Late Heritage rally clips top-ranked Northwest Whitfield

Late Heritage rally clips top-ranked Northwest Whitfield

September 11th, 2013 by Lindsey Young in Sports - Preps

Heritage pinch runner Kurston Henry (25) celebrates with Katie Pritchett (28) at the plate in the bottom of the 7th inning defeating Northwest Whitfield 6-5 Tuesday at Heritage.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

RINGGOLD, Ga. - Katie Pritchett might consider running for political office one day. When the Heritage High School senior softball player speaks, people apparently listen.

As the sole senior on a softball team with six freshman and sophomore starters, Pritchett has her team's ear, so when she predicted a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning with the Generals down three to Northwest Whitfield, they did more than nod. They responded with four runs in the bottom half to clip the state's top-ranked Lady Bruins, 6-5, and assumed sole possession of first place in subregion 7B-AAAA.

"I just felt we were going to do it," Pritchett said after the second-ranked Generals (18-3, 5-0) used two hits, two walks and two critical errors to complete the wild comeback. "We're a come-from-behind team and we always have been. We lack experience, but we have a lot of heart. I think this gives us a lot of confidence for the next time we play them. We know we can play with them."

Northwest (15-2, 4-1) appeared to take control of the game in the top half of the final inning with three runs, one scoring on Bayli Cruse's single and two on Macy Weeks' two-out single. The young Generals made two errors to start the inning, making coach Steve Chattin's worst fears come true. A great catch in left field by freshman Sydney Smith, though, kept the game close.

"I was really concerned in the top of the seventh with them having so many seniors and with us being mostly freshmen and sophomores that we let the moment get to us," Chattin said. "It should have been three up and three down that inning, but our freshman made a great catch in left field to keep us in it. If not for that, I'm not sure we come back."

Olivia Tamewitz led off the bottom of the seventh with an infield single and used two wild pitches to score. The bases were loaded with one out when Northwest pitcher BriLeigh Baggett walked Ali Roberts to make it 5-4. Brooklynn Frazier then hit a hard grounder to shortstop, but the throw home for a potential forceout bounced past Cruse and two runs scored to complete the rally.

"We're excited and happy we won, but we know we'll see them down the road," Chattin said. "Neither team played its best, but we won, and that's better than losing. One hallmark of this program for six years is we keep battling and these kids work too hard to give up."

Lawson scattered 11 hits and fought through four errors to get the pitching win. She added two hits offensively, as did Roberts. Hannah Godfrey led Northwest with three hits, two runs and an RBI, while Cruse and Ashley Conner had two hits apiece.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6296.