Northside gets key hits to beat Southside

Published 11:55 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — A pair of Northside errors gave Southside two baserunners in the bottom of the third in Tuesday’s rivalry clash. The Lady Panthers recovered from the blunders to strand a Lady Seahawk in scoring position.

It was a pivotal point in what was a defensive standoff. Scoring chances were at a premium. Northside got the timely hits that eluded Southside in a 4-0 win.

“Errors get in your head, then sometimes you make more,” Northside coach Gil Robbins said. “We had a couple of times where errors got a little bit ahead of us, but we didn’t let them get in our brain and stay there. That’s important.”

Southside coach Milton Ruffin added, “We didn’t hit the ball well. We left a lot of runners on base there. I thought our defense was great through the fifth inning. The turning point was when I thought we had a double play.”

The Lady Panthers broke through first when they cashed in on a Southside miscue. Kaitlyn Spain reached on an error. She came around to score when Emori Smith belted an RBI double to left-centerfield.

The Lady Seahawks had nearly negated the threat. After a lineout to shortstop, Spain narrowly beat the throw back to first base, but later ended up being the first to touch home.

“You’ve got to overcome that,” Ruffin said. “But, overall, we left too many on base and, at home plate, you’ve got to swing the bat. You can’t afford to just stand there.”

Southside pitcher Alyssa McLawhorn fanned a batter then induced a groundout to quickly escape the inning, helping keep her side in the game. However, the offense couldn’t manufacture much, and Northside kept adding onto its lead.

The visitors doubled their advantage in the following frame. Whitney Cromwell belted a one-out single back up the middle. With two outs, they got another hit at a key juncture when Tiffany Oliver doubled to right-centerfield to plate Cromwell.

Southside only sent four batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth. Northside went into the seventh hoping to add some late insurance. It got just that in the form of two more runs. Rebekah Williams drew a lead-off walk, then advanced to second on a passed ball. Brooklyn Hudnell took her first pitch and lifted it to left field for a base-hit RBI, which Rylie Newman followed up with an RBI knock of her own.

“We were trying to build on what we had,” Robbins said. “We wound up in second-base position, so we could swing away and use power to move runners around. It worked well for us.”

With the Lady Seahawks needing four runs and only three outs to work with, Danielle Ruffin singled to shallow left field, but Rachel Lang fanned two as she completed the shutout.