Prep Softball: Northgate rallies, then holds off Newnan, 3-2
By DOUG GORMAN
The Northgate Lady Vikings put their rally caps on Wednesday night at home en route to a 3-2 non-region victory over county rival Newnan in the last game of the regular season for both clubs.
After spotting Newnan two runs in the third inning, Northgate, the No.1-ranked team in Class AAAAA, poked away at the Lady Cougar lead with a run in the bottom of the third and two more in the fourth to secure the victory.
The Lady Vikings head into next week’s Region 4-AAAAA Tournament with a 21-5 record and with its No.1 ranking in the Georgia Dugout Club Coaches’ poll.
Newnan finishes the regular season with a 16-10 record.
Northgate coach Lisa Skelton said closing out the regular season against a quality opponent should help the Lady Vikings get ready for the playoffs.
“I always like playing a game either against Newnan or East Coweta because it gets us ready for the postseason,” Skelton said. “It gives us an opportunity to work different situations.”
Newnan coach Carrie Gilmore is optimistic about the her team’s playoff hopes despite the loss.
“We have won seven of our last eight games,” Gilmore said. “We are headed in the right direction.
(To view photos from Wednesday's game, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports / Softball to view the Photo Gallery.)
Newnan’s winning streak includes a 19-2 victory over Langston Hughes on Tuesday.
The regular-season finale came down to a pitchers’ dual between Newnan starter Tori Loveless and Northgate’s McKenzie Peace.
Loveless pitched all six innings for the Lady Cougars, striking out a batter and giving up nine hits. Peace worked through the sixth inning striking out four Newnan batters and walking none in a four hitter.
Newnan jumped on the scoreboard first when Lindsay Stewart started the third-inning fireworks by getting hit by a pitch. One batter later, Lauren Ferguson reached on an error that sent Stewart all the way to third.
Sydney Garmany then executed a perfect squeeze bunt to bring Stewart in for the first run of the game. Shania Colton then drove in Ferguson with a sacrifice fly for the Lady Cougars last run of the game.
Northgate cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning with a two-out rally started by the top of the order. Brenna Skalski singled with the first hit of the inning and came around to score when Ebonee Echols drove her in with an RBI double.
The Lady Vikings took the lead for good with two more runs in the fourth inning.
A single by Jenna Proctor and a Casey Kent walk set the table for MacKenzie McCloud, who drove both runs in with her single.
Peace struck out two Newnan batters in the fifth while shutting down the Lady Cougars in order.
Newnan’s best chance for a rally came in the sixth inning when Chaycie Goggins ripped a one-out double but was left stranded as the game ended with two straight outs.
Northgate enters their region tournament as the top seed and will host the No. 9, No. 10 and No. 11 seeds on Monday. The Lady Vikings will play one game on Monday at 8. The winner will advance to Lovejoy Park in Clayton County starting Tuesday.
The Lady Cougars begin their Region 3-AAAAAA Tournament next Tuesday against Douglas County starting at 4:30. All games in the double elimination tournament will be played a East Coweta.
Northgate 8, Newnan 0 (junior varsity)
The Northgate junior varsity scored five runs in the first inning to jump start the offense, and that was all they needed in rolling to an 8-0 victory over the Lady Cougars.
Northgate out-hit Newnan 8-3.
Gabby Browne led the Lady Vikings with two hits and two RBIs. Teammates Jessica Cochran, Jordan Veal, Kelsey Williston, Dani Mitchell and Carly Alderman each had an RBI.
Leslie Davis had two hits for Newnan.