The Lady Mustangs picked up that victory in decisive fashion Thursday night, winning at previously unbeaten North Cobb 12-3 in six innings.
Kennesaw Mountain (2-4, 1-2), the two-time defending Region 4AAAAAA champion, entered the game in danger of falling further behind region frontrunners Harrison and North Cobb (4-1, 2-1), but a 15-hit performance gave the Lady Mustangs a shot of adrenaline during its early-season swoon.
Boo Huddleston was 3-for-3 with two RBIs, while Kelli McGrail was 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
“I told them (Thursday) was a big game,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Lisa Chapman said. “Playing our first three games in the region on the road and being 0-2, we needed this. We needed this for our confidence. We came out of the gate 1-4, so everybody’s second-guessing themselves on the type of team we are. To see the bats come alive like that, and get good pitching from (Kathryn) Woody was what we needed.”
The game started out on a bad note for Kennesaw Mountain.
After the Lady Mustangs took a 1-0 lead on Huddleston’s RBI single in the top of the first inning, North Cobb responded with two runs off a single and three errors in the bottom half.
Casey Page reached on an error, stole second and scored when Kayla Trumbull reached first on a throwing error after striking out at the plate. Trumbull eventually came home off another error for the 2-1 Lady Warrior advantage.
The teams exchanged runs in the second. Becky Grannemann’s two-out triple plated Aubrey Schafer for Kennesaw Mountain, while Carli Troutman’s triple scored McKenzie Krause for North Cobb, which maintained a 3-2 margin.
Mallory Lewis, Sarah Dew and Huddleston preserved the one-run deficit, combining on a double-play at the plate on North Cobb’s next at-bat.
“The key to our success is how well Woody pitches, and how well we play defense,” Chapman said. “The way we played the first inning was the way we’ve been playing so far this season. Woody’s been sick and our defense hasn’t been good.
“We started to clean that up by the third inning. Woody had some good movement, and we got more focused on the field. Getting those hits was even better.”
Kennesaw Mountain sent 10 players to the plate during a five-run third inning that saw the Lady Mustangs deliver six singles and get help from two North Cobb errors.
Huddleston had another RBI single in the fourth, and McGrail’s two-out, three-run home run in the sixth scored Lewis and Huddleston for an 11-3 Lady Mustangs margin. Paige Oliver’s pinch-hit RBI double in the sixth also contributed to the final margin.
Lewis scored three times for Kennesaw Mountain, with McGrail, Oliver, Sarah Dew and Schafer each scoring twice. Schafer also batted 3-for-4 with an RBI. Grannemann was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Amber Johns and Abby Chandler each had an RBI.
Woody allowed three runs — one earned — on six hits and struck out five in six innings.
“We didn’t play with any intensity (Thursday),” North Cobb coach Jo Beth Weaver said. “We had too many errors, which is something we hadn’t done all season. We decided (Thursday) to not play sharp. Any more wins will have to come from our defense. When we play solid defense, we can produce runs. We let them put us out of the game too early.”