Allen connects for game-winning HR in walk off
by Doug Gorman
There’s nothing like a little drama to start a high school softball season.
Just moments after Northgate nearly gave away a game with two costly errors to Alexander in the top of the seventh inning on Wednesday, the Lady Vikings rallied
with three runs in their final at bat — capped off with Alyssa Allen’s homer — for a 5-3 walk-off victory that also opened play in the annual Georgia Dugout Club Tournament.
Down 3-2, Northgate’s 2014 lineup passed its first test of fortitude with flying colors. The team quickly put a runner into scoring position when Dani Mitchell walked and moved ahead on a passed ball and a sacrifice by Ebonee Echols before scoring the tying run on an error.
Jenna Pealor nearly ended the game with a triple with teammate Carly Alderman attempting to score on a relay that had her out at the plate following a hard collision. Yet with two outs, Allen managed to come through by ripping a game-ending two-run homer over the fence down the left-field line.
Her offensive heroics saved the day after Alexander took advantage of two errors by Northgate in the top of the seventh, pushing two runs across the plate for a 3-2 lead.
“We tried to give it away,” said Northgate head coach Lisa Skelton. “We had some fielding issues in the top of the seventh, and that is just not like us. We made some mistakes tonight, but all of those things are correctable.”
Heading into the seventh inning, Northgate appeared to be in control of the game after starting pitcher Kaitlin Bailey allowed one run over four innings before being relieved by teammate Hadlee Lewis.
Despite being victimized for two runs off the two Lady Viking errors in the seventh, Lewis managed two key strikeouts in the fifth and seventh innings while also keeping the Lady Cougars off the scoreboard during a previous three-inning stretch.
To Lewis’ credit, Northgate had an opportunity to put the game away. The miscues included a dropped third strike and an errant throw down to first to allow the go-ahead run to score.
“I thought both girls did a nice job out there for us,” Skelton said. “We are not going to overpower anybody, but they did what they had to do.”
Alexander and Northgate traded runs in the first, with senior Ebonee Echols able to tie the game after reached on a walk before stealing second and advancing off a fielder’s choice and an error.
The Lady Vikings then went ahead in the bottom of the fourth on a pair of doubles by Reagan Kinsch and Jessica Cochran, the latter for an RBI. Seven players each finished the game with a hit.
Northgate returns to Georgia Dugout Club tournament action tonight at home against Stockbridge.
LADY VIKINGS 5, LADY COUGARS 3
Alexander 100 000 2 — 3 8 2
Northgate 100 100 3 — 5 7 4
WP — Hadlee Lewis
HR —Alyssa Allen