Northside nabs 1-0 senior-night win against Southside

Published 9:07 pm Thursday, May 4, 2017

PINETOWN — Northside went into its final regular-season game Thursday against Southside hoping to pick up some more steam heading into the postseason while sending off seniors Rachel Lang and Tiffany Oliver on a high note.

The game between the two Beaufort County rivals proved to be a defensive standoff, but the Lady Panthers were able to scratch together the one run needed to take the 1-0 victory.

After retiring the Lady Seahawks in order for the third-straight inning, Savannah Slade and Whitney Cromwell — both juniors with one more year to go before their own senior night — led off the bottom of the fourth with consecutive base hits. Lang’s shot to right field got a bit too much air under it, but was enough of an opening to score Slade from third.

“That’s a good thing. The truth of the matter is, if you can win one-run games, that’s second, third, fourth-round (of the playoffs) stuff,” Northside coach Gil Robbins said. “That’s where we want to be. They gave us one heck of a game, and that’s the bottom line. There was hardly a mistake on either side.”

The game appeared as if it would take a much more offensive direction early on. Symone Ruffin and Hannah Paramore kicked things off with back-to-back bunt singles to give Southside two runners with no outs. Lang, who pitched a shutout on her senior night, responded by striking out consecutive batters and inducing a groundout to Slade at shortstop.

“They kept playing,” Southside coach Milton Ruffin said, adding that he felt like his team didn’t let that first inning be too much of a momentum shifter. “They stood up to the task and did a good job.”

Hannah Paramore gets the bat on the ball for a bunt in the first inning. Paramore and Symone Ruffin led off with consecutive bunt singles, but couldn’t get any runners home.

Robbins added, “Rachel stood in there and did a heck of a job. When we had to have the out at the plate, we got the out at the plate. … I felt like that was the first in a series of waves. It’s always my belief that if you take the first wave, the second one is easier.”

Northside got its chances to strike in the early going, too. Rylie Newman reached on a bunt in the first. The speedy Lady Panther turned the corner when she was alerted no one was covering second base, but she was promptly tagged out. Rebekah Williams also led off the third with a double to right field, but Southside pitcher Alyssa McLawhorn picked up a strikeout sandwiched between a pair of fly balls.

After putting two on right out of the gate, Southside’s offense struggled to manufacture much until the last minute. Northside’s defense retired the Lady Seahawks in order in each following inning until Maggie Craig knocked a one-out single in the top of the seventh.