Northside’s doubleheader against Americus-Sumter shaped up to be a surprisingly tight showdown in the early goings. Once the Patriots offense found what it needed, that proved to be anything but the case.
After Northside started slow in its first game against Americus-Sumter on Thursday, the Patriots turned it on in the fourth inning to the tune of nine runs. From that point on, the Patriots never looked back.
Northside took Game 1 of its doubleheader against Americus-Sumter 10-1 then responded with an even more dominant 16-0 victory in Game 2. Northside's pair of wins means the team advances to the state playoffs.
Northside hit its stride in the fourth of the opening contest, piling up nine runs on six hits to put the first matchup completely out of reach. Seth Shadix started the scoring with a two-RBI double to the outfield. Kenny Harrell followed suit with a sacrifice fly, then Mack Williams delivered an RBI single to bring home one more.
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Williams' seeing-eye single through shortstop was just the beginning. Four more batters came to the plate and placed the game far out of reach for the Panthers.
The Patriots fell behind 1-0 in the first inning of the game after Americus-Sumter brought a run home on a sacrifice fly. Northside's Seth Shadix evened the score in the second, scoring after a throw to third base from the Americus-Sumter catch went awry.
The Game 1 victory was a case of the Patriots making noise midway through the affair. The same cannot be said about their second game of the doubleheader.
Northside opened the second game by taking advantage of errors while also producing disciplined at-bats, allowing the first four batters of the game to reach base. The fourth hitter, Shadix, came through yet again, hitting a double to center field that scored all three runs in front of him.
Shadix scored on Harrell’s sacrifice fly, leaving Americus-Sumter in a 4-0 hole before the Panthers even had time to blink. As bad as giving up so many runs without registering an out was for the home squad, the Patriots weren’t done there.
Two more Northside runs came across in the second via a fielding error and a flyout, leaving the score at 6-0. Those early runs, however, were nothing compared to the Patriots’ outburst in the fourth.
Ten runners came across the plate in an inning that completely eliminated what slim hope remained for the Panthers to force a third game on Friday. Shadix was again in on the action, hitting an RBI single in the inning. Waggener Davidson had the biggest hit in the scoring frenzy, knocking in three runners with an RBI double to left field that hooked off the bat and landed perfectly in fair territory.
Shadix ended the day with 7 RBIs. Between the two victories, the Patriots notched 26 runs and 18 hits.
Northside wasn't the only team from its subregion to punch a ticket to the state tournament.
Hardaway took care of Westover in their two games Thursday. The Hawks won the opener 9-0 before sealing the deal with an 11-0 victory. Columbus also officially advanced, beating Carver 13-2 and 6-0.
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports