which allowed Scudder to come home and score.

Culbertson would come back out for the 7th and pick up the victory for the Panthers as he shut the door on Athens. With the win, North Lamar takes a 1-0 series lead.

(Photo by Amanda Anderson) Matt Gibbons and Brayden Steed (3) 

(Photo by Amanda Anderson) Matt Gibbons and Brayden Steed (3) 

For the first time all post season, the North Lamar Panthers were playing a second game. The previous two weeks had only been one game series so this was a little different.

Matt Gibbons got the ball to start the game for North Lamar. From the very first pitch, Gibbons had trouble getting the ball down in the zone. Pitching only 1 1/3 innings, he gave up seven runs (five earned). He only gave up three hits but he walked four.

Sophomore Seth Adams did a nice job for North Lamar in relief. Adams pitched 3 2/3 innings. He gave up four runs but only two were earned.

On the other side, Athens starter Brandon Boyd had his command working all game. He only allowed two hits the entire game. He walked two and struck out four. The series is now tied 1-1 with game 3 to still to play.

(Photo by Amanda Anderson) Brayden Steed (3) showing his emotion after his game winning hit in the eighth inning of game three.  

(Photo by Amanda Anderson) Brayden Steed (3) showing his emotion after his game winning hit in the eighth inning of game three.  

Game 3: North Lamar 4 Athens 3 (8 Innings)

Just as he did in critical games during District play, Jacob Roberts took the mound with confidence and poise on Saturday. With the series tied at one game apiece, Roberts took the ball for game three.

Roberts pitched the entire eight innings for North Lamar. He only gave up three hits, struck out four and walked one. The three runs he gave up were all unearned as North Lamar had five errors in the field during the game.

Athens sent Brandon Boyd back to the hill for game three. After only pitching five innings in the second game, they used him to eat up some more innings.

Once again, Boyd was effective through the first two innings he pitched. The third inning was different, though. Sam Cowling would be hit by a pitch. Brayden Steed would walk and Roberts was also hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two outs and the bases loaded, Trey Scudder hit a double to the gap in right-center that would score Cowling and Steed.

In the fourth inning, with a different pitcher on the mound for Athens, North Lamar would strike again. Kevin Dickey would get the rally going when he was hit by a pitch. Back-to-back singles by Matt Gibbons and Cowling would bring Kevin around to score.

Athens would tie the game in the sixth inning on three hits and three North Lamar errors. North Lamar had their chance in the seventh to win the game as they loaded the bases with two outs. However, Ashton Chaffin hit a grounder back to the pitcher to end the threat.

The Panthers, though, would end the game in the next inning. Austin Exum would reach on an error. Cowling would advance him to second with a single. That would bring up Steed. With a 2-2 count on him, Braydon took the next pitch and drove it down the right field line. It landed fair on the line, which allowed Exum to easily score from second to give the Panthers a walk-off win.

With the win, North Lamar won the series 2-1 and will face Argyle in the Regional Semifinals next weekend. Game 1 will be at 6:30 Friday. Game 2 will be 3:00 on Saturday. If necessary, Game 3 will follow. All games will be at Prosper High School.

Kevin Dickey Shines in Area Round of Playoffs

BaseballGreg Higgins
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The same thing that carried North Lamar through district is what has sustained them through the first two rounds of the playoffs. In two games so far in the postseason, North Lamar has not allowed a run. A major reason for that is the play of Kevin Dickey.

Dickey, against Mabank, pitched seven innings. He allowed no runs on one hit while striking out 14 in the 3-0 victory. Mixing a variety of pitches, the North Lamar senior fooled the Mabank hitters all night. The only hit came in the sixth inning off Kevin.

The Panthers managed nine hits in the victory. They opened the scoring in the top of the fifth inning when Brayden Steed scored on an error by the Mabank left fielder.

North Lamar would add two more runs in the seventh inning. It started when Matt Gibbons doubled to open the inning. He would come around and score when Sam Cowling singled to right field. Cowling would come around and score when Trey Scudder reached on a fielder's choice.

With the win, North Lamar advances to the Regional Quarterfinals and will play Athens. Times and locations have yet to be determined.

North Lamar Hands Pleasant Grove Their First District Loss of the Season

BaseballGreg Higgins
Chad Box with a hit during a game earlier this year. 

Chad Box with a hit during a game earlier this year. 

Nothing gets over a loss like winning a baseball game. That's exactly what the North Lamar Panthers did Monday night when they took down state-ranked Pleasant Grove in Texarkana. Two nights after falling to Paris High 3-1 in 10 innings, North Lamar. Took down the Hawks 8-5.

It started early for North Lamar as they scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Brayden Steed got things going for the Panthers with a single. He would come around and score when Trey Scudder reached on an error. A double by Jake Roberts would bring Scudder home. Ashton Chaffin would close out the scoring in the inning with an RBI single which plated Roberts.

Pleasant Grove would quickly take the lead as they would score four runs of their own in the second inning. The score would remain that way until North Lamar scored a couple in the fourth inning. Jake Wynn singled to left. Austin Stephens came in as a courtesy runner and would come around to score on a single by Chaffin. That single would also score Roberts, who had walked earlier in the inning.

Matt Gibbons went the distance on the mound for North Lamar. He allowed five runs but none of them were earned. He gave up four hits, struck out four and walked two in the seven innings he pitched.

North Lamar would add one more in the fifth and a couple more in the sixth while the Hawks could only get one more runner across home plate. The win secures second place for North Lamar in district. It's also the first loss for the Hawks in district. Both teams will close out play Tuesday night.

Panthers Win Behind 16 Strikeouts from Kevin Dickey

BaseballGreg Higgins
Kevin Dickey set to throw a pitch for North Lamar. Dickey allowed two hits while striking out 16 in the game. 

Kevin Dickey set to throw a pitch for North Lamar. Dickey allowed two hits while striking out 16 in the game. 

It had been 10 days since the North Lamar Panthers had played a meaningful baseball game. Kevin Dickey hadn't pitched in two weeks. Now factor in the amount of games about to be played for North Lamar and you realize how important it is for a big game from Dickey against Liberty Eylau Friday night.

Not only did they need it, he provided it as he went the distance in a 5-3 Panthers victory. Only two of the runs allowed were earned by Kevin as North Lamar did have four errors. He allowed two hits and walked four.

The most impressive number, though, is 16. As in 16 strikeouts. Dickey threw a combination of off speed pitches along with his fastball that kept the LE batters guessing all night long.

At the plate, the Panthers managed five runs on six hits. It started in the first when Brayden Steed led off the game with a single. North Lamar would bat seven men and score three of them in the inning. They would score their other two runs in the third inning. LE scored one run in each of the first, third and seventh innings.

With the win, North Lamar is now 6-1 in district. They will make up their game against Paris on Saturday night at POS Long field. First pitch is set for 6:30.

Panthers Defeat Atlanta on Walk-Off Homerun

BaseballGreg Higgins
Catcher Jake Wynn walking back from a chat with the pitcher. 

Catcher Jake Wynn walking back from a chat with the pitcher. 

Matt Gibbons threw 72% of his pitches for a strike against Atlanta. Gibbons threw 65 of his 91 pitches for strikes. He worked the inside of the plate against batter after batter and the Rabbit baseball team had trouble.

Atlanta only managed four hits off the sophomore pitcher in the 1-0 North Lamar victory. Not to be outdone, though, was the Rabbit starter BJ Hammonds who pitched almost as brilliantly. He only gave up three hits. However, it only took one.

The game looked destined for extra innings because of the way both pitchers were throwing the ball. Opposite of Gibbons, Hammonds worked the outer half of the plate as threw an array of different pitches.

With the game scoreless in the bottom of the 7th inning, Jake Wynn stepped up to the plate. After taking a couple of pitches and fouling one off, Wynn belted the 2-1 offering from Hammonds. There was little doubt when it left the bat where it was headed.

As Jake got to first base the ball landed way beyond the wall in left field near the scoreboard. As he reached home plate, he was surrounded by a mob of Panther teammates to congratulate him. Atlanta walked off the field stunned at what just happened. North Lamar walked off in jubilation.

With the win North Lamar is now 5-1 in district and will face cross-town rival Paris on Friday night at home. The Panthers defeated Paris 1-0 earlier in the year. First pitch is set for 6:30.

North Lamar Improves to 3-1 in District with Comeback Win

BaseballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Adam Routon) Trey Scudder beating out a grounder earlier in the year.  

(Photo by Adam Routon) Trey Scudder beating out a grounder earlier in the year.  

Austin Stephens brought home the winning run to give the North Lamar Panthers the lead in the seventh inning, as they hung on to beat Liberty Eylau 9-6 on Tuesday.

Sam Cowling singled to get on base in the seventh. He then went from second to third on a single by Brayden Steed.

Trey Scudder led North Lamar's offensive threat, as he got on base three times in the game. He scored two runs and had one RBI. He doubled in the third inning and singled in the sixth inning.

Jacob Roberts pitched lights out for the North Lamar as Liberty Eylau managed just two hits off of the the pitcher, who allowed no earned runs, walked none and struck out four during his 2 2/3 innings of relief work.

In the bottom of the first, Liberty Eylau grabbed the early lead, 4-0. Ross started the rally for Liberty Eylau with a single. A single by Webb then moved Ross from first to second. More runs came home for Liberty Eylau when Webb, Brooks and Freeman scored on a three-run double.

The Panthers matched their two-run third inning with two more in the sixth. In the third, they scored on an RBI double by Scudder, bringing home Cowling.

The Panthers Varsity never surrendered the lead after the seventh inning. The runs piled on thanks to a two-run single by Ashton Chaffin. North Lamar will be at home Friday night against Pittsburg.

Pitching Duel Goes the Way of the Hawks

BaseballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Bill Higgins) Kevin Dickey pitching last season in a playoff game for North Lamar.

(Photo by Bill Higgins) Kevin Dickey pitching last season in a playoff game for North Lamar.

In three district games this year the North Lamar Panthers have only allowed three runs. The Panthers offense has only managed five run in those games. What that makes for is some very interesting and close ball games.

Friday night was no exception as the Panthers hosted Pleasant Grove. Both teams put their aces on the mound and both of them delivered. Kevin Dickey was one batter shy of going the distance for North Lamar while Caleb Bolden went six for the Hawks.

There were 25 combined strikeouts between the teams with 24 of them coming from the starters. Of the 18 outs Bolden recorded, 15 of them were strikeouts. Dickey had nine for the Panthers.

”We face their ace. They faced our ace. I’m sure they’re not pleased with the amount of strikeouts they had. We don’t want to see that many. When you’re facing a guy that goes out there and is able to mix his pitches, its hard. Its tough.” - Head Coach Scott Scudder

Unfortunately one of the teams had to lose and this time it was North Lamar coming out on the short end of a 2-1 score. Pleasant Grove struck first as they were able to push across a run in the first inning. After the first two batters walked to start the game, Joe Pearlman would score on an RBI single by Jacob Smith.

The next run for PG would come in the third inning. Pearlman would single and then come around to score on an RBI single by Carson Cox. That would be all the scoring the Hawks would manage but it’s all they needed.

North Lamar didn’t have their first base runner until the fourth inning when Brayden Steed worked a walk. Their first hit of the game wouldn’t come until the fifth inning when Tyler Biard hit a soft line drive for a single. North Lamar would load the bases in the inning but could not bring anyone home as Bolden got out of it with a strikeout.

North Lamar’s only run came in the seventh inning. With a two-run lead, Pleasant Grove went with relief pitcher Sawyer Smallwood. The first batter he faced, Jacob Roberts, worked a walk. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and would come around to score when Sam Cowling hit an RBI single to right field.

Pearlman would replace Smallwood on the mound and give up a single to Steed. With runners on first and second and one out North Lamar was hoping for more. Pearlman would get the job done for PG, though, as he got Chad Box to strike out and Trey Scudder hit a medium line drive to the second baseman.

With the loss, North Lamar falls to 2-1 in district. They will travel to Liberty-Eylau on Tuesday night to face the Leopards.

North Lamar Outlasts Paris High to Remain Undefeated in District

BaseballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Adam Routon) Matt Gibbons about to deliver a pitch Monday night

(Photo by Adam Routon) Matt Gibbons about to deliver a pitch Monday night

We’ve come to expect baseball games between the North Lamar Panthers and the Paris Wildcats to come down to the wire. Monday night was no different as North Lamar walked away with a 1-0 victory over the Wildcats.

North Lamar managed one run on only three hits. Paris, meanwhile, was shut out as they scattered six hits across the seven innings. Paris also left 13 runners on base for the night.

The pitchers took center stage in the game as both Matt Gibbons of North Lamar and Channing Parker of Paris matched either all night.

However, the defense for both teams came up huge as well as both teams had runners gunned down at the plate. North Lamar’s came in the second inning. Kevin Dickey, after being hit by a pitch was gunned down after trying to score on a single by Gibbons. The ball got away from the left fielder and Coach Scott Scudder decided to try and send Dickey. The relay was perfect and Dickey was out to end the inning.

Paris would face the same fate in the bottom of the seventh inning. Trailing 1-0 Phillip Nance hit a medium pop fly to right field. The right fielder had issues with it for North Lamar and dropped it. The Paris runner tried to score from second on the play but was easily thrown out on the play.

Paris would still have a chance as they loaded the bases with two outs in the inning. Scudder elected to bring in lefty Jacob Roberts to try and close out the game for the Panthers. Parker fouled off six straight pitches before finally striking out to end the game.

North Lamar’s lone run came in the fourth inning after Trey Scudder worked a walk. Scudder would steal second and then advance to third on a passed ball. Ashton Chaffin took a 1-2 pitch and placed it between third and short to score Scudder.

With the win, North Lamar is now 2-0 in district and will host Pleasant Grove on Friday night at 7:30.

Panther Athletes Sign with PJC Dragons

BaseballGreg Higgins
North Lamar’s Hunter Reeves, seated center, is joined by others as he signs to play baseball for the PJC Dragons. Seated with him are parents, Cody and Dana Reeves, along with siblings, Maddie and Gage, directly behind.  Standing in back are NLISD Superintendent John McCullough, NL Head Baseball Coach Scott Igleheart, PJC Head Baseball Coach Deron Clark, PJC Assistant Coach Clay Cox, NL Assistant Coach Chad Chalupa, and NL Athletic Director Tim Billings.

North Lamar’s Hunter Reeves, seated center, is joined by others as he signs to play baseball for the PJC Dragons. Seated with him are parents, Cody and Dana Reeves, along with siblings, Maddie and Gage, directly behind.  Standing in back are NLISD Superintendent John McCullough, NL Head Baseball Coach Scott Igleheart, PJC Head Baseball Coach Deron Clark, PJC Assistant Coach Clay Cox, NL Assistant Coach Chad Chalupa, and NL Athletic Director Tim Billings.

Seated with Kevin Dickey, center, as he signs to play baseball for the PJC Dragons are his parents Mickey and Terry Dickey and brothers standing behind, Cameron and Eric. Others joining on this momentous occasion are NLISD Superintendent John McCullough, NL Head Baseball Coach Scott Igleheart, PJC Head Baseball Coach Deron Clark, PJC Assistant Coach Clay Cox, NL Assistant Coach Chad Chalupa, and NL Athletic Director Tim Billings. 

Seated with Kevin Dickey, center, as he signs to play baseball for the PJC Dragons are his parents Mickey and Terry Dickey and brothers standing behind, Cameron and Eric. Others joining on this momentous occasion are NLISD Superintendent John McCullough, NL Head Baseball Coach Scott Igleheart, PJC Head Baseball Coach Deron Clark, PJC Assistant Coach Clay Cox, NL Assistant Coach Chad Chalupa, and NL Athletic Director Tim Billings. 

 Two members of the North Lamar Panther Baseball team, Hunter Reeves and Kevin Dickey, have signed to play for the Paris Junior College Dragons.  PJC is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association and competes in the Region XIV Athletic Conference, which is one of the strongest two-year college conferences in the nation.  Reeves and Dickey will begin playing in the fall of 2016.

Panthers Split Final Two Games With Van To End Season

BaseballAdam Routon
(Photo by Bill Higgins) Kevin Dickey delivering a pitch for North Lamar in game 2 against Van.

(Photo by Bill Higgins) Kevin Dickey delivering a pitch for North Lamar in game 2 against Van.

After a disappointing game 1 loss to Van, North Lamar came into game 2 of the Area Championship need a win to extend the series to a tentatively-scheduled game 3 on Saturday.  The sense of urgency was obvious on Friday night from the first pitch, and it seemed like a repeat of game 1 as Van rallied in the 7th but fell short with NL winning 3-2.

Kevin Dickey took the mound for NL to start the game and seemed to have control early.  Dickey faced 7 batters through the first two innings with one walk in the first.  In the second inning, Ty Jones reached base on a walk with one out.  Jones was able to advance to second base on a wild pitch, but the Panthers were unable to capitalize and left him stranded.

In the top of the third, a Van runner reached base with two outs but did not score.  In the bottom of the third, Panther bats begin to come alive. Sam Cowling was able to reach base with a nice single to center field with just one out.  Cowling was able reach second base on an infield ground ball by Brayden Steed.  Chad Box was able to reach first on a walk giving NL two base runners with two outs on the board.  Trey Scudder came up to bat next and sent one deep to center, scoring Cowling and Box with a double.  With Dickey at the plate, Scudder was thrown out trying to steal third.  NL closed the inning with  2-0 lead.

The top of the fourth saw Dickey face three batters and get three outs.  NL came to the plate looking to extend their lead.  With one out, Jones reached base on a walk.  Jake Wynn then stepped to the plate and hit a line drive base hit to right field, advancing Jones to third base.  With Evan Niblett at bat, Wynn was picked off trying to steal second.  Niblett answered by launching one deep to right, scoring Jones.  Niblett was thrown out at third base sliding in as he tried to extend the hit to a triple.  The Panthers headed to the fifth with a 3-0 lead.

The Vandals threatened to score in the fifth after Jacob Tobias reached base after being hit by a pitch.  A missed throw to first allowed Tobias to reach second and a sacrifice fly put him on third with two outs.  Brett Doring then reached first on a walk giving the Vandals two base runners.    With NL nerves rising as the tying run came up to bat, Doring was called out on an odd attempt steal that looked more like a series of dance moves ending when he jumped out of the baseline to avoid the tag. In the bottom of the fifth, NL once again put runners in play as Cowling hit a double with only one out.  However, Cowling was tagged out as Steed hit a grounder straight to second base.  Steed was able to advance to second base on a wild pitch but was left there when Box struck out.

In the sixth inning, Van was able to get two runners on base with two outs.  Again feeling the pressure, Dickey and the Panther defense was able to get the final out on a popup with no runs scored.  Jones was able to beat out the throw on an infield grounder giving NL a base runner with two outs but the Panthers were unable to score.

(Photo by Bill Higgins) Kevin Dickey taking a swing against Van.

(Photo by Bill Higgins) Kevin Dickey taking a swing against Van.

Going into the seventh inning, the Panthers had what should have been a comfortable lead, however no one was comfortable after the Van rally witnessed the night before.  After striking out the first batter, Dickey walked Jacob Tobias.  Sean Beasley then hit a single but Tobias was out at second.  Dickey walked his second batter of the inning, putting runners on first and second.  Cooper Bledsoe hit a first pitch double that scored the two runners and cut the Panther lead to 3-2.  The drama was high on both sides as Jax Tobias came up to bat.  With a 1-2 count, Tobias grounded out giving NL the victory in game 2 and forcing a series-deciding game 3.

Game 3 was originally scheduled for Saturday at 2pm but as fans and the teams were leaving the ballpark, an announcement was made that it would be played thirty minutes later due to potential inclement weather on Saturday.  NL was once again the home team and sent Evan Niblett to the mound.  

After a scoreless first inning, Cole Newsom was able to reach base for Van on an infield hit in the second.  After advancing to third, Newsom scored on a single by Jacob Tobias.  Tyler Biard reached base on a walk for NL in the bottom of the inning but  was still there when the inning ended.  After two, Van held a slim 1-0 lead.

The third inning was scoreless as Bledsoe reached base for Van and Box singled on a line drive to center field for NL but neither were able to score.

In the fourth inning, Van extended their lead as Jacob Tobias had another RBI on the night. NL was able to load the bases with one out giving them a great scoring opportunity.  Ty Jones reached based on a single, Jake Wynn reached on a bunt and Niblett was walked.  However a strikeout and a groundout left NL behind 2-0 going into the fifth.

After another scoreless inning, Van would add two more runs to extend the lead to 4-0.  Wynn would reach on a double for NL but the inning ended with the Panthers trailing 4-0.

Van moved the lead to 5-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning.  NL came to bat with their season on the line.  Cowling reached first with a leadoff walk.  Steed followed with a base hit that moved Cowling to third.  Box would follow with an RBI single, scoring Cowling.  With a 5-1 game and two runners on with no outs, it looked as if the Panther rally was on. Scudder drove in a run but hit into a double play.  With Dickey reaching second on a double and Jones reaching first after getting hit by a pitch, Wynn stepped up and hit an RBI single that looked like much more.  With the base runners moving to second and third, the throw to first was high and into the dugout.

Originally it looked like two runners scored but because of the dugout rule the runner for Jones was moved back to third base.  Emotions were high as Niblett stepped up to the plate with the tying run on second base.  A third pitch strike ended the game and the Panthers playoff run as Van took game 3 with a 5-3 score.