Northside softball took care of Mary Persons to open the Class 4A state tournament Wednesday, picking up 7-0 and 7-3 victories. The Lady Patriots are the only Region 1-4A team to advance after Cairo, Columbus and Hardaway all lost in the first round.
Hannah George got the start in the circle for Game 1 and left the Lady Bulldogs’ offense searching for answers. The senior pitched lights out once again, surrendering only three hits while recording 10 strikeouts in the victory.
While George put the Mary Persons hitters in their place, her offense went to work. Karlee Fuller’s sacrifice fly in the first inning gave Northside its first run before Raelee Weaver hit an RBI single in the next at-bat to make it a 2-0 contest .
Fuller wasn’t done, hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning for the game’s exclamation point. Fuller was 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs in the opening win.
The Lady Patriots carried over their strong start into the second game.
Mary Beth Cahalan’s sacrifice fly in the second coupled with Jada Chadwick’s RBI triple in the third gave Northside some breathing room early. Mary Persons cut the score to 4-3 entering the seventh before Northside cranked the offense back up, putting up three more runs thanks to RBI doubles from Weaver and Cahalan.
Weaver pitched 5.2 innings in Game 2, notching seven strikeouts in the process. She was also 2-for-3 with an RBI in the second win. Cahalan, meanwhile, was 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs in the series-clinching victory.
Northside hosts Woodward Academy in the second round doubleheader on Oct. 18. If the two teams split, they play a winner-take-all game on Oct. 19.
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports