By Rob Grubbs
Sharpsburg, Ga. – The hits just kept on coming.
The Northgate Lady Vikings softball team (13-12) entered the late stages of game two last night down 3-1. A loss meant they would have to play a deciding game three on Thursday, but eight straight hits in the top of the sixth inning opened the game up, and the Lady Vikings completed the sweep with a 15-3 victory.
With the two-game sweep in the Region 2-AAAAA play-in tournament, the Lady Vikings move on to the state playoffs where they will face Mundy’s Mill next week.
Junior pitcher Olivia Cato was masterful in game one; she shut out the Lady Tigers on five hits and chalked up five strikeouts along the way.
Harris County threatened late in the game when they brought the tying run to the plate with one out. Undaunted, Cato struck out Lady Tiger Bella Owens, who left the box for first as if it were a dropped third strike. The runner on third broke for home and was easily tagged out by Natalie Heath to end the game.
The Lady Vikings scored the only run they would need in the second when Kyra Adcock scored on a Lady Tigers error in the second inning.
Aycock added a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to provide the final margin of 3-0.
Cato started game two in the circle but was replaced quickly by Aycock, who went the rest of the way. Aycock held the Lady Tigers in check until the offense arrived late. In 6 2/3 innings, she struck out 12 and only allowed one run.
The Lady Vikings pounded out 17 hits in game two, including three each from Hannah Smith, Madison Lumpp and Fran Lumpp. Freshman Jena Sechrest got a start in the second game and scored two runs on a huge bunt and a single.
Aycock finished 4-for-8 in both games and got the win from the circle in game two. Smith finished the doubleheader with a 5-for-8 performance.
Head Coach Lisa Skelton, who postponed her retirement at least a couple of weeks shared afterward, “We didn’t really strike out a lot tonight. If we keep that up, good things are going to happen. We have struggled all season with hitting; I knew once we started to get a taste to get timely hits that things would come around. It was a whole team effort tonight – that is what matters.”
On the pitching performance by Aycock, Skelton continued, “This season Kyra has been getting stronger and stronger. I felt very confident that when we needed her, she could do it, and she proved that tonight to everyone.”
It is on to the state playoffs for the Lady Vikings.Senior Kyra Aycock with the huge pitching performance in Game 2 to clinch the series.Senior Kyra Aycock with the huge pitching performance in Game 2 to clinch the series.