Northwood’s Kara Hanning used North DeSoto’s decision to load the bases with a walk to slugger Jenna Rae Blythe as incentive.
Unperturbed, the senior stepped to the plate and slapped an infield single, scoring Kelsye Baker with the winning run in Northwood’s 6-5 eight-inning win over the Lady Griffins in a key District 1-4A matchup at the Lady Falcons’ field on Tuesday afternoon.
“I wasn’t insulted that they walked Jenna, but it made me want to hit the ball more – to prove that I wasn’t the lesser player they thought I was,” Hanning said. “When I made it to first, I was shocked and so happy that we won the game.”
Northwood (7-8, 1-1) got the victory despite giving up 14 hits and committing five errors in the windy contest. It was the inaugural meeting between the teams as district rivals.
“The last four or five games we have struggled defensively, but tonight we were able to at least limit what North DeSoto did,” Northwood coach Greg Swearengin said. “We didn’t let the errors keep escalating and just keep making them.”
The Lady Griffins (6-5, 1-1) had plenty of chances to win the game but couldn’t come up with the clutch hit. North DeSoto left 10 runners stranded behind the pitching of freshman Emma Callie Delafield.
“We got what we wanted at the end, but we just didn’t make a play,” North DeSoto coach Lori McFerren said. “We were trying to pitch around Blythe all night, but it didn’t work. We didn’t hit the ball well. We made some errors and we left too many on base.”
Blythe, who got the pitching win in relief, also slammed her 8th home run of the season in the third inning. The 3-run blast scored Baker, who had walked and Lindlee Hughes, who had reached on a soft single, to put Northwood in front 5-2.
But the Lady Griffins picked up a run in the fourth when Sami Walters scored on a double by Bayli Simon. North DeSoto tied the game at 5-5 in the sixth when Delafield and Emily Henderson reached on a singles and scored on a double by Simon and a Blythe throwing error.
Henderson led all hitters with a 4-for-5 night for North DeSoto, while Simon, Maddie Burchell, Katie May and Delafield had two hits apiece in a losing cause. Baker was the only Lady Falcon with more than one hit.