Northmor was unable to shrug off a sluggish start at the plate in its 9-5 defeat at the hands of Amanda Clearcreek in a sectional matchup on the Lady Knights home field. Amanda never lost the lead, taking advantage of dinks and dunks, along with some defensive misplays by the Lady Knights on its way to a sectional title.
It was Northmor’s first game in the last week and the layoff had an impact on the teams’ performance. “We were talking about that between innings, we can’t go five, six seven days without playing a game,” said Northmor head coach Russ Montgomery, in regard to the team’s inactivity.
Amanda took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning after the first three runners reached base. The Lady Aces made it 2-0 in the second inning on a fielding error at first base.
Three runs in the fourth inning gave Amanda a 5-0 lead and a probable sectional title.
Northmor fought back with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI single off the bat of Karlee Carroll. The Lady Knights made it even more interesting in the bottom of the fifth inning.
After pitcher, Shelbey Lilly sent the Lady Aces down in order in the top of the inning; Northmor plated three runs to pull to within a run of the lead, 4-5. Andrea Weis had two RBI and Cheyenne Shelton one.
That was a close as the Lady Knight would get. The top of the sixth inning proved to be the end of Northmor’s season. Lilly gave up back-to-back singles to open the inning; it looked like she was going to get out of the jam when she got the next two hitters out on ground balls.
With runners on second and third and two outs Coach Montgomery intentionally walked Kaitlyn Hines to load the bases and set up a force play at any base. The strategy backfired when Courtney Bussett hit a shallow fly ball that got past the right fielder, allowing all three base runners to score.
Montgomery felt he made the right decision. “That was unfortunate, Lilly made a great pitch and she (Bussett) hits a little dinker down the right field line.”
Amanda tacked on another run in the seventh inning to take a commanding 9-4 lead into the last inning of the game.
The Lady Knights looked as if they had something going when they scored a run following a leadoff single from pinch hitter, Deanna Delaney and RBI double by Shelton. That was not enough as the Lady Aces held on for the win.
Montgomery was pleased with the team’s effort and frustrated with early ineffectiveness at the plate. “The girls kept fighting, we scored runs, I wish our bats would have woken up a little earlier than the fourth inning.”
The coach added “The girls have played really good defense all year and our bats were better all season than tonight; that’s the name of the game right there.”
Northmor finishes its season 7-5 in the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference Blue Division and 14-8 overall.
Connect with Tanchevski on Twitter at @mtan62.