MOORESVILLE — When an offense can play an entire game and not have any batters go down on strikes, you know that offense is doing something right.
On Tuesday night, the Wildcats smacked the ball all over the field, racking up nine hits while not registering a single strikeout to advance to the second round of the 4A state playoffs, defeating McDowell (13-10) 8-5.
“We were able to hit the ball well tonight,” Lake Norman (18-4) head coach Tommy Strahan said. “Their pitcher was able to get us to pop up early, but once we adjusted, we started hitting the ball really well.”
Early in the game, it didn’t seem like 13 runs being scored between the two teams would be remotely possible. For the first three innings, neither team sent more than four batters to the plate, each of them retired quickly.
A pitcher’s duel between Lake Norman’s Linda Moore and McDowell’s Abby Wyatt was seemingly forming.
Hannah Rongo provided the lone glimpse of offense in the early innings for either team when she sent the first pitch of the bottom of the 2nd over the fence in left field to give Lake Norman a 1-0 lead. It was a lead the Wildcats would never relinquish.
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In the fourth inning, Lake Norman added three more runs on a pair of RBI singles from Rongo and Kaylee Harris and an RBI triple from Samantha Ladowski.
The Titans cut their deficit in half in the top of the 6th when Gracie Rice hit a home run of her own to make the score 4-2. McDowell wasn’t quite done in that half inning, though. They pushed Moore to the brink of giving up the lead, putting runners on first and third before the Wildcats’ ace was able to end the inning.
“Linda was really good for a while there,” Strahan said. “She seemed to lose her legs a bit towards the end, but she closed out the game.”
Moore helped out her own cause in the bottom of the sixth, driving in the final of the four response runs the Wildcats scored in the frame to extend their lead to six runs, 8-2, heading into the 7th.
Those insurance runs proved crucial as McDowell got the better of Moore again, scoring three more runs to cut the Lake Norman lead to three, 8-5, but they wouldn’t get any closer.
East Forsyth 3, Lake Norman 1
KERNERSVILLE—East Forsyth scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning and held on for a 3-1 victory over Lake Norman in the second round of the 4A state playoffs Thursday.
The Wildcats scored once in the top of the seventh but were unable to complete the comeback.
No other details on the game were available.
Lake Norman finished the season 18-5. East Forsyth advanced to face Mooresville in the third round. That game will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday.