Zeroing in on region title
Lady Vikings stay unbeaten in 4-AAAAA
by Doug Gorman
The Northgate Lady Vikings inched closer to clinching the regular season Region 4-AAAAA softball title Tuesday afternoon with a convincing 12-0 victory over visiting Whitewater in four innings.
It was Northgate's fourth consecutive shutout and ninth of the season. Four of them have come against ranked opponents.
With the victory, Northgate improved its record to a 12-2 overall, and 7-0 in 4-AAAAA.
The Lady Vikings went into this week's action three-games ahead of second- place Starr's Mill in the win column.
On Tuesday, Northgate jumped all over the Lady Wildcats with six runs in the second inning to seize the momentum.
'It's always good to draw first blood,' said Northgate head coach Lisa Skelton. 'What I wanted to do is get some runs on the board early.'
Northgate sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning.
The Lady Vikings scored all but one of the second-inning runs with two outs.
The big blow in the inning came on Jenna Pealor's two-run homer. Carley Alderman drove in two runs during the second-inning explosion. Mackenzie McCloud also helped the Lady Vikings cause on her squeeze bunt that brought home Ebonee Echols.
Echols reached with a single and stole second in the inning. She went to third when Jordan Hamilton moved her over on an infield hit.
Northgate piled on two runs in the third and four in the fourth to end the game by the mercy rule.
Northgate outhit Whitewater 15-2 behind the solid pitching performance from McKenzie Peace. She finished with five strikeouts, including at least one in every inning.
The Lady Vi k ings increased their lead to 8-0 with two runs in the third inning. Echols led off the inning with a base hit and Hamilton reached on an error.
Jessica Houk's RBI single scored Echols for the seventh run of the game.
Hamilton later followed her home off a wild pitch.
Northgate turned to its bench the fourth inning and scored its final four runs with several reserves in the game. Jessica Cochran had the big blow off the bench with a triple and two RBIs. She later scored on Lauren DeLoach's RBI single.
'It was good we were able to get everybody into the game,' said Skelton. 'We built that lead early and that really helped.'
Alderman, Pealor, and Cochran each drove in two RBIs to pace the offense.
Pealor, Echols, Hamilton, McCloud each had two hits en route to the Lady Vikings' potent offensive attack.
Whitewater threatened early in the contest, but Peace and the Lady Vikings shut down attempts to score in the first three innings.
In the first, leadoff hitter Katie Cunnington and Kylie Suthers each worked the count full only two strikeout looking in the top of the first.
The Lady Wildcats put a runner in scoring position in the second inning when Brenna Bursett doubled, but Northgate got out of the inning when Pealor fielded the ball from third to help record the final out.
Whitewater also put three base runners on board in the third , but failed to score.
The Lady Vikings ended one of the Lady Wildcats scoring chances in the third when catcher Brittany Futral threw down to shortstop Casey Kent get Cunnington trying to steal second for the second out of the inning.
Peace ended the inning with her fourth strikeout.
She added one more strikeout in the fourth as part of the team's only 1-2-3 inning.
Northgate returns to action at Drew on Thursday.
Despite the comfortable lead in the region, Skelton knows the regular season doesn't matter.
'This is really just for seeding,' she said. 'We are going to see some of these teams again.'
LADY VIKINGS 12, LADY WILDCATS 0
Whitewater 000 0-0 Northgate 062 4-12 WP-McKenzie Peace HR-Jenna Pealor