The Providence Panthers got strong pitching, great defense and were aggressive and opportunistic at the plate in a dominant 8-1 win over the Hough Huskies Tuesday night in the third-round of the NC 4A baseball playoffs.
The Panthers will play the Mooresville Blue Devils Friday night at Providence in a fourth round 4A playoff game. The winner of that game will land in the state’s 4A Final Four.
On Tuesday, Providence starting pitcher Ethan Reece went five strong innings, yielding only three hits while striking out three, walking three and not yielding an earned run. Noah Hall went 1 and 2/3 innings and did not allow a hit. Michael Dansky came on in the seventh to get the final out.
“They did a great job,” said Providence manager Danny Hignight talking about his pitchers. “We played well behind them and our guys did a great job defensively and on the mound.”
Hough starting pitcher J.B. Brock only lasted one inning and Huskies manager Jimmy Cochran was forced to use four pitchers in six innings. Hough pitchers hit six Providence batters in the game which greatly contributed to its defeat.
Providence wasted no time getting on the board in its half of the first. After a hit batsman, a walk and double steal, Sam Kagan’s suicide-squeeze bunt was perfect, plating Patrick Bloomingburg for a 1-0 Panthers’ lead. Providence loaded the bases with two outs but Brock struck out Noah Hill to end the inning.
Providence increased its lead by scratching out two runs in the fourth inning. Bloomingburg doubled home Sam Fligel. Then on a strikeout, Ryan Mangum stole home for the Panthers second run in the inning and a 3-0 advantage.
“He just told us to play as a team,” said Mangum on what Hignight told his team before the game. “They’re (Hough) a really good team, it was really good competition and we’re glad we got to play them. It was a fun game.”
THREE WHO MATTERED:
(Ryan Mangum – Providence) The Panthers’ third baseman got on base the hard way Tuesday night as he was hit twice by pitches and walked once. He also stole home in the fourth inning helping Providence score a pair of runs in the inning to increase its lead to 3-0.
(Walker Woolf – Providence) In the fourth inning, the Panthers’ left fielder threw out a Hough runner at the plate who attempted to score from second base on a single by Cade McGahen, preserving a 1-0 Providence lead at the time.
(Aiden Evans – Hough) In the second inning, Huskies right fielder threw out a Providence runner trying to tag up from second base to third on a flyout. In the sixth inning Evans robbed the Panthers’ Patrick Bloomingburg of at least a double with a circus catch deep in right field.
- Providence played Hough once in an early, regular-season matchup with the Panthers beating the Huskies 5-2.
THEY SAID IT: “I thought our energy was really good and we’ve got a great group of kids that really play hard. They do what they’re asked to do. I’ve got the greatest coaching staff in the country and the best kids in the country. I love em.” Providence Manager Danny Hignight on what he liked best about his team in Tuesday’s win.
RECORDS: Hough (19-10); Providence