TUNNEL HILL, Ga. — If you play the Northwest Whitfield Lady Bruins anywhere in this postseason, you might want to skip the fifth inning. Northwest used a pair of big fifth innings to sweep a Class AAAA first-round playoff series doubleheader against Heritage of Conyers, 10-2 and 7-2 Wednesday night.
The Lady Bruins (25-6) trailed in each game, but scored four runs in game one and three in game two to break open tight games, and in each game a different hot hitter led the way. In the opener, catcher Bayli Cruse had two hits and four RBIs, including a two-run single in the fifth, while in game two shortstop Ashley Conner was 3-for-4 with a homer, triple and two runs scored.
"There's something about the fifth inning for us," Northwest coach Shane Ramsey said. "Bayli Cruse did an awesome job at the plate in the first game and Ashley did the same in game two. And Emily (Boyd) was Emily. We trust her and she lets her ability take over."
Ace pitcher Boyd allowed two hits in going the distance in game one and came on in the third inning in game two and pitched shutout ball with five strikeouts and two hits allowed. She allowed only one runner to get past first and afterward shared the team's goal.
"We've recently taken on a new motto: every game and every team we play is just an obstacle we have to jump over," Boyd said. "Our only goal is to reach state and win it all. We know we can beat anyone, and as long as we keep hitting like we did tonight we'll be all right. Getting 17 runs is great, though I wish we wouldn't wait until the fifth inning."
Northwest will host the winner of the Pope/Dunwoody series next Wednesday, with the winner advancing to Columbus and the state's Elite Eight.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...