Northside, Southside split conference crownPublished 5:47pm Friday, May 3, 2013
CHOCOWINITY — The feeling all season long was that the Four Rivers Conference championship would likely be decided on the final day of the regular season and that’s exactly what happened on Thursday as Southside hosted Northside in a Senior Night matchup loaded with playoff implications.
For the Seahawks, anything was possible at the start of the game as a win would guarantee them at least a share of the conference crown with Northside, while a loss would likely drop them to down the No. 3 seed.
Overall, it was a win-win scenario for Southside as any team would covet a conference title, but a three seed would come with a silver lining in a playoff path that steers clear of Four Rivers Conference rivals for the first few rounds.
In the end, the Seahawks did what they have done five of the past six years and won the Four Rivers Conference title and garnered the No. 1 seed by edging past Northside 1-0 in matchup that pitted two of the area’s top pitchers against one another.
“We entered this game loose,” Southside coach John Lohman said. “We knew if we lost that we would probably be No. 3, which is a good place to be because you wouldn’t see another Four Rivers Conference team until maybe the fourth round. … But (getting the No. 1 seed) doesn’t bother me. I’m not scared to go against Four Rivers teams, but at the same time if I don’t have to see them until the fourth round that’s good too.”
The loss bumped co-conference champs Northside (11-3) down to the No. 2 seed but marks a tremendous improvement for the Panthers, who at this time last year were on the outside of the playoff bubble looking in.
“All in all we’ve had a great year,” Northside coach Jack Beirne said. “We lost a good game but we have come exceptionally far this year.”
With Southside (11-3) senior Savannah Mumford facing off against Northside’s super sophomore Kelsey Lang, runs where hard to come by on Thursday and a brief Seahawks rally in the fourth proved to be the difference.
Morgan Harding led off the inning with a single and than advanced to second on a Sondra Sparks sac bunt. One batter later, Harding would cross home plate after Tia Hardy ripped a booming triple into right field to score the game’s lone run.
From there, Mumford kept the Panthers in place as she pitched all seven innings, striking out seven batters and allowing four hits to get the win.
Lang’s lone blemish came in that fourth inning, but the Panthers’ ace was otherwise superb as she scattered six hits in seven innings and struck out one in the loss.
The win made for a stellar Senior Night for four-year starters Mumford, Macy Paramore, Sondra Sparks and Marlin Edwards, along with fellow senior Sam Lore, who comprise senior a class that Lohman said was one of the best he’s ever coached in his 11-year tenure with the school.
“As a class, as far as from freshman to senior dominance they’re definitely No. 1. … They’ve been good from the get-go and I knew when they came in there would be fours years with expectations of excellence,” Lohman said. “I built the team around that core four of girls. And it’s not like the other girls were not important, I don’t want to give that impression at all, but when you have four people that are going to hold down your infield like that, that’s big.”
Northside 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
Southside 000 100 x — 1 8 0
WP: Savannah Mumford: LP: Kelsey Lang
Hitting: N — Mackensi Swain 1-4, Brittany Alligood 1-3, Jessica Cleary 2-3; S — Savannah Mumford 1-3, Morgan Harding 2-3, Tia Hardy 2-3 (3B, RBI), Valarie Hodges 1-3, Macy Paramore 1-3, Sam Lore 1-2.