By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
DECATUR – After an eight month layoff between the end of the 2010 slowpitch softball season and the 2011 MAC All-Star games, a slow start out of the players could be expected in Friday’s games.
Knocking off the rust, the North took the first two games at the 25th annual event at Newton County High School 4-0 in Class 1A/2A/3A and 5-3 in Class 4A/5A/6A.
“Yes there was a little rust, especially with having just got done with fastpitch season,” Wheeler ‘s Mallory Michael said. “But I think we played ok for not knowing each other and for picking up a slowpitch ball eight months later.”
“I had been playing slowpitch summer ball, so I didn’t have as much rust as I should have,” said Kelsey Miller of Mooreville , who was one of two North multiple hitters. “It was really good and fun overall.”
After South pitcher Toni Brooke Purvis walked two of the first three North batters, Michael delivered with a two-RBI single to give her team an early 2-0 lead.
Wheeler stars continued to prove why they played for the Class 1A slowpitch championship in the sixth inning when Hilary Glover’s single scored Caitlyn Atkins ( Hamilton ) and Michael for the North’s final runs.
Defensively, the North overcame four errors and turned two double plays to back Michael’s shutout performance on the mound in a low scoring game.
Four errors hurt the South All-Stars in Game 1 of the Class 4A/5A/6A series as the North scored three of their five runs unearned.
A dropped fly ball in left field and a run scoring single by New Hope’s Brandi Brantley put the North up 3-0 early. Brantley’s sac fly and Emily Pogue’s (West Lauderdale) walk with the bases loaded scored the North’s winning runs.
After allowing three runs in the first inning on RBI singles by Kalyn McNabb (Columbia) and Brooke Brewer (Wayne County), the North held the South scoreless over the final six innings allowing no runners past second base.
Both series’ Game 2′s were pushed back due to an hour-plus lightning delay and finished too late for deadline.