Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
FRANKLINTON — The Hunt Lady Warriors are slipping and sliding into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A softball playoffs.
Hunt claimed the third and final playoff spot from the Big East Conference with a 7-3 win Friday at Franklinton in a one-game seeding playoff. Hunt, now 10-9, will await its playoff assignment when the NCHSAA unveils the brackets Monday.
“It was a must-win for us. It really was,” said Hunt head coach Miguel Hall. “We could have ended up 32nd and had to travel.”
Hall said that only nine players made the trip to Franklinton due to some having other obligations. After the Lady Warriors lost 20-0 in the resumption of a suspended game Wednesday, May 1, Hall said there was some internal issues that needed to be resolved.
“We did a little bonding together on Thursday,” he said, revealing that they had some fun with a Slip N Slide water slide, which left Hall in worse shape than his players.
“My knees are already bad from playing over the years,” groaned Hall, a football player at Hunt more than three decades ago. “My whole body hurt Friday morning!”
But the bonding experience led to much better play for the Lady Warriors.
“They were a lot better on Friday. We played a lot better as a unit,” Hall said.
Triples by sophomore McKenzie House and freshman Madison Mercer highlighted a four-run third inning for Hunt, which opened up a 6-1 lead. Both players went 2 for 3 to lead the Lady Warriors’ eight-hit attack.
Sophomore Skyler Yarolin pitched all seven innings to get the win. Hall also credited a defensive switch that moved junior Bri Tucker to third base, Mercer to shortstop and senior Brittany Glover to second base as effective.
Franklinton dropped to 9-6 as both teams went 5-5 in Big East play in the regular season.
Score by innings:
Hunt 114 010 0 — 7
Franklinton 100 011 0 — 3
WP-Skyler Yarolin 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Hunt: Bri Tucker 2-3, 2 R, RBI; McKenzie House 2-3, 2 R, 3B; Madison Mercer 2-3, R, 3B, 2 RBIs; Amber Watson 1-2, RBI; Hannah Williams 1-2, R, RBI; Desi Norris 1-3, RBI.
Lady Panthers blanked in tune-up at Topsail
HAMPSTEAD — North Johnston’s 13-game varsity softball winning streak came to an end Friday but the Lady Panthers hope to start another one right away.
Playing a final tune-up game before the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs begin this week, North Johnston, ranked No. 10 in the state 2-A rankings by MaxPreps.com, fell 2-0 at 3-A No. 5 Topsail.
It was the first time the Eastern Plains Conference Lady Panthers (17-5) have been shut out all season. The Lady Pirates, champions of the 3-A/4-A Mideastern Conference, only managed four hits off Lady Panthers starting pitcher Amberlynn Pearce, but two came in the bottom of the sixth when Topsail scored both its runs. Neenee Jordan stroked a one-out triple off Pearce and scored on a single up the middle by Syd Hartgrove, the next batter.
Tyesha Williams reached on a fielder’s choice before taking second on a wild pitch. She scored the insurance run on Darbie Lisk’s single.
North Johnston, which banged out seven hits, left the bases loaded in the second and stranded two base runners each in the third and sixth innings. Lindsey Massengill and Blayke Batten had two hits each for the Lady Panthers.
Score by innings:
North Johnston 000 000 0 — 0
Topsail 000 002 x — 0
WP-Addy Howard (11-2) 7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO. LP-Amberlynn Pearce 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — North Johnston: Lindsey Massengill 2-3; Blayke Batten 2-3; Jordyn Scott 1-3. Topsail: Darbie Lisk 2-3, RBI; Neenee Jordan 1-3, R, 3B; Syd Hartgrove 1-3, RBI.