Northwest Whitfield was the better softball team in six of seven innings.
It was enough to keep the Lady Bruins on their early season roll.
Thanks to 10 runs in the first four innings and strong work from senior pitcher Emily Boyd, Northwest won 13-5 in a Region 7-4A matchup Tuesday night at Dalton.
Northwest lost its first game of the season over the weekend, but has won three games since then by a combined score of 30-6.
Boyd — the Lady Bruins’ ace has committed to Ole Miss — went four innings, allowing one hit and striking out four. She got a good bit of help from her offense, with three runs coming in the first inning, another in the second, two in the third and four in the fourth. Northwest (12-1, 2-0) finished with 20 hits.
“We’ve been preaching staying back and going opposite field,” said Northwest coach Jason Brooker, who’s in his first season leading the program. “I don’t know how many hits we had to center field and right field, but I bet it was more than half.”
Leading Northwest was first baseman Mallory Souther, who finished a home run shy of the cycle. She went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, with three off a bases-loaded triple in the seventh. She scored in the second inning on Hannah Godfrey’s single.
“I was keeping my eye on the ball,” she said, noting it has been an issue in recent games. “Yeah, that and pulling my head out.”
Lady Bruins shortstop Ashley Conner finished 3-for-4 with a two-RBI double coming in the first inning to start the scoring. She later scored on a groundout by third baseman MyKeah Johnson, who finished 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored. With the score 4-0 in the third, Macy Weeks and Souther each had RBI singles. In the fourth, Karlie Henson had a two-RBI double, and Gabbi Helton followed with another of the same.
Heading into the fifth, the Lady Catamounts (2-3, 0-2) had their backs against the eight-run mercy rule but got the bats going. Boyd exited after the fourth and Brileigh Baggett came in for relief. Dalton scored five runs in the inning to cut the deficit in half, with two coming off a double by Carson Hagin. Blayne Thomason and Jessica Cisneros had back-to-back RBI singles followed by Hannah Jones being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The Lady Bruins made two errors in the inning, which Brooker thinks is evidence his team was looking toward the end of the game instead of focusing.
“Brileigh has been pitching well all year for us,” he said. “I think we just got caught looking at the scoreboard.”
Baggett settled down, though, and only allowed one more hit through the sixth and seventh innings. None of the runs she allowed were earned.
Lady Cats coach Jeff McKinney was happy his team did not quit, even down 10 runs.
“They could’ve laid down, but they kept battling,” he said. “I’m proud of them for that.”
McKinney thinks the result came down to not getting the big hits early on.
“We had two runners on in the first inning and two runners on in the second inning,” he said. “We just couldn’t get anything through. Emily did a good job for them. In the fifth inning, we got more relaxed at the plate and put some pressure on them.”
Hagin started on the mound for Dalton, pitched five innings and allowed 10 runs off 14 hits. Allie Blackwood pitched the final two innings, allowing three runs off five hits. Thomason finished with three hits, all singles, for the Lady Cats.