Reloaded Panthers will be ready

Brandon Barnes crosses home plate in the Panthers’ 11-1 win over Smithfield-Selma. (Michael Held photo)


Sports editor

KENLY—The North Johnston baseball team lost its entire starting rotation from last year’s undefeated conference champion, 21-win squad.

But the hard work put in by some new young guns has Panthers coach Brian Ford optimistic about this year’s team.

One of those arms, that of senior Trey Whitley, was on display last Friday as North Johnston turned back Smithfield-Selma 11-1.

Whitley struck out 10 in 5.1 innings of work and allowed just three hits, just one after the first inning, and was in complete control all night.

“I don’t have a returning arm from last year and we’re still developing pitchers who are throwing strikes,” said Ford. “. Our pitchers…they’ve worked their tails off in the fall, in the winter and in the preseason because they knew we don’t have a returning arm.”

Sophomore Dylan Pitts came on for the final two outs (both strikeouts) to help the Panthers improve to 2-1 on the young season.

Spartans pitching gifted North Johnston nine walks for the game. That coupled with five errors and numerous wild pitches and passed balls helped the Panthers on their way to the blowout victory.

Ty Narron drove in a run and was 3-of-3 at the plate. Matt Broadway continued his hot start to the season with a pair of hits while Colby Hall and Pitts each added a hit as well.

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