Sports

October 6, 2013

Region softball: BriLeigh Baggett hot, but Northwest bats not

When needed, Northwest Whitfield High School softball coach Jason Brooker is confident the Lady Bruins will start hitting.

Until then, BriLeigh Baggett’s arm will have to do.

Baggett pitched a three-hit shutout, and North-west’s offense scraped together two runs to beat Pickens in the second round of Saturday’s Region 7-4A tournament at the Heritage Point softball complex in Dalton.

That game followed Pickens’ 5-4 first-round victory against Southeast Whitfield. Dalton also played two games, defeating Gilmer 6-4 but falling 11-2 to Heritage-Catoosa. Cass won 2-1 against LaFayette in the double-elimination tournament’s final first-round matchup but lost 4-1 against River Ridge in the second round. Ridge-land defeated Cedartown 5-4 in the last second-round game of the day.

The tournament continues on Monday and will run through the week.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Lady Bruins (25-4) looked like the hot-hitting team from last month that was averaging 8.86 runs per game after 23 games.

Colbie Thomas led off with a triple and later scored on Ashley Conner’s single.

Thomas finished 3-for-3 and twice more reached scoring position, but she didn’t receive another single from a teammate to bring her home. In the third inning, she started with a single and reached second base from Alyssa Ward’s sacrifice bunt but was stranded. In the fifth, she was the second of three straight singles to load the bases with no outs. However, Kari Henke helped Pickens (15-10) escape unscathed after three straight infield popups.

Northwest, the No. 2 seed from Sub-region B, stranded five runners in scoring position against Sub-region A No. 3 seed Pickens. Of the Lady Bruins’ eight hits against the Lady Dragons, Thomas’ first-inning triple was the only extra-base hit. Since a 9-1 loss to Calhoun on Sept. 16, Northwest has scored just 16 runs in the last six games, an average of 2.67 runs per contest.

“They will come through when we need them,” Brooker said. “Today was BriLeigh’s day.”

Yes, it was.

Baggett struck out four of the first five batters faced and finished with 11 strikeouts and no walks.

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