Fourth-ranked Northgate rallies to defeat McIntosh

Tue, 08/21/2007 - 8:34pm
By: Kevin Wandra
The unranked McIntosh Lady Chiefs wanted nothing more Tuesday than to defeat one of the top teams in the state, the fourth-ranked Northgate Lady Vikings.

McIntosh gave Northgate a scare, but the Lady Vikings showed why they are ranked so high, taking advantage of a costly error in the top of the seventh inning that scored the game-winning run in a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in a Region 2-AAAA game in Peachtree City.

Down 2-0 in the sixth, the chances of McIntosh coming back against Northgate ace Paige Martin looked bleak. She had held McIntosh to two singles, keeping the Lady Chiefs off-balance at the plate with her repertoire of pitches.

Martin suddenly began to falter right away in the sixth, allowing a leadoff walk to McIntosh’s Amber Shaw and an RBI triple to Holly Houghton that sailed over the outstretched glove of center fielder Erin Gillis.

Jessica Conaway followed with a grounder to second that scored Houghton to tie the game at 2. It was a close play at the plate, but Houghton’s slide beat the throw just in time.

A single by Erin Justice and a passed ball that allowed both runners to move into scoring position gave McIntosh a prime opportunity to take the lead. But Martin recovered, striking out three consecutive batters to end the inning.

Northgate sealed the victory in the seventh with two timely hits.

The Lady Vikings’ Chelsea Sparks lined a one-out triple to center field and, one out later, Kate Kuzma, who had homered earlier in the game, hit a fly ball to center field that should have ended the inning. But the ball hit off the center fielder’s glove as she was on the run, and Sparks raced home to score the winning run.

Martin retired the side in the seventh for the complete-game victory. She struck out nine and gave up four hits, three walks and two runs in seven innings.

Northgate took the game’s first lead in the fifth on Sparks’ RBI single up the middle.

Kuzma’s solo home run over the left-center-field fence on the first pitch of the sixth broke up Morgan Kidd’s no-hitter and made it 2-0.

Kidd struck out 11 in seven innings in a losing effort.

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