Harris County bows out of state softball tourney with loss to Northgate

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerOctober 24, 2013 

HAMILTON, Ga. -- Harris County held an early lead over visiting Northgate in all three games of their GHSA Class AAAAA second-round series. But Thursday afternoon, for the second time in the series, the Lady Tigers could not hold on, falling 10-6 and ending the Tigers one win short of the Elite 8.

"I told them to be proud of their accomplishments," Harris County coach Brook Zuerner said she told her players. "Did we make it to the end? No, but we made it a lot further than many teams in the state of Georgia made it. It leaves us room to grow and a place to go next year."

The Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the first when Bren

na Skalski reached on a bunt single and scored on Emily Heath's ground out.

The Tigers answered in the bottom of the inning when Julia Clark walked and reached second on a wild pitch. Kayla Cotton drove in Clark with a single and went to second on the throw home. Taylor Williams drove in Cotton for a 2-1 lead.

Jessica Houk hit a solo homer to lead off the top of the second tying the game at 2-2.

In the bottom of the second, Harris County went ahead 4-2 when Abby White singled and Abbey Thomason reached on an error. Trinity Smith drove in both runners with a double.

The Tigers failed to score in innings three through five allowing the Vikings to creep closer and take its first lead at 5-4 in the top of the fifth.

"They seemed to adjust at the plate a little faster than we were able to," Zuerner said. "We had some opportunities to score and we didn't score and that always bites you in the butt when you don't capitalize on every opportunity to score."

Northgate got three straight one-out singles from Casey Kent, Jessica Houk and Mackenzie McCloud, with McCloud's scoring Kent. Skalski's two-out single scored Houk for the lead.

In the top of the sixth, a Tiger error help put the game away for the Vikings.

With two outs and no one on, Ebonee Echols reached on an error by White. Kent followed with a single. Houk doubled driving in Echols and Kent. Brittany Futral singled to drive in Houk for an 8-4 lead.

Williams walked with one out in the bottom of the sixth ahead of Sara Kate Jenkins, who hit a 2-run home run to pull the Tigers to within 8-6. White and Smith each reached on infield singles, but Carson Anderson struck out in a 7-pitch at bat to end the threat.

Northgate added two more in the top of the seventh to stretch the lead to 10-6.

Erin Dansby singled with one out in the bottom of the seventh and Williams walked with two outs ahead of Jenkins. Jenkins took Viking pitcher McKenzie Peace to a 2-2 count before striking out to end the game.

Thursday at Harris County

Northgate 110 123 2--10 18 1

Harris County 220 002 0--6 9 4

WP- McKenzie Peace. LP- Kayla Cotton. Leading hitters- N-Brenna Skalski 3-5,2 RBI, 2 Runs, Casey Kent 4-5, RBI, 2 Runs, Jessica Houk 3-5, 3 Runs, 3 RBI, HR, Mackenzie McCloud 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 Runs. H- Trinity Smith 2-3, 2 RBI, Abby White 2-3 Run, Erin Dansby 2-4, 2B, Sara Kate jenkins 1-4, HR, 2 RBI

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