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Lady Knights finish second in Region 3-AA

Posted: April 16, 2013 1:13 p.m.
Updated: April 17, 2013 5:00 a.m.

With spring break over, the North Central softball team needed to get back to winning games after losing two of three, including their first in Region 3-AA play, in the week leading up to having a week off.
Facing Eau Claire and Columbia, the outlook looked good for the Lady Knights to get back on the winning track and continue to chase the conference title as NC defeated both teams in the first round ofg league action. How these games turned out would help decide a lot about this season. 
Starting the season with the goal of winning the region title, the Lady Knights could not slip up if they wanted to secure one of their season’s goals.
NC kicked off the week with a 15-10 win at Eau Claire. The visitors started well as they scored 11 runs in the first inning and added a pair in the second.  From that lead, the Lady Knights allowed the Shamrocks to battle their way back into the game by giving up two runs in the first, two in the third and five runs in the late innings to close the gap to 15-9 going into the seventh inning.  
After NC did not score in the top of the seventh, it sweated out the final at-bat. Feeling the upset, EC drew a walk which led to a run. With the score 15-10 NC pitcher Alexa Williamson proceeded to strike out the next two batters but would walk two more to bring the top of the lineup to the plate; putting the pressure on the Lady Knights. With runners at second and third, Williamson was able to strike out the leadoff batter Green to end the threat.  
Alexis Baker and Logan Coates led the NC offensive attack with three hits each while Jo Phillips, Ashley Stephens, Lexy McCain and Kelsie Gardner all had two. Williamson was the winning pitcher.
On Friday at Columbia, NC broke open a close game by scoring 12 times in its final three at-bats to down the Lady Capitals, 20-8.
Baker paced the offense with three hits and five runs scored while Coates had three hits while scoring two runs. Stephanie Freeman, Phillips, Stephens, McCain and Williamson all had two hits each. Coates was the winning pitcher. 
With the two conference victories, NC (8-6) improved to 7-1 in 3-AA play.
On Monday, NC saw it chance of winning the conference crown come up agonizingly short as Mike Grigsby’s squad fell to  host Pelion, 11-10.
With the one-run win, the Lady Panthers took the Region 3-AA championship with a 10-0 record. NC will finish second in the circuit and will play a first round state tournament home game on Thursday, April 25.
Coates was the tough-luck losing pitcher on Monday while Baker went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the NC offense.

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