Lady Seahawks top Granville Central to advance

Published 3:52 pm Thursday, May 11, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — Despite falling behind by two runs to Granville Central in the top of the first inning, Southside remained unfazed and scored four runs of its own in the bottom of the inning and didn’t look back in a 9-5 win in Wednesday’s first-round bout.

“They went out there and they fought. They didn’t get down. I think they were a little nervous there, so once they got themselves together there, they came back and played some good ball,” head coach Milton Ruffin said. “They stood up for the moment. I think they did a great job. That was a pretty good team today, and we stood up for the challenge.”

Offensively, there wasn’t much to separate the two teams. Southside only had one more hit than Granville Central. Lady Seahawk second baseman Morgan Dixon was the standout performer at the plate for either team, hitting 2-for-3 with three RBI, including a two-run double.

Centerfielder Danielle Ruffin also had an impactful game, going 3-for-4, while knocking in an RBI and scoring two runs. The Lady Panthers were led by centerfielder Logan Taylor. She was 2-for-3, making her the only Granville Central player to register multiple hits.

What separated the two teams was Southside’s aggressive base running. The Lady Seahawks stole four bases in Wednesday’s game, led by shortstop Hannah Paramore, who swiped two bags. Catcher Symone Ruffin and pinch runner Jazmine Carawan each stole a base.

In all four instances, the base stealer eventually came home to score. The aggressive approach on the paths also led to defensive errors from Granville Central. When Paramore stole her first base, in the second inning, she came home to score because the Lady Panthers twice missed the cut-off throw, allowing her to take third base and then home.

“I thought we did a great job of base running,” Ruffin said. “We want to make the other team make plays, so we had to run aggressively on the bases. Even if we get out, we got to try to make them make plays.”

But Granville Central wasn’t the only team to commit errors in the game. The Lady Panthers initially jumped out to a quick lead, thanks in large part to defensive mistakes by the Lady Seahawks. Granville Central’s first run was scored after a miscue on a throw to third when there was no one covering the base.

On the next at-bat, Taylor Freeman made it all the way to third on what should have been a routine groundout. Freeman was then brought home by a Courtney Conway base hit, pushing the Lady Panthers’ lead to 2-0 after the top of the first.

The Lady Seahawks didn’t take long to respond when they immediately scored four runs. Southside racked up four hits in the inning, half of its total for the game, while also drawing two walks. The offensive outburst was capped by a two-RBI double from Dixon.

The Lady Seahawks then increased their lead to five by scoring three runs over the next two innings. While the Lady Panthers scored three runs in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 7-5, it didn’t matter as the Lady Seahawks responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning and cruised to victory.

Southside will next head to Lake Waccamaw to play East Columbus on Friday at 6 p.m. in the second round of the 1-A state playoffs.