High School Softball
Lady Vikings forced to deciding game today by Ola
STOCKBRIDGE - Northgate's Region 4-AAAAA championship hopes were put on hold by a neversay- die Ola softball team on Thursday here at Moseley Park with the Lady Vikings three outs away from celebrating a title.
Top-ranked Northgate and No. 2 Ola will now play for the third time in as many days following a 5-4 win by the Lady Mustangs in nine innings. The loss was only the fourth of the season for the Lady Vikings, now 21-4-1 overall.
The teams will play at 6 p.m., with the region trophy and a No. 1 seed in next week's Class AAAAA state tournament going to the winner.
After storming back for three runs in the bottom of the sixth, Northgate seemed poised to celebrate early, especially after senior outfielder Ebonee Echols made a diving catch in left field for the first out of the seventh inning.
But a double by Ola's Demi Hammond jump-started a two-run rally that tied the game as the Lady Mustangs managed five hits off Northgate starting pitcher McKenzie Peace, who had thrown over 110 pitches to that point of the game.
Peace had been dominating through five innings while holding Ola without a run or a hit as Northgate built a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth on Emily Heath's two-out RBI single that scored Echols.
One inning after breaking up Peace's no-hit bid, Ola struck for two runs in the top of the sixth after Bobbie Morris and Jordan Doggett led off with back-to-back singles. While able to pick up a pair of outs starting on a sacrifice, Savannah McHellon's RBI double put the Lady Mustangs up 2-1.
Northgate, however, stormed back with three runs of its own to quickly retake the lead on a rally that started with Carly Alderman's leadoff double. McHelton's error from the mound kept runners on first and third before Alderman scored off a wild pitch.
After moving to second, pinch runner Myriah Render advanced again on a sacrifice bunt by Casey Kent and eventually scored on another wild pitch to put Northgate back ahead 3-2.
Echols then kept the rally alive with a triple and scored on Heath's RBI groundout for a 4-2 lead.
Ola plated the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth in the international tiebreaker to force a deciding game for the region championship.
It'll mean the third meeting in as many days for the Lady Vikings and Lady Mustangs, who initially faced off in the winner's bracket semifinals in a game won by Northgate 3-2.