It was a rematch of last year’s SCISA Class AAA state championship series. And with Northwood Academy and Pinewood Prep fast out of the gate to begin the 2013 season, it could have been a preview of this year’s championship clash.
Defending state champ Pinewood Prep handed the Chargers their first loss of the season, a 17-3 decision Friday night. The game was called after six innings because of the 10-run rule.
“At the end of the day, I knew if we could get some pitching and make the plays, we would be OK,” Pinewood coach Phil Tobin said. “We haven’t been able to do that. We’ve won six straight games. We lost our first two games of the year. We made 10 errors in two games. I think it was a wake-up call to our guys to get better.”
The Panthers (6-2) broke open the game with a three-run third inning to send the Chargers to their first loss in nine games. Cody Lewis had an RBI single, John McMicking rapped an RBI double and Haden Heflin drove in the third run of the inning with an RBI single to right to make it 5-2.
The Panthers, who went 21-7 last spring, added two runs in the top of the fourth as winning pitcher Kyle Hair plated both runs with a bloop single.
The Panthers added eight runs on four hits in the top of the sixth, sending 12 men to the plate. They finished with 15 hits. Joel Roberts and McMicking both had three while Hef-lin and Brian Doucet each had two.
The Panthers are seeking their third state title since 2009 and second under coach Tobin, who is no stranger to Northwood coach Jerry Stoots. Stoots coached at Stall for 29 years, and Tobin played for Stoots and was a member of the Warriors’ 1985 state championship team.
The Panthers already have two wins over Hanahan and one over Timberland. The Panthers have Goose Creek and Cane Bay on the schedule next week.
“I put together a schedule to challenge the guys,” Tobin said. “We have to be ready every night.”