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KENLY — For three-and-a-half innings, the undefeated North Johnston High varsity baseball team allowed winless 2-A Eastern Plains Conference opponent Beddingfield to stick around.
But a controversial call at first base allowed a run to score and the inning to continue which propelled the Panthers to a nine-run fourth inning. North Johnston allowed one more run, but finished off an 11-3 win on a damp Friday evening on its home field.
It was the 13th straight win for the unbeaten Panthers, now 6-0 in EPC games. Avery Pearce was the main power source for the Panthers as he went 2 for 3 with two doubles and four runs batted in. North Johnston got off to a slow start due to the weather not allowing them to warm up, said head coach Brian Ford.
“Any kind of change and you don’t know what a 16 or 17 year old kid is going to do,” Ford said. “It takes them awhile and I’m just glad in the fourth we showed up.”
Beddingfield senior Mann Farmer took the loss after pitching 3 2/3 innings and giving up six hits, nine runs, two earned and four walks. North Johnston junior starting pitcher Dylan Pitts gave up more earned runs against the Bruins (0-9, 0-4 EPC) than he had in his previous five starts combined with two. Pitts also allowed a season high in walks, hits and runs, but the junior tallied at least 10 strikeouts for the fourth straight start and picked up the win with 4 2/3 innings pitched.
“I was trying to tell Dylan before the game, you’re going to be faced with some adversity, the thing is fighting through and getting through it — and he did for the most part,” Ford said.
Score by innings:
Beddingfield 002 010 0 — 3
North Johnston 020 900 X — 11
WP-Dylan Pitts (5-0) 4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 R, 6 BB, 10 K. LP-Mann Farmer (0-3) 3 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 9 R, 4 BB, 2 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Beddingfield: Rio Montes 2-3, 2 RBIs; Garrett Harris 1-2, BB; Austin Slate 1-2, 2 BB, R. North Johnston: Chastin Bailey 1-3, 3B, 2 RBIs, 3 R, BB; Avery Pearce 2-3, 2 2B, 4 RBIs, Dylan Pitts 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI.