In the remaining two weeks of the regular season, North Murray High School softball coach Steve Granger will not have to try to convince his Lady Mountaineers that they can win big games. He now has proof after they kept their postseason hopes alive with a 6-2 Region 5-AAA win over Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe on Thursday.
The win is the first for North Murray (8-14, 5-6) over an LFO team, something junior leadoff hitter Megan Pittman believes will prove to be a spark as the team pursues a playoff berth.
"This is the first time we've ever beaten LFO, so it's big for our program, especially at this time of the year," said Pittman, who had two doubles. "This game shows what we can do if we hit the ball and play solid on defense."
North Murray had seven hits, committed no errors and made several sparking plays. Pitchers Kara Deal and Baylee Sutton combined to limit the Lady Warriors (10-13, 6-6) to two hits.
"This helps us confidence-wise," said Granger, in his first season as head coach. "To be honest, I like our chances of making the playoffs. It's a pretty competitive region and we've competed with everybody. Our record isn't the best, but we know we can compete. If we pitch and play defense like we did tonight, we'll be OK."
The Lady Mountaineers led 1-0 entering the fourth inning when Amber Bandy doubled in a pair of runs. They put the game away in the sixth with three runs, Bandy plating one with a sacrifice fly and MaChaela Cochran delivering a two-out, two-run double.
Deal pitched the first five innings, overcoming four walks and working out of a bases-loaded jam in the second. Sutton worked the final two, allowing a run on no hits and retiring the side in the seventh.
"We kept them off balance, and to me that's the name of the game in fastpitch," Granger said. "We've been playing well in the field because the girls have started to feel more comfortable in their positions. You want to be hot at the end, so hopefully this is a start."
Sutton joined Pittman with two hits for the winners, while Cheyenne Burns had a solo home run for LFO.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or 423-757-6296.