Photo: Southside High’s Karlee Thompson slides into home plate as Etowah catcher Lexi Brown awaits the throw during the Lady Panthers’ 2-0 victory in girls’ softball last Tuesday (Mar. 12) at SHS. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Despite being out-hit by a 7 to 2 margin last Tuesday (Mar. 12) the Southside High softball team pushed across a pair of late runs on the way to a 2-0 victory over county neighbor and Class 5A, Area 12 rival Etowah at SHS.
With the game scoreless and Etowah starter Sidney Simpson tossing a no-hitter over the first four innings, Karlee Thompson drew a lead-off walk in the bottom of the fifth and advanced to third on Chloe Gattis’ double to left-center field. Carly Lankford’s laid down a sacrifice bunt in the next at-bat that allowed Thompson to score.
The hosts added an insurance run in the sixth. Kaylee Brown singled and stole second and scored on an Etowah fielding error.
Simpson and Southside starter Alexis Rennhack both had impressive outings. In six innings, Simpson allowed two hits and four walks with one strikeout. Rennhack scattered seven hits in seven innings but did not issue a walk. She fanned four and retired the final eight Etowah batters. Out of the Lady Blue Devils’ nine baserunners, none advanced past second base.
Both pitchers worked their way out of trouble early on. The Lady Panthers (8-6) had a runner on third base with one out in both the second and third innings but Simpson induced consecutive fly outs in both instances. Rennhack had runners on first and second with two outs in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings before recording either a groundout or flyout to end the threat.
“Alexis didn’t have her best stuff, but she kept fighting and battled through it and got outs when she needed them,” said Southside head coach Brett Yancey. “The defense was huge behind her, and I don’t think we made an error. We left a lot of runners out there but we were able to manufacture a couple of runs. Overall, it was a big win and I’m proud of all our girls.”
Lexi Brown and Alex Phillips each went 2-for-3 for Etowah (5-3), while Emma Lowery, Anna Jones and Elli Jones each had a hit.
“Sidney did a great job for us on the mound,” said Etowah head coach Kim Brown. “I think they had eight hits and we had two, so it’s a little tough to stomach. But it’s a process and we’ll get it strung together. We’re young, but I think we’ll be fine. It’s still early.”