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WASHINGTON — The North Johnston High varsity baseball team couldn’t take advantage of its opportunities and fell 5-2 at Washington during Tuesday’s third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A playoffs.
The No. 12 seed in the East Region and the No. 2 qualifier from the Eastern Plains Conference, the Panthers (22-4) took an early lead with a first-inning run. But after scoring, the Panthers could not capitalize with a pair of runners in scoring position and no one out.
North Johnston also made three errors defensively. Washington (19-5), champions of the Eastern Carolina Conference, was dominant on the mound as Hunter Hall pitched five innings and gave up four hits. Hall struck out eight batters to pick up his 10th victory of the year. Logan Everette relieved Hall in the sixth and held North Johnston without a hit over the final two innings, striking out three to earn the save.
Panthers sophomore Avery Pearce took the loss after tossing 5 1/3 innings and striking out seven.
The Panthers will lose five seniors — Tucker Batten, Daylan Hinnant, Austin Lee, Llmar Ramirez and Garrison Radford. But the Panthers do return Pearce and junior Dylan Pitts, who was 2 for 3 with an RBI along with junior Ty Narron. North Johnston will also get its No. 3 hitter, junior Chastin Bailey, back from a shoulder injury.
“The work ethic and the heart of this team is bigger than any team I ever coached,” North Johnston head coach Brian Ford said. “This year was the year to be put in the fire for some of these young players. I’m very excited about next season.”
Score by innings:
North Johnston 101 000 0 — 2
Washington 020 012 0 — 5
WP-Hunter Hall 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 8 SO. LP-Avery Pearce 5 1/3 IP, 3 R, 7 SO. S- Logan Everette 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — North Johnston: Dylan Pitts 2-3, RBI; Washington: Logan Everette 2-3, 2 2B, RBI, Mason Weaver 2-4, 2 RBIs, Hunter Hall 1-4, 2 RBIs.