Softball Falls Into Elimination Bracket After Loss to North Georgia


DAHLONEGA, Ga. -- Top-seeded and host North Georgia advanced to Sunday’s NCAA II Southeast Regional 1 Softball Tournament Championship Game with a 6-1 win over fourth-seeded Catawba on Saturday afternoon at Hill Stadium.  The sixth-ranked Nighthawks improve to 46-7 on the year.  The Catawba Indians fall to 30-16 and will face either Anderson or Limestone later on Saturday in the elimination bracket final. 

The Lady Indians took the early lead as Natalie Naturile (Thomasville, N.C./E. Davidson HS) connected on a two-out solo home run to left in the bottom of the first.  The Knighthawks tied the game in the third after loading the bases with no outs.

In that third inning, North Georgia got a leadoff single from Taylor Anne Merritt and a second runner reached on an error.  Kim McMillan would walk to load the bases.  The Lady Indians were able to turn a double play which got the trying run in before a pop up ended the frame with the teams tied at 1-1.

The Nighthawks took the lead in the fifth.  Jessica Finch doubled and went to third on a single by Alexis Collins.  The go-ahead run scored on a dribbler in front of the plate off the bat of McMillan that allowed pinch runner Hannah McSwain to score.  UNG added a second run on a sacrifice fly by Tiffanie Burns.

North Georgia padded its lead on a sacrifice fly in the sixth and scored twice in the seventh.  Meagan May tripled and came in after a walk to McMillan on a double steal.  Ansley Phillips plated the final run on a ground out.

Catawba did not get a hit after the first inning until Gina Gerone (Brooklyn, N.Y./Madison HS) singled with one out in the seventh.  The other two hits came after Naturile’s home run in the first.  Taylor Adams (Smithfield, N.C./N. Johnston HS) singled, but the inning would end when she was struck by a ball off the bat of Gerone.

Carley Tysinger (Lexington, N.C./C. Davidson HS) fell to 26-10 with the loss.  Only four of the runs she allowed were earned which came off five hits.  The junior walked three, hit three and fanned five.

Courtney Poole (39-3) picked up the win for the Nighthawks.  She surrendered the one run on three hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.

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