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Andrew Jackson ends Lady Knights’ tourney run

Posted: April 30, 2013 2:51 p.m.
Updated: May 1, 2013 5:00 a.m.

After having finished as the Region 3-A runner-up, the North Central softball team looked forward to hosting last Thursday’s first round game against a team they had seen twice this year. 
Buford came to North Central as the third seed from the Region 4 and also with confidence as the Yellow Jackets had already beaten North Central in both games in the regular season.  If the Lady Knights were to move forward in the state playoffs, they would have to find a way to defeat a very good team. 
NC head coach, Mike Grigsby, said his team had great week of practice and looked forward to playing Buford. “Most of the pre-game excitement gave us a sense of we can do,” he said. But when the game started, NC started off with some mistakes and Buford took advantage to score six runs in the first inning. 
BHS used a series of more Lady Knight miscues to score another five runs in the top of the third to go on top, 11-0 before leading, 16-0, in the fifth.
One constant for the Lady Knights has been that they would never quit and, in the bottom of the fifth showed they could score against a very good team. With two outs, Alexis Baker got the late rally started with a triple and the hit pumped up the hostesses. Jo Phillips singled to drive in the Knights first run and then scored on Lexy McCain’s single in a 16-2 loss.
The Lady Knights have played well at home this season and by scoring some runs against Buford, they took some confidence into Saturday’s elimination game against visiting Region 3-AA rival Columbia High, a team which they had beaten twice in the regular season.
On Saturday, the Lady Knights got back to playing like they had all season with good defense and timely hitting to defeat the Lady Capitals for the third time this season by a score of 19-3. 
Alexa Williamson picked up the win, allowing one hit while striking out seven Lady Capital batters. 
The timely hitting started from the first inning and with the help of several walks, the Lady Knights scored eight runs in the first frames to set the tone for the rest of the game. The Lady Capitals did all their damage in the second and third innings, thanks to the help of walks and a couple of misplayed balls. 
North Central raised the lead to 11 to 3 after three frames before exploding for eight runs in the bottom of the fourth. Kelsie Gardner got the inning started with an inside the park home run. The hit parade continued with Stephanie Freeman and Taylor Covington singling and Columbia High intentionally walking Baker to load the bases with one out. Phillips beat out an infield hit to score Freeman and Covington before Logan Coates walked to score Baker. McCain singled to score Phillips and Coates before scoring on Ashley Stephens’ grounder that the Capitals could not handle cleanly. 
After a line out for the second out, Freeman’s second hit of the inning scored Stephens for a 19-3 lead which Williamson made stand after working a scoreless top of the fifth, including a game-ending strikeout, her seventh of the afternoon.
AJ ends Lady Knights’ season: Andrew Jackson scored nine runs in the bottom of the first and pulled away to a 13-0 win over North Central in a Monday night AA District 4 tournament elimination game.

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