Panthers headed to district finals

Norton’s baseball team came back to defeat Marlington, 4-2, in the district semifinals at Louisville High School.

The Panthers escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first and came back to score first in the bottom of the frame. Andrew Kozak drew a lead-off walk, then moved to second on a throwing error and to third on a wild pitch. He scored on Ben Aiken’s double off the right-field fence.

The Dukes loaded the bases again in the top of the second and scored two runs off back-to-back infield singles.

Norton took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Par Rockhold doubled to right, and Clay Crawford singled on a bunt to start the inning. Jarred Pasterchek sacrifice bunted to get Crawford to second before John Cline hit a ground ball to first. The first baseman threw home, forcing Rockhold to retreat to third. He was safe and Crawford was thrown out, but Cline was able to move up to second during the rundown.

That was huge, as a wild pitch brought home Rockhold to tie the game, and the throw from the catcher to the pitcher was offline and Cline came all the way around to score, giving Norton a 3-2 lead.

The Panthers got an insurance run in the sixth when Clay Borrelli singled, then moved to third on an infield hit from Parker Hray and scored on a Ben Aiken double play.

Luke Bosley pitched a complete game and earned the victory for the second time during the playoffs.

He’ll be unable to pitch Wednesday, May 22 in the district finals at Louisville at 5 p.m. versus the winner of Tallmadge and Louisville.

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