Northgate pitcher blanks Ola

Houk drives in game-winner in 7th

It might be early, but the Northgate’s softball team is sitting in the Region 4-AAAAA driver’s seat with its third straight victory to open the 2013 season.

Senior McKenzie Peace allowed no runs on just four hits and teammate Jessica Houk plated the eventual game-winner in the top of the seventh as the Lady Vikings held off Ola 1-0 to stay undefeated in region play.

Scoreless through six full innings of play, Northgate manufactured the only run Peace needed just when it looked as if extra-innings loomed. After leadoff hitter Jenna Pealor singled, Peace’s bunt in the seventh inning kept a rally alive and eventually allowed pinch runner Jessica Cochran to make it all the way home on singles by Casey Kent and Houk.

Two of Northgate’s three Region 3-AAAAA victories have now come against teams expected to be in the top-10 when state polls are first released.

In addition to beating Ola, Northgate also earned a 2-0 victory over defending state champion Union Grove last week.

The Lady Vikings improved their overall record to 7-2 overall and 3-0 in 4-AAAAA. Ola fell to 8-2 overall and 1-1 in the region.

Northgate outhit Ola 5-4 en route to the victory. Peace threw 27 of her first 31 pitches for strikes ended the game with one strikeout while Ola starter Savannah McHellon had two in a tough-luck loss.

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