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Early runs propel Hickey, Panthers past Southview 6-1 in sectional final

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Whitmer’s Devin Thomas scores on An­thony Ok­die’s base hit during the second inning against Southview at Mercy Field. The Panthers won 6-1.

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Whitmer’s Luke Hickey had plenty going his way during a Division I sectional semifinal on Tuesday evening at Mercy Field.

That wasn’t good news for Southview.

The senior limited the Cougars to only three hits, leading the Panthers to a 6-1 victory over Southview.

Whitmer will face Three Rivers Athletic Conference foe St. Francis de Sales in a district semifinal on May 23 at Mercy Field. St. Francis topped Northview 6-3 in a sectional final earlier in the day.

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Besides flirting with throwing a shutout, Hickey also helped his own cause by recording a couple of hits, including a double, and driving in two runs.

“I just felt comfortable all around today, at the plate and on the mound,” said Hickey, who added a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Whitmer coach Gary O’Connor said it was a team effort by the Panthers (12-8) to get past the Cougars (14-8).

“I thought the team came out from the beginning ready to play baseball,” O’Connor said.

“They had a great approach at the plate. They had a great approach in the field, and having Luke throw the way he threw on the mound, that’s what the team needed to cap off the way they started the game.”

Whitmer built a 4-0 lead by the second inning and never looked back.

The Panthers scored two runs in the first inning on a couple of hits, then followed up with two more runs in the second inning off of Southview starter Tyler Stambaugh, who was replaced in the inning after Anthony Okdie’s run-scoring base hit made it 4-0 with two outs.

Southview’s Griffin McDonald came through in the second inning with a run-scoring single that drove home Colin Boerst, who led off the inning with a base hit off.

That was the only run the Cougars would produce off of Hickey, who struck out four batters and walked three more.

“He was outstanding,” O’Connor said of Hickey. “He spotted all of his pitches today. He throws three pitches, and he spotted all three for strikes throughout the course of the game, which threw their hitters off because they couldn’t key on one pitch or another.”

Southview coach Ed Mouch said the Panthers’ early runs established momentum for Hickey.

“We just didn’t swing the bats very well, and they came out swinging the bats,” Mouch said. “They got out on top, which makes the pitcher a little bit more comfortable.

“I think Luke [Hickey] battled the whole way and threw a good game for them.”

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