High School Softball
Lady Vikings look to shake off rough end to region schedule
by Doug Gorman
The Northgate Lady Vikings softball team (21-5-1) spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in the Class AAAAA coaches' poll only to watch a No. 1 seed from Region 4-AAAAA slip away at the worst moment possible.
While Northgate stood two outs away from a region title on Thursday, the Lady Mustangs rallied back to close Region 4-AAAAA tournament with backto- back wins, the first in nine innings and the latter a convincing 6 - 0 shutout where t he L ady Vikings played their worst defensive game of the year by committing six errors.
The hope is that Northgate can right itself in time over a pair of state-playoff series starting today in order to set up another trip to the Elite 8 in Columbus.
The Lady Vikings take the first step today when it opens the best-of-three series at home against visiting Greenbrier, the No. 3 finisher from Region 2-AAAAA.
It begins with a doubleheader today starting at 5 p.m.
The 6-0 loss to Ola last Friday was the first time Northgate has been shut out in 2013. The team finished with just four hits in an atypical performance.
Most of the season, it was Northgate dominating its opponents both with the bats and gloves.
The Lady Vikings season has included an 18-game win streak that only ended due to a 6-6 tie against Houston County when the two teams elected not to finish the game because of rain during long streak without a loss.
Behind the pitching of McKenzie Peace, Northgate also finished the year with 10 shutouts. Haley Flood stepped in throughout the year as the team's second pitcher.
Before meeting up with Ola in the final two games, Northgate knocked off Union Grove in the region tournament.
The Lady Vikings are also getting plenty of offensive punch from several players, including junior Jenna Pealor who ripped several home runs this year. Northgate's Brenna Skalski, Casey Kent, Carly Alderman, Emily Heath and junior Ebonee Echols also helped produce runs with both their bats and speed on the base paths throughout the year. Greenbrier won nine games in a row midway through the season, but lost its last two contests of the year when it fell to Houston County and Jones County.