Seahawks keep title hopes alive|Will battle Panthers for Conference crown

Published 3:02 pm Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sports Writer

CHOCOWINITY — Williamston headed into its matchup with Southside needing only one more win to dethrone the back-to-back conference champions and stay ahead of Northside in the three-team race to win the newly formed Four Rivers Conference title.
While the Tigers arrived in the driver’s seat, they left having to take a backseat to the Panthers and Seahawks as freshman sensation Savannah Mumford silenced Williamston’s big bats to lead Southside to a 6-2 victory on Wednesday.
The Seahawks’ victory ups their conference record to 11-2, and sets the stage for a winner-take-all showdown today when they play at Northside (11-2) in the final game of the regular season.
Led by Mumford, who struckout nine batters and held a potent Tigers’ lineup to three hits, Southside played well in all phases of the game as the defense made several big plays and the offense provided timely hits.
“It was definitely a complete game,” Southside coach John Lohman said. “You know you are going to get a good night out of Savannah, but when you can give her a four or five run cushion that just relaxes everybody.”
Williamston (10-3) was the first to get on the board, as leadoff hitter Dasia Moore roped a triple to start the game and would later score on a Cassie Harrell fielder’s choice grounder to second to take a 1-0 lead.
Southside countered in the home half of the inning when Shakeria Lomax reached base with a single and was joined on the diamond by Sondra Sparks, who drew a walk of Williamston starter Harris Shepherd.
With two on and one out, cleanup hitter Valerie Ruffin drilled a Shepherd pitch to left-center scoring both Lomax and Sparks to recapture the lead.
Shepherd would pitch her way out of the inning, but the damage was done. Both pitchers settled down after the first inning, as each proceeded to retire 10 straight batters.
Southside struck again in the fourth Marlin Edwards knocked an RBI single that scored to Kristen Ayers and extend the lead to 3-1.
Ayers, who recently signed on to play volleyball at Louisburg CC, went 1-3 and robbed Heather Jackson of single late in the game with an over the shoulder catch from her shortstop position.
The Seahawks broke the game open in the fifth when they rallied for four runs on the strength of consecutive RBI singles by Sparks, Ruffin and Macy Paramore, the No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in the lineup.
That trio was on fire Wednesday as it went a combined 4-for-10 with four RBIs.
On the flip side, the heart of the Tigers’ order could not catch up to Mumford and went 0-8 with one RBI.
“We just did not lay off the rise and the curveballs,” Williamston coach Damon Hayes said. “That’s one of the adjustments we tried to make. … We just swung at a lot of bad pitches.”
The Tigers will finish out their regular season today on the road against Roanoke.
Williamston 100 010 0 — 2 3 2
Southside 200 140 X — 6 10 0
WP: Savannah Mumford; LP: Harris Shepherd
Hitters: W — Dasia Moore 1-3 (3B, R), Kelly Drew 1-3, Rachel Baker 1-3; S — Savannah Mumford 2-4 (R), Shakeria Lomax 1-4 (R), Sondra Sparks 1-3 (RBI), Valerie Ruffin 2-4 (3B, 3 RBI), Macy Paramore 1-3 (RBI), Kristen Ayers 1-3 (R), Bailey Hobbs 1-3, Marlin Edwards 1-3 (RBI).