LOGANVILLE — Two outs from being swept Tuesday night in the Class AAAAAAA quarterfinals, North Gwinnett kept its softball season alive thanks to clutch, walk-off home run from Haley Cummings.
The senior sent a laser over the right field fence for a three-run homer in Game 2 at Grayson, salvaging a split with a 6-5 win and forcing Game 3 between the state championship contenders. The decisive game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Grayson, but predicted inclement weather may make it unplayable.
“It was a character game for us,” North head coach Amanda Heil said of Game 2. “You’re down by two runs (in the seventh) against one of the best pitchers in the state (Grayson senior and Georgia recruit Kylie Macy) and they battled. They battled. We told them just get one base runner on and give ourselves a chance.”
The host Rams won Game 1 on a walk-off of their own, a 4-3 victory on Carrie Green’s RBI sacrifice fly, which forced North to rebound in the nightcap. Grayson put pressure on with a 5-3 lead entering the bottom of the seventh.
North’s Marisa Miller led off the seventh with a walk, and Bella Faw followed with a single to put two runners on for Cummings’ at-bat.
After quickly getting down 0-2 against Macy, Cummings got back into the at-bat and finished it with a heroic homer.
“It was very clutch,” Heil said. “She was down 0-2. The first pitch was outside and she didn’t like it very much. After that, she swung at a rise ball and got herself in a hole, but she battled and battled and fouled a pitch off. At that point, the ball was getting a little wet and (Macy) threw the ball out and got a new one.
“Haley, the last month of the season she has been so locked in and so locked in with two strikes. She didn’t have a wonderful day coming up to that at-bat, but she locked in. … Haley’s a senior, she’s been part of our varsity program four years, and there is no one else honestly I would rather have up than her in that spot. Her demeanor, you just always know she’s going to have a good at-bat.”