Seahawks slug their way past rival Bears|Rack up 12 runs on 13 hits

Published 10:06 pm Saturday, May 23, 2009

Contributing Writer

CHOCOWINITY — Emily Smith’s perfect innings streak never made it past the first inning on Friday, however, the Southside pitcher upped the Seahawks’ postseason winning streak to two as she led them to a 12-1 win over Bear Grass in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs.
Smith, who tossed a perfect game for the No. 1 seed out of the Atlantic Conference (17-7) in its first-round victory over Jones Senior on Tuesday, led the Seahawks on Friday by striking out seven batters in Southside’s five inning victory over the Bears (13-7), the No. 2 seed from the Tideland Conference.
Smith received plenty of run support by a scorching Seahawks’ lineup that produced 12 runs on 13 hits to help them advance to the third round of the playoffs where they will host Manteo.
“It was all about hits, hits hits,” Southside coach John Lohman said. “We hit the mess out of that ball. That’s the biggest difference. Once we got to the second inning, and got those eight runs, they had quit. It cut their heart out. They knew they would have a tough time trying to get back up.”
The Bears struck first in the top of the first as Lauren Webb led off with a single, and would be driven home by a Taylor Johnson double to right.
That would be the last time Bear Grass would hold a lead and score a run, as Smith scattered five Bears’ hits over the next four innings.
Southside answered back in the home half of the inning when D.D. Stanley (2-2, 2 RBIs) smashed an RBI single to score Kristen Ayers (3-3, 3 R) and tie the game at 1-1.
The Seahawks broke the game open in the second as they rallied for eight runs of Bears pitcher Lauren Webb.
Webb, the team’s lone starting senior, pitched well but was hit hard, and received little help from her defense, which committed five errors, three of which came in the second inning.
Kelli Hardison led off the inning by getting on base courtesy of a Bear Grass error, then was driven home by Becky Poole (1-3 RBI) to go up 2-1.
Shakera Lomax struck two batters later when her single brought home Poole. Stanley kept the hit parade marching as she followed up with an RBI single of her own to score Caitlyn Bogart and take a 4-1 advantage.
Mandi Harding made the second out of the inning when she popped out to Bear’s catcher Taylor Hollis, who made several key defensive plays, but the Seahawks kept the rally alive when Baily Hobbs (1-2 RBI) drew a bases loaded walk that expanded the lead to 5-1.
In her second at bat of the inning, Hardison drilled a line drive that ricocheted off the glove off of the Bears third baseman and rolled long enough for two more Seahawks’ runs to cross home plate.
Smith (2-3, 2 RBIs) put the finishing touches on the rally when she smashed a two-RBI single that would put Southside up 9-1.
Lohman said he was thrilled to see his team rally and string clutch hits together.
“Today, everybody was hitting,” Lohman said. “It’s been the top of the order, middle of the order, bottom of the order; it’s been sporadic like that. I always thought, ‘Boy if we can just get one game where everybody hit we would be in business.’”
Both teams would go scoreless in the third and fourth innings, but Southside would clinch the game in the fifth when Lomax (2-2, 4 RBIs) drilled an inside-the-park three-run home run to left field.
Bears’ coach Daniel Webb attributed his team’s second inning meltdown to inexperience.
“We are a young team. We start five freshmen and we made some freshmen errors in the second that really cost us,” Webb said. “Southside is a good team, but we are a lot better team than what we showed today.”