By Berry Aldridge, Staff Writer
The No. 4-ranked Lady Pirates softball team dropped two games this weekend to Peach Belt Conference leaders, the No. 12-ranked North Georgia Nighthawks. It was also Senior Day for the Pirates. Kacie Patterson, Kat Vogler and Andrea Dalton were all honored at their last home games at Pirate Field.
“The experience is bitter sweet because it’s a day to be recognized for playing the game you love, but it’s also a sad day because it is our last home game as Pirates,” Vogler said.
Game one was nothing short of spectacular, going twelve innings and having everything from timely pitching to clutch hitting. North Georgia maintained a lead for most of the game and with only the bottom of the seventh left for the Pirates, the Nighthawks led 6-3.
Junior Layce Walker changed that with one swing of the bat. She crushed a three-run homer nearly 30 feet over the center field fence to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
Pitching then took over for four innings as McLemore and the Nighthawks’ pitcher both threw scoreless frames.
Armstrong would eventually lose the game 8-6 in 12 innings due to unfortunate errors and timely hitting by North Georgia.
In game two, the Pirates came back with a vengeance. Walker, Dalton and junior Alexis Mercer all launched homers to put the Pirates on top 6-2 after two innings.
Mercer’s home run was the 17th of this season, setting a new school record for home runs in a single season, which was held by Stacey Richardson since 2002.
Again however, the Pirates were plagued by poor defense and the Nighthawks plated two runs in the third inning, three in the fourth, one in the fifth and three more in the sixth. The final score ended 11-7 in favor of North Georgia.
“Senior day will still be a great memory to look back on even though losing isn’t what we had in mind,” Patterson said. “But now we know where we need to improve and we can work hard to be prepared to play them again in the post-season.”
Armstrong returns to play at Francis Marion in a three-game PBC series, starting on April 12.