A clean getaway for SeahawksPublished 9:42pm Friday, May 17, 2013
CHOCOWINITY — Southside knew it would have to play a flawless ball game to take down fellow Four Rivers Conference champions Northside on Friday and that’s exactly what the Seahawks did as they won 3-0 over the Panthers to advance to the fourth round of the NCHSAA 1-A state playoffs.
Playing for the third time this season against their crosstown rivals, the No. 1 seeded Seahawks (18-3) saved their best for last as they were able to top the No. 2 seeded Panthers (16-5) for the third straight time.
The win sets up a fourth round matchup on Tuesday with No. 3 South Creek, another Four Rivers Conference foe, who beat Perquimans 4-3 on Thursday to advance.
“We’re very excited,” said Southside coach John Lohman, whose team advanced to the fourth round for the second time in four years. “I’m especially happy for the girls. We’ve been pretty good for four years and now we get to push through the playoffs a little deeper. It’s a good reward for them.”
On Friday, Southside senior Savannah Mumford was sensational as she blanked a strong Panthers’ lineup for seven innings and crushed a game-winning inside-the-park home run in the first inning on the first pitch of the game from Northside ace Kelsey Lang to go up 1-0.
“I think we came out a little nervous but Savannah pitched well and that that home run she hit really mellowed everybody out,” Lohman said.
Southside would add two more runs on the board in the third as Tia Hardy and Valarie Hodges led off the inning with back-to-back singles before advancing a base on a Macy Paramore sacrifice bunt. Both runners would score on the next at-bat as Northside misplayed a Danielle Clark grounder to third to go up 3-0.
With a lead in hand, the Seahawks defense clamped down fielding everything that came its way, while Mumford came up with key strikeouts throughout the ball game.
Paramore, the Southside shortstop, gunned down a runner at home, while first baseman Tia Hardy corralled every throw that came her way to preserve the lead.
“We played errorless ball on some hard hits,” Lohman said. “Tia Hardy probably made three or four plays at first base that your average first baseman couldn’t make and that’s a game-saver right there.”
Northside threatened constantly the way lapping waves threaten sand but like water in an ocean it continually recoiled before before reaching its destination.
The Panthers loaded the bases in the second and fourth innings and had a runner reach third in the fifth but Mumford and Co. would not allow them to get any further.
“We left about nine runners on base, maybe more,” Northside coach Jack Beirne said. “Southside did a great job when we had runners in scoring position. Hat’s off to Savannah, she struck out two when we had runners on third base. She did a great job bearing down.”
The season was a great won for the Panthers, who surged to the third round of the playoffs a year after it failed to make the postseason.
“It’s been an exceptional year,” Beirne said. “Most of our girls played basketball so we started the year off with less than five full practices before we had games. So considering where we were — we started the year off averaging about five errors a game — we couldn’t be more proud of the girls and what they accomplished.”
Northside 000 000 0 — 0 6 1
Southside 120 000 X — 3 7 0
WP: Savannah Mumford; LP: Kelsey Lang
Hitting: N — Alex Cutler 1-1, Taonya Stanley 1-3, Kelsey Lang 1-3, Caroline Slade 2-3, Jordan Woolard 1-2; S — Savannah Mumford 1-3 (R, HR, RBI), Morgan Harding 1-3, Marlin Edwards 1-3, Tia Hardy 2-3 (1 R), Valarie Hodges 1-2 (1 R), Sam Lore 1-2.