By Kevin Maloney
SENATOBIA, Miss. – Northwest softball walked-off to a pair of wins on Sophomore Day in identical fashion, taking advantage of Holmes errors to knock off the Lady Bulldogs by 5-4 and 3-2 (8 inn.) final scores.
Northwest improved to 25-12 overall and 14-6 in the north and is riding a season-long six-game winning streak. Holmes dropped to 14-23 overall and 9-11 in the division standings. The Rangers won the season series, 3-1.
It was a total team effort in the sweep at the plate, with eleven different Rangers combining for 20 hits in the two games, led by Drennan Nemnich’s 3-for-5 afternoon. In the circle, Micalah Beall, Lindsey Shaw, Kiley Dunagan and Lydia Dias allowed just three earned runs in 15 innings with a combined 10 strikeouts.
Northwest trailed 1-0 after three in the opener, but a four-run fourth inning put the Rangers in front for good. Kendall Alford led off the frame with a double, Haley Vance followed with a two-run homer and both Roxanna Kimes (Tipton-Rosemark Academy) and Andi Barrett added RBI hits.
Holmes rallied to tie the game with a single run in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Down to their final strike, Sam Meadows hit a bloop single that scored a run and Kelsey Kelly scored on the same play on an error to tie it at 4-4 going to the bottom of the seventh.
In the bottom half, however, Alex Barrett led off the inning with a single, was sacrificed to second and came around to score off a Holmes throwing error for the 5-4 walk-off win.
Beall tossed 5.0 innings in a no-decision, scattering seven hits and two unearned runs. Shaw (4-2) blew a save opportunity in the seventh, but was credited with the win by recording the final out in the Lady Bulldogs’ seventh.
Northwest out-hit Holmes 12-8, led by two hits apiece from Vance, Beall and An. Barrett.
Holmes scored in its opening at-bat in Game 2 off a fielder’s choice and held that 1-0 advantage into the fifth.
Kimes’ two-out, two-run double to left in the bottom of the fifth gave Northwest its first lead of the game, scoring Al. Barrett and Janie Turner for the 2-1 advantage.
But the lead was short-lived as Holmes tied it at 2-2 in the sixth on Char Gordon’s RBI-groundout.
Neither team scored in the seventh and the game headed to extras with the international tie-break in effect.
After Holmes was retired in order, it was the Rangers’ chance to win it.
With the bases loaded with one out after two intentional walks, Shaw hit a fly ball to right for the second out, not really deep enough to tag up, and Holmes’ rightfielder threw the ball into the Rangers’ dugout which allowed Alford to score for another walk-off win on an error.
Dunagan (5-4) threw a complete-game, four-hitter, allowing two runs and striking out seven on 98 pitches. It was just the Rangers’ second complete-game performance of the season.
Northwest will close out the regular season on the road with doubleheaders at Northeast on April 14 and Mississippi Delta on April 16.