Thursday’s high school softball game between Dalton and Northwest Whitfield was on the Lady Catamounts’ field.
But the Lady Bruins still received all the good bounces.
Northwest center fielder Colbie Thomas’ routine single to begin the third inning became a triple when the fringe of the outfield grass caused the ball to hop well over Dalton outfielder Hannah Jones. The Lady Bruins went on to score seven runs in the inning and eventually won 12-0 in a mercy-rule shortened five-inning game.
“It’s not your textbook triple, but we’ll take it,” Northwest coach Jason Brooker said.
After Thomas’ triple, second baseman Hannah Godfrey’s infield single scored the game’s first run. Catcher Bayli Cruse followed with an RBI double, and left fielder Macy Weeks had a sacrifice fly two batters later. BriLeigh Baggett, Northwest’s pitcher, helped herself with an RBI single later in the inning, and right fielder Alyssa Ward followed with another RBI single.
This brought Thomas back to the plate, and she hit her second triple of the inning, driving in two more runs.
“When there are runners on, my job is to move them over or in,” Thomas said. “That’s what everybody is supposed to do.”
In the fifth inning, Godfrey had an RBI single, Cruse launched a two-run home run to center field and Weeks added a two-run homer to left field.
The Lady Bruins (16-2, 5-1 Sub-region 7B-4A) had 17 hits. Thomas’ triple was just the third, but Dalton (6-12, 1-5) coach Stacy Parker believes it “changed the complexion of the game.” He also thinks his team is getting close to where it needs to be.
“For the first two innings, we’re doing fine,” Parker said. “If we can ever stop the big inning, then we’re doing OK.”
For two innings, Dalton pitcher Alli Swinford held Northwest scoreless.
But Baggett did that the entire way.
The junior struck out the first four batters she faced, finished with eight strikeouts and only allowed two hits. Both came in the second inning, when she escaped a second-and-third, two-out jam.
The win came two days after the Lady Bruins lost to fellow sub-region juggernaut Heritage-Catoosa.
“Coming off a region loss, I wondered how we’d respond to that,” Brooker said. “We have a lot of girls who have played four years, and they did what they were supposed to do at the plate.”
Swinford pitched 3 2/3 innings, with her day split around Carson Roberts’ 1 1/3 inning of work through the fourth and into the fifth.