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The North Lamar Panthers’ baseball team had to push past several hurdles before they could even begin their second-round series with Spring Hill. Game 1 was pushed back from Thursday to Friday due to weather. The location of the game had to be moved as well because of the field conditions in Mineola. After calling around, they finally found a place to host the game – North Texas Community College in Mt. Pleasant. The only problem with this was Prairiland was set to play game 1 of their series with Edgewood at 6:00 p.m. This meant North Lamar would have to play after this game.
Game time was set for approximately 9 p.m. However, a strong thunderstorm blew through the area around the time the Patriots game was ending. North Lamar and Spring Hill had to sit through about an hour rain delay and the game didn’t actually start until approximately 10:30 p.m. on Friday night. North Lamar was able to take that game from Spring Hill.
Game 2 was played Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and North Lamar dropped that game in eight innings. Game 3 was played 45 minutes after the conclusion of that game and North Lamar was able to win that game. North Lamar is Area Champs and they will play Pittsburg next weekend.
Game 1: North Lamar 5 – Spring Hill 1
It didn’t take North Lamar long to get on the scoreboard in this series. Aaron Edwards and Hunter Reeves were both hit by a pitch. Edwards would come around to score to give the Panthers the early 1-0 lead. The offense would tack on three more runs in the second inning. Three errors, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly scored the Panther runs.
With North Lamar up 4-0, Senior pitcher Daniel Gibbons had more than enough to work with. Gibbons pitched the entire seven innings and only gave up one run on one hit. He struck out 11 and walked six batters in the win. North Lamar only managed three hits in the victory but were able to take advantage of the mistakes by Spring Hill.
Game 2: Spring Hill 6 – North Lamar 2
Once again the Panthers struck first as they scored a run in the first inning as Aaron Edwards singled and would come around to score. Chad Box led off the bottom of the third inning with a deep drive off the left field wall for a double. He would later score on a fielders choice off the bat of Edwards.
With a 2-0 lead, Brandon Dusenberry did his best to keep the game close. Spring Hill would get a run in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 2-1. A throwing error by the Panthers in the sixth inning brought home another Spring Hill run to tie the game at two.
The game would remain tied until the eighth inning when Spring Hill would score four runs to break the game open. All six of the Spring Hill runs were unearned as North Lamar committed five errors in the game. Dusenberry went the distance for the Panthers on the mound. He allowed nine hits, struck out five and walked three.
Game 3: North Lamar 4 – Spring Hill 2
Before game 3 started I asked coach Igleheart who was going to the mound and he responded with confidence, “Ty [Jones].”
Ty had yet to see playoff action but Igleheart said he had a really good feeling about the game. Once again North Lamar put a run up in the first inning. A Daniel Gibbons double down the first base line set things up for the Panthers. A hit-by-pitch and two walks would score Gibbons.
In the third inning, North Lamar scored two more on a Trey Scudder single. North Lamar would tack on another run in the fifth inning. Spring Hill would load the bases in the seventh inning and scored two runs but Ty was able to shut them down.
Ty pitched beautifully too. Jones pitched seven innings, gave up two earned runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out five. Spring Hill pitchers hit five Panther batters during game 3 as well.
With the win, the Panthers are Area Champs. They move on to face a very familiar opponent in the Pittsburg Pirates. The District 13-3A teams will face off in a best-of-three series starting Thursday night. Game 1 will be in Pittsburg Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. Game 2 will be at North Lamar Friday night at 7:30 p.m. If necessary, game 3 will be Saturday at Texas High with a time to be determined.