Defensive fielding of her position isn’t the main reason that Courtney Gearin is North Hall High’s workhorse in the pitching circle, but it certainly did help ensure a 4-1 win against Hart County on Wednesday in pool play of the North Fall Classic at North Hall.
Leading 4-1 with a runner at first and one out in the seventh, Gearin speared a sharp line drive right back at the circle off the bat off Hart County’s Jennifer Gray to put a damper on the Lady Bulldogs’ comeback attempt.
“It (the catch) might have been a little bit of luck,” Gearin said.
What the Lady Trojans (6-9, 2-4 Region 8A-AAA) count on Gearin for most is her ability to throw abundant innings without showing any signs of fatigue. Against Hart County, she was true to form by throwing a complete game with three strikeouts and only three hits allowed.
Even though the Lady Bulldogs started the seventh with a single from Ali Roberson, Gearin, a junior, was there for the catch on the other end of the line drive, followed by another play out of the pitcher’s circle on a ground ball to end the game. As the Region 8-AAA tournament approaches, North Hall coach Bruce King is going to count on the same number of innings out of Gearin, who tossed 11 shutout innings in the Shaw Invitational last weekend in Columbus.
“Courtney pitched great tonight and our defense is really looking good,” King said.
Tied 1-1 against Hart County, the Lady Trojans broke the game open with three runs in the top of the seventh. Lead off hitter Jordyn Porter started the inning with a double that hit off the center fielder’s glove, and Tanya Howington reached base on a throwing error to give North Hall runners on the corners with no outs.
Danielle Newbern, who followed that with a sharp single down the third base line that scored both runs, came in to score on a Melissa Adams single to give the Lady Trojans a 4-1 lead.
“This makes two days in a row where we’ve come through with excellent hitting, timely hitting,” King said, referring to Tuesday’s game against Franklin County. “That’s a credit to how hard our girls play.”
Trailing 1-0 in the fifth inning, North Hall tied the score with a Tiffany Hamilton double to center field that hit off the outfielder’s glove, scoring Ellie Forrester from third. Forrester reached base with a lead-off single and went to second with no one on the base for the throw down.
In the nightcap, North Hall defeated Mount Pisgah 7-6. Porter, Whitney Swing, Carly DeLong and Forrester each had hits for the Lady Trojans. DeLong pitched four innings in relief to earn the victory for North Hall.
North Hall and Hart County return to action in bracket play Saturday at either North Hall or North Georgia College & State University.