It's easy to point to the offense of the North Lamar Panthers and say that's why they defeated Pittsburg 9-1 on Friday night. Afterall, they did have nine runs on 10 hits. They only struck out four times and they worked three walks while at the plate.
However, the pitching of Evan Niblett is the real story from Friday night's game. After Thursday night's marathon game in which the Panthers fell to Pleasant Grove 19-9 in extra innings, North Lamar needed a strong pitching performance Friday. Niblett provided that performance.
Niblett went the full distance for the Panthers, only allowing one run on four hits. He struck out three and walked two. Niblett can't be the only person to get the credit, though. The defense of the Panthers played pretty good as well. With the exception of a couple dropped fly ball errors, North Lamar played pretty good defense.
The bats got going early for North Lamar. North Lamar put up four runs in the fist inning. Brayden Steed got things going for North Lamar with a single. Chad Box walked and Trey Scudder reached on an error. Steed and Box both scored on the error.
Ty Jones then doubled to deep center field scoring Scudder. Jones would score when Niblett doubled to left-center as well. North Lamar would add four more runs in the third inning. North Lamar loaded the bases thanks to a walk and two singles.
Niblett singled up the middle to drive home a run. An error on the next batter scored Jones. A passed ball and a throwing error allowed North Lamar to score a couple more runs in the inning.
With an 8-1 lead, Niblett and the Panther defense settled into a nice groove for the game. North Lamar remembered what happened the last time they played Pittsburg and had a big lead. North Lamar was up 6-0 at Pittsburg and lost 7-6. This time, they made sure that didn't happen.
With the win, North Lamar locked up the second seed in the District behind Pleasant Grove with a 7-3 record. North Lamar will face Gilmer in the Bi-District round of the playoffs. North Lamar will play Thursday and Friday at 7:00 p.m. If necessary game three will be at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. All games will be played at Mt. Plesant High School.