Intimidated no more, Westside finally conquered a nemesis.
Sprinkling clutch hits and great baserunning with an impressive pitching performance, the Patriots beat Harlem, 9-1, in six innings Tuesday evening at Westside High. With the win, the Patriots took over first place in the subregion.
The victory was also a welcome change after Westside surrendered a combined 20 runs in two losses last year and lost 4-2 earlier this season during its struggles against Harlem.
“(It means) everything – it’s my senior year,” the Patriots’ Toree Gaddy said. “The team started to know we’re really good. They finally know.”
Down 1-0 after Harlem scored a first-inning run on Kristen Mills’ bloop single, Westside exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the third thanks to Harlem errors.
The first seven batters reached, with fielding mistakes on bunts often a problem.
Westside, which also earned five walks, scored two of its runs in the inning by having a runner at first draw a throw on a steal attempt to allow a player on third to race home.
With the Patriots up 2-1, Jordan Tedder drove a ball to the outfield fence to score two.
The senior jumped up and down on the first-base bag with her hands raised over her head.
April Crouch later provided the final runs in the inning when her bunt led to an error as the ball got all the way to the fence in right. Crouch kept on running, soon reaching home as her teammates swarmed her.
Though the Bulldogs tried to rally by putting two on in the fifth, Westside pitcher Andrea Bentley induced a comebacker. Bentley held Harlem, ranked No. 7 in Class AAA, to four hits while striking out four.
Bentley also got help from the defense around her, as Jennifer Reese caught a liner and made a nice stop on a grounder for two outs in the sixth.
Already with a big lead, Westside sealed the win with a Micheala Hatcher RBI on a sacrifice bunt in the fifth and a Gaddy run in the sixth.
Gaddy, who reached four times, crushed a double off the fence and scored when Harlem attempted to throw her out when she tried to steal third but the Bulldogs instead threw the ball past the bag.
“This is a testament win for Westside,” Patriots coach Drew Gaddy said. “I can’t say enough about the seniors. They led us by the horns.”