The Northside softball team kept its state championship hopes alive Friday afternoon with a no-hitter from Haley Love and a pair of RBIs from Karson King in a 2-0 victory over West Laurens at the GHSA Class AAA state finals at South Commons.
Love struck out seven batters and walked none. Northside’s defense backed up Love by accounting for at least one out in each inning, and left fielder Maddy Sievers made a diving catch to secure the win and keep the no-hitter intact.
“We told ourselves we weren’t going to lose this game,” Love said. “We weren’t going to let this be the end of the season for us. Now we just have to keep that up.”
The game eliminated West Laurens and put Northside into a game against Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe at 5 p.m. Friday.
Northside came out in the bottom of the third inning after a 20-minute weather delay and quickly went down two outs on a double play that turned outs on a pop-up bunt to the first baseman and a tag at first. The Patriots’ Taylor Caldwell got on next with a single to left field with the first base hit of the game and then stole second, and King brought her in on the next at-bat with a low shot to center field. West Laurens pitcher Faith Flanders loaded the bases with two consecutive walks before reliever Mallory Riner came in to strike out Laney Brittingham to finish the inning.
Northside got a cushion run in the bottom of the fifth when Casey Googe got on with a double down the left-field line, moved to third on a Caldwell bunt and came home on King’s sacrifice fly to left field.
“That run was big for us,” King said. “We’ve been waiting to start getting some hits and to have Casey get a double and then Taylor get on like they did, that was big for us.”
Friday at South CommonsWest Laurens 000 000 0 —0 0 1Northside 001 010 x —2 5 1WP— Haley Love (13-12). LP— Faith Flanders. Hitting leaders— West Laurens — NA. Northside — Casey Googe 1-3, 2B, R; Taylor Caldwell 2-3, 2-1B, R, 2S; King 1-1, 2RBI, S. Records— West Laurens 25-9; Northside 18-13. Next— Northside vs. Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, 5 p.m. Friday.