Softball: Late-game heroics propel Roswell to doubleheader sweep of Alpharetta

By Zach Shugan

ROSWELL, Ga. — The Hornets had scored one run on three hits through four innings of play. Playing the second half of a doubleheader Thursday at home against Alpharetta, their offense had been kept at bay by Raiders pitcher Mack Alizota up to that point.

“[Alizota] had us off balance,” Roswell head coach Matt McCarthy said. “I don’t know how many pop-ups we had to left field, but it felt like 75.”

Then, just as it did in the first game of the night, Roswell plated multiple runs in the fifth inning to take the lead and eventually win by a score of 5-4.

After Taylor White reached base due to an error and Haley Blumberg walked, Georgia Tech commit Reese Hunter stepped up to the plate with two outs and runners on first and third. The senior roped a ball to right field that was unable to be corralled, and both baserunners scored to tie the game. With Hunter able to reach third base on the error in the outfield, Roswell had the potential game-winning run on third base. Katie Biber delievered, bringing in Reese on a single to left field to give the Hornets a 4-3 lead they didn’t let go of.

“It was a good game,” McCarthy said. “It’s good to get two region wins.”

Alpharetta’s Mack Alizota pitches during the first inning of the Raiders’ Aug. 26 game at Roswell. (Zach Shugan)

Alpharetta took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI double to the fence by Becca Parham. The Raiders added a couple runs to their lead in the top of the third inning. Alizota drove a ball to center field that was misplayed and ended up near the fence, bringing in Emma Neet from third base and Claire Ullman from second.

Alizota (6.0 innings pitched, 5 hits, 5 runs, 1 earned run) also started on the mound for Alpharetta and gave Roswell trouble most of the game.

The Hornets could only muster one hit and no runs through three innings but broke through in the fourth with an RBI single by sophomore Morgan Zdancewicz.

With its three-run fifth inning, Roswell took the lead for the first time and didn’t let go. Sophomore Kelsey Wiggins (5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER) started at pitcher and Blumberg (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER) closed out the game for the Hornets.

Roswell’s Reese Hunter, playing third base, prepares for a pitch during the Hornets’ Aug. 26 win over Alpharetta. (Zach Shugan)

In the first game of the night, Roswell (5-2, 2-2) used a big fifth inning to overtake the Raiders (1-9, 0-4). The score was tied 3-3 through four innings, then Roswell plated six runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 9-3 lead. The Hornets eneded up winning 10-4.

With two wins on Thursday, the Hornets improved their record to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in region play. That’s a solid start, but McCarthy knows it won’t be easy making the state playoffs coming out of Region 5-7A. With teams like Milton, Cherokee, Woodstock and Etowah all fielding strong teams in 2021, the Hornets have some stout competition in region play.

“We made the playoffs last year for the first time in a long time,” McCarthy said. “We’d like to go back, but at this point we have some work to do in the region. That is for sure. We got to win some games that we’re probably not expected to, but that’s what we got to do.”

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