A perfect startPublished 10:17pm Saturday, March 30, 2013
PINETOWN — A perfect game punctuated a perfect atmosphere at Northside High School on Saturday during the first day of the Northside Easter softball tournament.
Playing on a sun-drenched field in near 70-degree temperatures, the hometown Panthers played the first two games of the evening and at the end of the day maintained their unblemished record to advance to the championship game where they will face defending tournament champs South Creek at 2 p.m. on Monday.
It was a solid all-around day for the Panthers, who began the tourney by topping Bear Grass Charter 15-1 in five innings before sophomore Kelsey Lang unleashed a perfect game on Pamlico to pick up a 10-0 six-inning victory over Pamlico.
With the win, the Panthers moved on to the tourney title game.
“The two games we played this morning the girls played very well,” Northside coach Jack Beirne said. “We were relatively error free and we put ourselves in position to play in the championship game.”
In the first game, Northside’s offensive started off slowly as it scored a run in the first and another in the second before it exploded for 13 runs in the third to greatly distance itself from the Bears.
Freshman Mackensi Swain had a stellar ball game as she went 2-3 and blasted a three-run over-the-fence home run to highlight the fireworks.
Fellow freshman Kendall Alligood went 3-3 with two RBIs, whole senior Brittney Alligood was 2-2 with two RBIs.
Senior Jordan Woolard pitched the first three innings and stuck out six to get the win, while sophomore Tayonya Stanley threw the final two innings and fanned three.
Northside remained hot in the second game as it rallied for six runs in the fifth and four in the sixth to punch its ticket to the championship round.
Once again, the Panther struck with a balanced attack as Lang, Alligood, Tayonya Stanley and Caroline Slade each produced two hits and two RBIs.
While the Panthers were busy at the plate, they had a light workload in the field as Lang carved up the Hurricanes lineup, striking out six of the 18 batters she faced in her perfect outing.
“It was an exceptional performance,” Beirne said. “She took care of business.”
South Creek took care of business as well as the Cougars downed North Pitt 7-0 behind a solid effort from pitcher Taylor Moore.
The Cougars locked up their second straight appearance in the title game by topping Plymouth 11-1.
In the third game of the day Pamlico beat Bear Grass 14-8, while North Pitt downed the Vikings 5-1 in the fourth game of the tournament.
Plymouth’s Diamond Davis went a perfect 3-3 from the plate in the loss, while Megan Kelly and Lauren Rogerson went 1-3 with a three-run triple.
Kelly pitched all seven innings for the Vikes and struck out 10 and after the game coach Chris Kelly said he was pleased with his team’s defense.
“We played a fairly solid game with minimal mistakes in the field,” Kelly said. “I’m disappointed in our bats, but I was really pleased with our defensive effort and our pitching.”