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Wood pitches North past Peachtree Ridge

SUWANEE -- North Gwinnett got a complete-game victory out of pitcher Emily Wood and some timely hitting from the Bulldogs' bats en route to a 5-1 win over Peachtree Ridge in the third-place game of the Region 7-AAAAA softball tournament.

Both teams advance to next week's state tournament, which begins Oct. 12.

North (23-8-1) used a four-run third inning to break open a scoreless game and then rode the right arm of Wood to secure the victory.

"We've been playing well our last 12 games (11-0-1) and we wanted to keep that up," North head coach Randy Black said. "(Peachtree Ridge) battled us and they kept at it right up until the last inning. We had a couple of chances to put it away, but just couldn't.

"We've had to shift a few folks around after our catcher suffered a concussion, but Emily threw hard and threw strikes. When she got in trouble, she would bear down. I'm really proud of the way we finished this (tournament) today."

Peachtree Ridge (18-14) actually had the first scoring opportunity as the Lions had runners on second and third with one out in the first, but Wood got a groundout and strikeout to snuff out the rally.

North broke away in the third with four runs on five hits off Peachtree Ridge starter Sarah Walker, thanks to some big hits in key moments.

Miranda Strother singled to left field to score Alaina Hall, who had dropped down a perfect bunt single to start the inning.

After a groundout and an intentional walk loaded the bases, Draven Sonnon came up with a clutcher two-out single to chase home Tori Prince and Strother for a 3-0 North lead.

Kelsey Summers followed with an RBI single to right field to score Lacey Najafi to increase the North lead to 4-0, but Sonnon was thrown out at the plate trying to tally the Bulldogs' fifth run of the frame.

Those four runs would stand up for Wood, who only allowed three Peachtree Ridge base runners to get into scoring position from the second through fifth innings.

North added an insurance run in the fourth as Kendall McKinney doubled in Hall, who had reached again on a perfect bunt single.

Hall finished the game 3-for-4 with two singles, a triple and two runs scored from the leadoff spot.

Despite the 5-0 hole, Peachtree Ridge kept battling.

Maiah Johnson led off with a single and scored on Kayla Jones' RBI single to make it 5-1 in the top of the sixth.

Peachtree Ridge eventually loaded the bases in the inning, but couldn't come up with the big hit to pull within striking distance as Wood worked out of her biggest trouble of the game.

In fact, the Lions had seven base runners in the final two innings, but could only come through with the lone run in the sixth.

Wood finished in grand style by striking out the side in the top of the seventh despite allowing two runners to seal the win for North.

For the game, Wood scattered seven hits, struck out nine, walked two and hit a pair of Peachtree Ridge batters.

Chandler Frisbie, Johnson and Jones each went 2-for-4 to lead the way for Peachtree Ridge.

"We had an emotional win last night (over Duluth) and it was little bit tougher to come back today after that," Peachtree Ridge head coach Bubba Wilson said. "But take nothing away from North, because they've got a really good lineup top to bottom. We lost to a solid team and we feel like we still have some momentum heading into state. We just out of gas a little bit today."

Prince and Strother each went 2-for-4 while Najafi was 1-for-1 with two walks for North.