Seahawks pick up key victory
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
CHOCOWINITY — Southside’s Sydney Harding came up with the defensive play of the game.
As Heather Ussery’s RBI single brought the Northside Panthers within one in the top of the seventh, Southside centerfielder Caroline Guard fired the ball to Harding. The Seahawks’ catcher was on her toes as she saw Elizabeth Harris racing for third on the play. Harding fired a bullet to third baseman D.D. Stanley, who tagged out Harris to end the game.
Southside’s 4-3 win on a windy, chilly Monday, coming in the regular-season finale for both teams, locked up second place in the Atlantic Conference for the Seahawks.
Coach John Lohman’s team (13-5, 9-5) earned a home playoff game — the first in school history — with the victory.
Lohman, who is awaiting to hear on the opponent, is thrilled that his team can host a playoff game.
Northside (7-7 Atlantic) finished third in the conference and will be on the road for the first round of the playoffs.
Coach Keith Boyd’s team had its chances, but the Panthers couldn’t push a run across despite loading the bases with nobody out in the sixth. Southside pitcher Gabby Cilluffo, who had some command problems, overcame the jam by keeping Northside off the scoreboard.
The Seahawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Kristen Ayers led off with a single and she scored on Cilluffo’s single into left. D.D. Stanley followed with a two-run homer into left.
Southside tacked on another run in the third. Cilluffo slapped a two-out single and pinch-runner Mandy Harding raced home on Stanley’s bloop single into shallow center.
Northside cut its deficit in half with a pair of runs in the fourth. Ussery drew a bases-load walk to force in one run and Cassie Sasnett’s groundout scored another to make it 4-2.
The Panthers, after leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings, tried to rally again in the seventh. Casey Alligood belted a single into left. Harris reached on an error to put runners at the corners. Ussery then singled into center to score Alligood. However, Sydney Harding threw out Harris trying to reach third on the play to end the contest.
The victory made it all the sweeter of a Senior Night for Guard and Jessica Sullivan.
Northside 000 200 1 — 3 4 1
Southside 301 000 x — 4 6 3
WP: Gabby Cilluffo; LP: Amanda Bierne
Hitters: N — Heather Ussery 2-3 (2 RBIs), Casey Alligood 1-3 (2 runs), Elizabeth Harris 1-3; S — D.D. Stanley 2-3 (HR, 3 RBIs), Gabby Cilluffo 2-2 (RBI), Kellie Hardison 1-3, Kristen Ayers 1-4.