Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
KINSTON — In what has become an annual North Carolina Christian School Association tradition, Wilson Christian and Alamance Christian will meet Saturday for the 2-A girls soccer championship after both teams won their semifinals matches Friday at Bethel Christian.
The Lady Chargers, seeded No. 1 from the East Region, earned their third straight trip to the final with a 6-0 shutout of West No. 2 Union Grove of Lexington. Alamance Christian, the defending state champion and top seed from the West, skirted past Ramseur Faith Christian 4-0 in the second semifinal.
Wilson Christian (13-4-1), which outlasted the Lady Warriors in four overtimes in the 2017 final in Wilson, owns a 3-1 victory over Alamance Christian (11-2) at home way back on March 12.
“Outside of our game this year, we know them well,” Lady Chargers head coach Don Samson said of the Lady Warriors, who beat WCA 3-2 in the 2018 championship game in Wilson. “There’s been some injuries for both sides along the way but it doesn’t alter what each team tries to do.
“We enjoy trying to beat each other but we really enjoy the competition with Alamance.”
As has been the case in recent games, the Lady Chargers didn’t waste much time finding the net. Junior Lydia Renfrow converted a pass from sophomore Lea Gossett into a goal in the seventh minute. That caused Union Grove (6-4) to shift to a defensive format.
“Once we got on the board, they immediately tried slowing it down, which took them out of any sort of offensive chance at all,” he said.
The Lady Chargers needed a little bit of time to figure it but Gossett broke through on a pass from Renfrow in the 23rd minute and then scored without help in the 27th. Gossett then notched her second assist in the 39th minute on senior forward Skylar Pone’s goal to send the Lady Chargers into halftime with a 4-0 lead.
Gossett completed her second straight hat trick in the 47th minute with senior Ashley Hardy providing the assist while Pone finished the scoring in the 56th in unassisted fashion.
The Lady Chargers blasted 16 shot to just two by Union Grove while WCA senior goalkeeper Christy Jones had two saves in registering her and the team’s 11th shutout.
Gossett, who was out all last spring with an injury, has returned to form this season with 32 goals.
“You can see her game get back to where it was, but just to watch her improve in her leadership,” Samson said. “She’s really stepped up bringing other girls along and improving their game and when the game gets tight, stepping it up a notch.”
Lady Knights edge Christ Covenant, 2-1
A deep shot by eighth-grader Anna Grace Beddingfield just before halftime took a fortuitous bounce and proved to be the winning goal for the Greenfield School girls soccer team in its win over Christ Covenant of Winterville in the first round of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A playoffs Friday at Forbes Field.
Beddingfield’s shot from some 35 yards bounced over the head of the Lady Spartans goalkeeper and into the net for a 2-0 lead for No. 4-seeded Greenfield (12-7).
It was the second goal in two minutes for the Lady Knights as junior Caroline Stone and seventh-grader Serenity McNair hooked up for the game’s first goal in the 39th minute. Stone sent “a well-placed through ball between the center backs,” said Greenfield head coach Eric Nguyen, that McNair ran to and delivered a shot that was blocked by the Christ Covenant keeper. The carom came back to McNair, who didn’t squander the second chance and sent the shot into the net.
Christ Covenant (9-6), the No. 5 seed, halved the margin on sophomore Taylor Baxter’s chip shot nine minutes into the second half, but the Lady Knights’ defense held the rest of the way.
Greenfield totaled 17 shots to 13 by the Lady Spartans.
Greenfield will face top-seeded Kerr-Vance Academy (11-2), a 7-0 victor over No. 8 Woodlawn School (3-13) in Friday’s quarterfinals, in Tuesday’s semifinals match in Henderson.
Woodard fires Knights into semis
Sophomore Nathan Woodard pitched five shutout innings as Greenfield School opened the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A baseball playoffs with a 6-1 defeat of Northeast Academy of Lasker on Friday night at Fleming Stadium.
Woodard, now 7-1, gave up one hit and walked three while striking out 14 as the No. 2-seeded Knights advanced to the semifinals Tuesday, May 14. Greenfield, the Coastal Plain Independents Conference champion, will host No. 6 Albemarle School (7-9), a 2-0 upset winner over No. 3 Pungo Christian Academy on Friday.
Patrick Smith drove in the first run for the Knights (14-6) in the first inning. Greenfield doubled its lead in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Woodard to score Justin Holland.
The Knights broke open the game with four runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by Jacob Wiggs’ two-run single to left field.
Wiggs led Greenfield with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate while Ty Weatherford doubled in two at-bats.
Northeast, the No. 7 seed, exited 7-9.
WCA into winners bracket final
KINSTON — Wilson Christian took a step toward its seventh straight North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A softball championship with an 11-1 win over host Bethel Christian in Friday’s first round of the double-elimination state championship tournament.
The Lady Chargers (5-7), the No. 1 seed from the East Region, only had six hits — the same number as the Lady Trojans (2-7) — but WCA feasted on 17 walks issued by Bethel Christian pitcher Shelby Dilda.
Freshman Jennifer Edmondson led the Lady Chargers with a 2-for-3 showing with two RBIs, including a bases-loaded walk with one out in the bottom of the six to end the contest via the mercy rule.
Edmondson went all six innings to get the win in the pitching circle, allowing one earned run, walking three and striking out six.
Holland Miller slugged a home run in three at-bats and drove in two runs for the Lady Chargers, who will face West No. 1 Lexington Union Grove in the winners bracket final Saturday morning at 11:30. If the Lady Chargers win, they’ll advance to the championship game at 2:30 p.m. but a loss will send them to the losers bracket final against either Bethel Christian or Rocky Mount New Life Christian at 1 p.m.
Score by innings:
Bethel Christian 001 000 — 1
Wilson Christian 202 403 — 11
WP-Jennifer Edmondson 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO. LP-Shelby Dilda 5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 17 BB, 8 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Wilson Christian: Holland Miller 1-3, HR, 2 RBIs; Jennifer Edmondson 2-3, 2 RBIs; Dani Reece 1-3, RBI; Paige Barnes 1-2, RBI.
Eight-run 4th sinks Fike at E. Alamance
MEBANE — Through 4 1/3 innings Friday night, the Fike High varsity softball team was in an enviable position at No. 2 seed Eastern Alamance in the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by sophomore Lindsey Curlings, that margin dissipated in a torrent of hits from the Lady Eagles.
Winning pitcher Kenna Raye Dark held the Lady Golden Demons to just two hits and hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, part of a eight-run surge that served to eliminate Fike by an 8-1 margin.
Fike, the No. 15 seed and the second-place team from the Big East, had its season closed at 12-8. Eastern Alamance, the Mid-State Conference champions, moved to 19-2 and will face No. 10 Hillsborough Cedar Ridge in the third round.
Eastern Alamance produced 13 hits, seven against Fike losing pitcher Leann Pittman. Pittman, a senior, allowed seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, with all five runs being earned. She added the other hit against Dark. Curlings’ single in the third scored senior Taylor Little, who walked.
“We had a lot of momentum,” Fike head coach Josh Jenkins said of the early going. “We were getting the bat on the ball, but hitting it right at people.”
Eastern Alamance tacked on a solo homer later in the fourth. Morgan Lawson was 2 for 3 for the Lady Eagles.
Fike careers ended for Haley Waddell, Pittman and Little.
Score by innings:
Fike 001 000 0 — 1
Eastern Alamance 000 800 0 — 8
WP-Kenna Raye Dark 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO. LP-Leann Pittman 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Fike: Lindsey Curlings 1-3, RBI, Leann Pittman 1-3; Eastern Alamance: Kenna Raye Dark 2-4, HR, 3 RBI, Morgan Lawson 2-3.
Ladybirds bow to Harnett Central
STANHOPE — Harnett Central smacked Southern Nash with four runs in the top of the first inning and the Ladybirds never recovered on their way to a season-ending 10-2 loss in the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A softball playoffs Friday night at Southern Nash.
The Ladybirds, seeded No. 8 in the 3-A East Region and champions of the Big East Conference, banged out nine hits but hurt themselves with five errors as they finished with a 17-5 record. The No. 9 Lady Trojans (14-5), champions of the Tri-County Conference, will visit top-seeded D.H. Conley in the third round Tuesday.
Junior Carrigan Ewers (9-5) started in the pitching circle and went 3 1/3 innings in absorbing the loss. She only allowed one hit and walked two but gave up four earned runs out of the five allowed. She gave way to sophomore Kierstin Cooper in the fourth.
Freshman Alexa Daniel doubled and singled in three at-bats while Taylor Bailey was 2 for 4. Junior Elisabeth Collie’s two-run single in the bottom of the seventh accounted for Southern Nash’s only runs.
Greene Central falls to Currituck
BARCO — The 2019 varsity softball season for Greene Central High ended in the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A playoffs by a 11-1 margin in six innings against Northeastern Coastal champion Currituck County.
The Knights, seeded No. 6 among the 32 East Regional qualifiers, walked off with six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Currituck advances into the third round at North Johnston with an 18-3 record while No. 22-seeded Greene Central finished 12-8.
The Lady Rams were limited to four hits and a fifth-inning run by junior Currituck pitcher Layla Cartwright, who struck out 14 of the 18 batters that were retired.
Seniors Katelin Uzzell and Madison Holloman and sophomores Laura Wade and Abby Burress each hit safely for Greene Central of the Eastern Carolina Conference. Wade was the losing pitcher.
The Knights slammed 16 hits as Cartwright, senior Shelbey Pippin and junior Michelle Mixon each batted 3 for 4. Freshman Gracey Capps drove in three runs while senior Faith Hughes and junior Destiny Moyers each collected two RBIs. Hughes, Pippin and Moyers each doubled.
Greene Central careers ended for seniors Hughes, Holloman, Allison Wade and Elexie Sutton.
Score by innings:
Greene Central 000 010 — 1
Currituck 041 006 — 11
WP-Layla Cartwright 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 14 SO. LP-Laura Wade 5 2/3 IP, 16 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
LEADING HITTERS — Greene Central: Abby Burress 1-3, Madison Holloman 1-3, Laura Wade 1-3, Katelin Uzzell 1-4; Currituck: Layla Cartwright 3-4, RBI; Shelbey Pippin 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Michelle Mixon 3-4, Destiny Moyers 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Gracey Capps 2-4, 3 RBI; Faith Hughes 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI.