After dropping a game against Southern Lee two weeks ago, Orange Baseball Coach Dean Dease said he hoped his club would be a good team by April.
While the Panthers aren’t there yet, they took a forward step on Tuesday night.
Joey Berini hit a two-run single in the fifth inning, while Dalton Brown went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI as Orange (2-4, 1-0 in the Big 8) defeated Northern Vance 9-8 at Panther Field. Brown, who started in left field, came on in relief of starter Derek Lindaman for his first save.
Orange won its conference opener and ended a four-game losing streak.
The Panthers ended a 15-inning scoreless streak by scoring four runs in the first frame. After leadoff batter Jaydin Poteat walked, right fielder Rodney Brooks slammed a two-run homer to left center, his first varsity dinger. Following a single by second baseman Jason Slaughter, first baseman Eric Nichols laced a RBI triple to right field. Brown followed with a two-out single to right, scoring Nichols.
After the Vikings scored two runs in the 2nd, the Panthers extended its lead to 6-2 in the 3rd inning when Brown singled off a Baltimore chop over the head of Vikings third baseman Chris Stainback, scoring Slaughter and Noah Rogers, who doubled earlier in the inning.
Northern Vance narrowed the gap to 6-5 after scoring three runs in the 5th after three Orange errors.
The Panthers came right back with three more runs in the bottom of the inning. After Caige Clayton drew a one-out walk, Nichols reached on an infield single. Both runners advanced off a throwing error. Catcher Dylan Hall was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Berini hit a bouncer over second base that found its way into centerfield to score Clayton and Brown. With Cooper Porter running for Hall, Poteat reached on an infield single, leading to a throwing error that scored Porter to put Orange ahead 9-5.
Northern Vance never quit, scoring two more runs in the sixth and another in the seventh. After shortstop Payne Harris scored off a Qwadre Hanks RBI groudout, the Vikings cuts Orange’s lead to 9-8 with two out in the seventh. Brown struck out Ryan Stainback to end the game.
Orange travels to Northern Vance on Friday at 4:30. You can hear that game here on HillsboroughSports.com.