Led by the bat of senior third baseman Cam Norgren, the Panther Creek baseball team ended a seven-game losing skid with a 14-1, five-inning victory at Apex Friendship on Friday afternoon.
Norgren went 4 for 4 with two doubles and four RBIs to lead the Catamounts, who took advantage of 13 walks by Patriots pitchers. In completing the season sweep of Friendship, Panther Creek improved to 4-9 overall and 4-6 within the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference.
“I felt like I hit it well today,” Norgren said. “I was trying to be aggressive at the plate. I’ve been not squaring up lately. I just wanted to be aggressive and take a swing at the first good pitch I saw.”
The defeat was the ninth in a row for the Patriots (1-11, 1-9).
Freshman pitcher Koen Moreno got all the runs he’d need in the first inning. Panther Creek saw Ty Birling get a one-out double, before back-to-back walks loaded the bases. Norgren ground an RBI single by third base followed by Alec Dumas lofting a sacrifice fly to center to make it 2-0.
Moreno would give up an RBI single to Friendship left fielder Vince Burlingame that scored Ian Asken, who walked, in the bottom of the third. It was the only hit the right-hander allowed. He struck out seven and walked three.
“He pitched very well today, had his changeup working well,” Panther Creek head coach Dan Hall said.
The Catamounts actually took a 5-0 lead before the one Friendship run, benefitting from four walks in the second inning. Rei Morales scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0 and Norgren’s double to left plated Jake Perko and Birling.
In the third, four walks – including Birling’s bases-loaded free pass, pushed the lead to 6-1. Ben Rosenberger’s ground out to first plated Perko before Bryceson Hernandez’s infield single scored Braden Magee.
All those runs were charged to Patriots’ starter Aaron Prickett, who struck out two. Reliever Cole Oxendine would strike out four the rest of the way.
Norgren hit a single to right – the first ball to leave the infield – for another RBI and Alec Dumas rapped a two-RBI single up the middle to make it 11-1.
In the fifth, Hernandez was hit by a pitch and Norgren doubled before Christian Schmidt singled to left to score both. Schmidt would come home on Perko’s RBI single to complete the scoring.
“That’s the offensive rhythm we’ve been looking for,” Hall said. “They helped us with the walks, but our approach at the plate was more like what we are looking for, what we are capable of. And that enabled us to capitalize on those walks.”