Panthers Clinch Playoff Spot After a Win Against Pleasant Grove

(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.

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