Neither team disappointed as the North surged to a 4-1 lead — which included an RBI triple from Woodland all-star Diana Wimpy — before the South rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Alexis Mercer of South Effingham and Kaitlyn Johnson of Whitewater singled and doubled, respectively, putting the South runners in scoring position.
After Newnan’s Molly Garmany hit a run-scoring groundout, Taylor County’s Savannah Sloan, who had the most hits on the night, drove in Johnson with a hit to right field, making the score 4-3.
North relief pitcher Monica Vickery of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe struck out the final batter to preserve her team’s victory.
Vickery pitched three innings for the save, giving up three earned runs on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts. North starter Kylie Kleinschmit of Providence Christian, the game’s winner, threw four innings for the win, striking out three and giving up no earned runs, four hits, one walk and hitting one batter.
South pitchers were starter Kristen Carr (four innings, no earned runs, three hits, two walks, five strikeouts) and reliever Mallory Riner (three innings, three earned runs, four hits, one walk, two strikeouts).
Reaching base for the North were Brookwood’s Jessica Neidigh, 1 for 2; Kell’s Kelsey Mericka, 1 for 3 (RBI, walk); Buford’s Karly Fullem, 1 for 3; Creekview’s Paige Sexton, 1 for 1; Madison County’s Haley Peeples, 0 for 1 (walk); Wimpy, 2 for 3 (RBI, double, triple); Cherokee’s Natalie Rhodes, 1 for 3 (RBI); and Haley Thompson, 0 for 1 (two walks).
Reaching base for the South were Thomson’s Hannah Wilson, 1 for 3 (hit by pitch); Mercer, 1 for 3 (walk); Johnson, 1 for 4 (double); Garmany, 1 for 3 (RBI, walk); Sloan, 3 for 3 (RBI, walk); Savannah Christian’s Taylor Turner, 1 for 2; Lowndes’ Brittany Britt, 1 for 3 (RBI); and Dodge County’s Adele Harrison, 0 for 1 (two walks).
After the game — which was actually scheduled as part of a doubleheader before rain washed away Game No. 2 — Wimpy noted she had some nerves stepping to the plate.
“It was pretty intimidating going against the best pitchers in the state so it makes you a little bit nervous,” she said.
Wimpy popped up her first time to the plate, seemingly missing out on a potential hit. Following that at-bat, she came through with two hits.
“Well, I corrected my mistake that I [made] the first time I was up to bat and it worked out, got a double and then I got a triple,” she added.
The North all-stars scored their first run of the game in the top of the third after two errors by the South team.
In the fifth, Mericka’s run-scoring single gave the North a 2-0 lead.
Britt got the South on the board in the bottom half of the inning with a run-scoring single, but Wimpy’s RBI triple followed by Rhodes’ RBI single allowed the North to tack on a couple more runs in the sixth.
The South would threaten late, but the North all-stars held on for the victory.
Wimpy, a Walters State signee, said playing with the state’s best players — there were 30 overall — is a memory she will cherish.
“For the past three days, it’s been something that I’ll never forget in my life,” said Wimpy, who finished fourth in Tuesday’s home run derby. “These girls, all of ’em are wonderful and they’re fun to be around and they’re fun to play ball with, and they are the best people in the state so it makes it more exciting to know that you [got] to play with them.”