Northgate makes lone hit count in comeback win over East Coweta
by Doug Gorman
The Northgate Lady Vikings spotted visiting East Coweta a two-run lead before rallying back for a 3-2 win Wednesday night at home.
Northgate's victory came on a night when it managed just one hit, but took advantage of leadoff walks and four errors by the Lady Indians to help spark the Lady Vikings' rally.
With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Ebonee Echols connected with the Lady Vikings' only base hit to drive in Lauren Deloach, who entered the game as a pinch hitter and drew a walk to put the eventual game-winning run aboard.
Northgate pitcher McKenzie Peace then ret i red the side in order in the top of the seventh to seal the victory. 'I wish we were a little more focused at the beginning of the game,' Northgate head coach Lisa Skelton said. 'It wasn't our best performance, but I am proud of the fact that even when we are not playing our best, and we can come from behind.'
Despite the loss, East Coweta pitcher Morgan Goree allowed just one hit and struck out five.
Al l of Northgate's runs came after the Lady Indians' put leadoff hitters on base. The victory pushed the Lady Vikings record to 18-2 and closed out their regular season on a 16-game winning streak.
It was the Lady Vikings' second win this against East Coweta. When the two teams played earlier this year, Northgate won 6-0.
The loss dropped East Coweta's record to 19-7.
Lady Indians head coach Franklin Deloach knows his team played well enough to win.
'Everybody wants to win,' he said. 'As you peel back some things, we are getting better. We are definitely better than we were at the beginning of the year. Northgate only has two losses, so I feel like they are the frontrunners at the Class AAAAA tournament.'
The Lady Indians lost the non-region contest despite outhitting the Lady Vikings 6-1. East Coweta took control of the game early thanks to the play of Shemiah Sanchez, who drove in both Lady Indians runs with RBI singles in the first and third innings.
The Lady Indians quickly got things started when Kia Smith led off the game with a walk, and stole second to set up Sanchez's first RBI single.
East Coweta's junior shortstop struck again for a clutch hit the top of the third driving home Mekhia Freeman, who walked and also stole second.
East Coweta also benefitted from sacrifice bunts by Freeman and and Katey Lynch to move the runners into scoring position.
The Lady Vikings whittled their way back with single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings to kept their winning streak going.
Jordan Hamilton's leadoff walk helped cut the lead to 2-1. Hamilton went to second on McKenzie McCloud's bunt and then came home when Brenna Skalski reached on an error.
Hamilton also scored the tying run in the bottom of the fifth when she reached on one of East Coweta's four errors.
After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a grounder, Hamilton tied the game when she raced on on a wild pitch to score her second run of the game. Northgate will host the No. 8 seed from next Tuesday when the Region 4-AAAAAA tournament begins. From there, the event will be moved to Mosley Park in Stockbridge next Wednesday. The top four seeds from the region even advance to the Class AAAAA state tournament for two rounds of a bestof- three series prior to the Elite 8 in Columbus.
East Coweta continues to prepare for next week's Region 3-AAAAAA tournament hosted by No. 1 seed Newnan.
Before the game, the two teams gave checks totalling more than $1,600 to Cancer Treatment Center Hospital and Pink Posse.
Proceeds were generated from the game between the two teams back on Sept. 9 at East Coweta.
LADY VIKINGS 3, LADY INDIANS 2
East Coweta 101 000 0-264 Northgate 001 011 X-311 WP - McKenzie Peace LP - Morgan Goree