Johnson's clutch hit leads Whitewater past Creek, 4-2, and into region championship game

Thu, 10/09/2008 - 9:47pm
By: Kevin Wandra

Whitewater softball coach Stacey Smith knew it was just a matter of time before Kaitlyn Johnson broke out of her hitting slump.

Johnson ended her slump Thursday with her biggest hit of the season, a three-run, go-ahead double in the fifth inning that was the difference in Whitewater’s 4-2 victory over Sandy Creek in a semifinal game in the Region 5-AAAA tournament at Meade Field in Peachtree City.

Whitewater will play Creek again today for the region championship at 4 p.m. at Starr's Mill High School. If necessary, the "if" game will be played following that game.

Creek defeated Northgate 4-1 to advance to the title game.

Since Whitewater hasn't lost in the tournament, it will need to win only one of two games against Creek to claim the region championship.

Johnson’s clutch hit helped Whitewater avenge a 5-4 loss to Creek in the teams’ regular-season finale that secured the top seed in the tournament.

It also might have made Smith the happiest person in the state for at least one night.

“In all honesty, she has been working her way out of a slump,” Smith said of Johnson. “It was about time she was due for another big hit. Did I expect her to get a hit? Yes. Did I expect her to hit a line-drive rocket that scored three runs? No.

"But I was real proud of that. I was so excited I think I ran home with all three [runners]."

Johnson (1-for-3) wasn’t given much chance to hit in her two previous at-bats, putting down a sacrifice bunt each time.

Her teammates put her in position to be the hero of the game in the bottom of the fifth.

Working with a 1-0 lead, Creek pitcher Kayla Folds was on cruise control, limiting Whitewater to three hits through the first four innings.

Whitewater finally got to Folds in the fifth.

Nikki Montesanti led off with a walk, and, one out later, McKenzie Woody reached on an infield single.

Ashley Schwab followed with an RBI single in the gap between third base and short.

After Folds struck out Haley Richards swinging, Folds was one out away from escaping the jam. But she walked Jamie Saunders to load the bases and gave up Johnson’s bases-clearing, three-run double to left field that put Whitewater in front 4-1.

Hannah Braswell cut Whitewater’s lead in half in the sixth, hammering a first-pitch home run off Whitewater ace Whitney Toler high over the left-field fence.

“That thing had a stewardess on it; it got out of here,” Smith said. “I didn’t even see the pitch. Toler didn’t seem to be bothered by it, though.”

Smith was right.

Toler retired the next six batters she faced to close out the game.

She struck out 10, gave up five hits and three walks and hit one batter.

Creek took the first lead of the game in the third.

Meagan Sitton led off with a bloop single to left field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Candance Dunn.

Andrea Dalton followed with a bunt that scooted past Toler and first baseman Saunders and scored Sitton.

Creek was scheduled to play Northgate in the late game. More details to come tomorrow.

In an earlier game, Alexander defeated Starr’s Mill 9-1, ending the Lady Panthers’ season in the double-elimination tournament.

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