WOODSTOCK — A matchup between two of the best softball teams in Cherokee County did not disappoint Wednesday.
Etowah beat Creekview 6-3, with Kinsey Norton striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning to pick up the save and secure the win for the Lady Eagles who improved their record to 8-3 overall.
Despite handing Creekview (14-3) only its third loss of the season, Etowah coach Victoria Brown emphasized how the team needed to continue to improve in certain areas. The satisfaction in the win was not lost on her, however.
“I just told them we still have some things we need to fine-tune and refine,” Brown said. “We knew Creekview was going to battle and fight. Coach (Jenifer Maloney) has done an amazing job over there. We’re glad to have her in the county because she’s a very good coach, and they’re a very good team.”
Creekview’s Ari Wright opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when she scored on an error, but scoring opportunities were at a premium through the first few innings. Emily Wilkie’s sacrifice fly in the top of the third inning drove in Ashton Schroyer to give Creekview a 2-0 lead, and Lady Grizzlies pitcher Anslee Pettit looked in control through the first three innings.
Etowah responded in the bottom of the third inning with back-to-back home runs by Bri Condon and Paige Patterson. It was Patterson’s seventh home run on the season and the first for Condon, as Etowah seemed to enjoy boost of confidence entering the middle innings.
The momentum shifted back to Creekview, however, when Wilkie connected on an opposite-field home run of her own in the following frame, giving the Lady Grizzlies a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Wilkie finished 2-for-4 with one run scored and two RBIs.
“One of our coaches, coach (Taylor) Beckham, was talking to the girls about how the game is a bunch of ups and downs,” Brown said. “You kind of have to learn how to ride it and not get too high or too low, and I think we did a good job of that tonight.”
Etowah put the pressure on the Creekview defense in the next inning by executing multiple bunts and forcing the Lady Grizzlies to make plays in the field. The Lady Eagles took advantage of the mistakes, and Patterson’s RBI single scored Abby Billings to cap off a three-run rally for Etowah.
Patterson finished 2-for-3 with one run scored and two RBIs while Condon finished 1-for-3 with one run scored and two RBIs.
“It feels like everything’s coming together,” Patterson said. “We’re finally fighting and doing what we need to do to get these wins.”
Etowah added another run in the sixth inning when Emma Yanes scored on an RBI single by Kendall Parks.
Creekview made it interesting in the seventh inning with consecutive singles by Wright and Wilkie, but Norton kept her composure and ended the threat, recording the save and helping give Etowah an impressive midseason win.
Natalie Harper picked up the win for Etowah, allowing five hits, two earned runs and striking out four over six innings.
“Softball is a game of failure, and I think we did a good job of rebounding tonight after those first few innings,” Brown said. “We showed that fight that we’re going to need as we head into some big region games coming up.”