Shortly after a 30-minute rain delay, North Hall’s Megan Rogers finished the game just as she started, with a strikeout.
Rogers’ 10th strikeout of the game was even more impressive seeing that the tying run was at the plate.
“Megan had a very competitive effort,” North Hall coach Bruce King said after his team’s 3-1 win over Chestatee on Tuesday at North Hall. “She also got some help and our team effort was very competitive.”
With both teams starting their aces, King knew that North Hall (1-0, 1-0 Region 7-AAA) would have to scrap out a win.
“We knew we were going to have to get to her early,” King said of Chestatee starter Stephanie Ward, who struck out six and surrendered only one earned run. “Chestatee’s pitcher was nails.”
After a scoreless first inning, the Lady Trojans got to Ward in the second, taking advantage of three Chestatee (2-5, 0-1) errors to score two runs.
The big hit of the inning came off the bat of Tanya Howington, who lined a 2-2 pitch to center field that scored Mallory Rich. Howington, who scored on an error later in the second, finished the game 2-for-3 with an RBI.
“That one inning did us in,” Chestatee coach Niki Keith said.
So too did the pitching of Rogers, who struck out seven of the first nine batters she faced before running into a bit of trouble in the fourth inning.
Ashley Payne started things off with Chestatee’s first hit and Erin Clifford followed with an infield single to give the Lady War Eagles two on with no one out.
Rogers managed to get the next two hitters out, but the Lady War Eagles scored a run on a North Hall error that would have been the third out of the inning. Despite not tying the game, Keith was glad her players took her advice.
“I just told them to have better pitch selection at the plate,” Keith said. “I told them to look for a pitch to hit and to focus on not striking out.”
That lone run didn’t faze the Lady Trojans, who manufactured an insurance run in the home half of the fifth on a Amber Youngblood infield single that scored Taylor Hutchings.
“We tried to tell the girls not to panic,” King said. “I though they did a very good job of doing just that.”
North Hall plays host to East Hall at 5:55 p.m. Thursday. Chestatee plays host to Johnson at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.