October 4, 2012

Region 7-4A softball: Dramatic win has Northwest a victory from crown

When Northwest Whitfield’s softball team, which has plenty of postseason experience, walks onto the field, there are several things it knows it can count on.

The Lady Bruins know pitcher Emily Boyd will do plenty to give her team every chance to win. They know the defense — for the most part — will be solid.

Now they also know they have a freshman who hits last in the batting order but can deliver a walk-off homer in a pressure-packed situation.

Jamison Payne delivered a two-out, first-pitch bomb over the left-center field fence in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Lady Bruins a 3-2 win over Heritage-Catoosa on Wednesday in the Region 7-4A tournament’s championship bracket final at Heritage Point. The win put them into today’s Region 7-4A championship, where they’ll face either Dalton or Heritage at 7 p.m.

It was the first homer for the freshman, who splits time with two other players in the designated hitter slot for Northwest (26-3), the top-ranked team in the Class 4A coaches poll.

“It was just all a blur,” Payne said. “When I was in the on-deck circle, I was really nervous, and then I got used to it and said, ‘Hey, I have been doing this all of my life. Just hit the ball.’”

She didn’t waste any time when she got in the box. She teed off on the first pitch from Heritage’s Taylor Moran, who had given up two runs in the second inning when her outfield misplayed a fly ball in the gap.

“We had noticed earlier in the game that she was coming at us with a first-ball fastball and more often than not we were laying off of it,” Northwest coach Jason Brooker said. “I told her to look for it. She did, and as soon as she hit it, I knew it was gone.”

The Lady Bruins had already clinched a spot in the state playoffs on Tuesday, but now they’ll go for their third region title in four seasons.

Heritage (23-5-1) falls into the consolation bracket final and will face Dalton at 5 p.m. today. The winner of that game will have to beat Northwest twice to win the region title. The Lady Bruins (26-3) are guaranteed no worse than the region’s No. 2 seed in the state playoffs, meaning they’ll host for at least the opening round when the 4A tournament starts next week.

If the Lady Bruins are beaten tonight, a deciding championship game would be played at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Payne got her shot in the seventh for one big reason — the first two batters of the inning recorded outs.

“We have been rotating girls in our No. 9 slot, and Bayley Marquardt is our best bunter, so I guess you could say that I was glad that the first two girls in the inning made outs,” Brooker said. “Early in the season, we knew that (Payne) had some real promise. Early on, she had trouble sitting back and was ahead of everything. Now, I just tell her to not get impatient.”

It was understandable for all of the hitters to be a little impatient with the work on the mound from Boyd and Moran. Boyd struck out 12 and gave up five hits, while Moran allowed just five hits as well, working more to her defense than Boyd.

“This is what we all expected when you play Emily,” said Heritage coach Steve Chattin, whose team finished fourth in the state tournament last year. “I thought we did a good job of taking advantage of some things, but we have to come up with another win if we want another chance against them.”

The victory was the third of the year for Northwest against Heritage.


Click here to sign up to receive text alerts on your team.

Text Only
  • DHS at Heritage 1 mlh.jpg Generally disappointed

    Dalton High School’s baseball team started the fifth inning of Friday’s crucial Sub-region 7B-4A game against Heritage-Catoosa with four consecutive hits.
    The only problem for the Catamounts was that was where their good hitting started and stopped.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prep roundup: Upset puts N. Murray in baseball playoffs

    Over the past few seasons, a late-season game with Sonoraville has been the deciding factor in whether the North Murray High School baseball team advanced to the state playoffs.

    April 18, 2014

  • Miller, Mariners off to NAIA title tournament

    Former Dalton High School golf standout Chase Miller is finishing his senior year at College of Coastal Georgia on a high note.

    April 18, 2014

  • NW at SE soccer   5  mlh.jpg On to the title match

    With around 15 minutes left in Thursday’s Region 7-4A semifinals match, Northwest Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team increased pressure on Southeast Whitfield with hopes of a tying goal.
    But the host Raiders were the ones getting the late goal.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • DHS tennis day 2 2 mlh.jpg Prep tennis: Perfect Colts claim title in Region 5-3A

    Coahulla Creek High School’s boys tennis team only needed three years to win its first region championship.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Heritage at DHS baseball 3 mlh.jpg Prep baseball: Cats must win today to clinch No. 2 seed

    Dalton High School’s baseball team led 6-5 against visiting Heritage-Catoosa as late as the fifth inning with a chance to clinch second place in Sub-region 7B-4A.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Region track and field: Richardson paces Murray Co. girls

    Katlyn Richardson has had an impressive junior season for Murray County High School’s girls track and field team.

    April 17, 2014

  • Colts boys have shot at 3A golf state sectional

    Coahulla Creek High School’s boys golf team finished second in the Region 5-3A tournament at Calhoun’s Fields Ferry Golf Course on Thursday, but now the Colts will have to wait to see if they will advance to the Class 2A state sectional tournament.

    April 17, 2014

  • CHS Lowe_Bartley 3 mlh.jpg Let’s keep playing

    Academic offerings played a big part in which college football program nabbed Christian Heritage School’s Nich Bartley, one of the area’s top players in 2013.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep roundup: Coahulla Creek hurts N. Murray’s playoff hopes

    One play in the fifth inning, during which the sun got in pitcher Braiden Jacobs’ eyes, seemed to encapsulate the entire season for Coahulla Creek High School’s baseball team.
    But it could be one rule misinterpretation that defines the season for North Murray.

    April 17, 2014