KENLY — The North Johnston High softball team, an Eastern Plains Conference tri-champion and the No. 8 seed among 32 East Region qualifiers, climbed into the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association with a 6-3 victory against visiting West Bladen.
The Lady Panthers hiked their record to 17-7 and, on Tuesday, visit No 1-seeded Jordan Matthews, which advanced Saturday with a 5-1 conquest of Beddingfield, also an Eastern Plains tri-champion.
Trailing 1-0, North Johnston plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. West Bladen forged a 3-3 tie with two runs in the fourth. However, in the bottom half of the inning, North Johnston matched those two runs and added an insurance run in the sixth.
North Johnston collected nine hits as senior Olivia Narron batted 4 for 4 with a triple and drove in two runs. Freshman Jordyn Scott doubled twice in three at-bats and contributed an RBI. Junior Kelly White doubled and sophomore Jada Santiago drove in two runs.
In the circle, sophomore Lexi Godwin boosted her record to 6-1, allowing just three hits while walking two and striking out four.
Losing pitcher Laikyn Pait slugged a home run for West Bladen.
Score by innings:
West Bladen 010 200 0 — 3
North Johnston 030 201 x — 6
WP-Lexi Godwin (6-1) 7 IP 3 H 3 R 3 ER 2 BB 4 SO. LP-Laikyn Pait 6 IP 9 H 6 R 4 ER 2 BB 0 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — West Bladen: Laikyn Pait 1-3, HR, RBI, R; Carley Dawson 1-3, R; Alanna Ludlum 1-3; North Johnston: Olivia Narron 4-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Jordyn Scott 2-3, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI; Kelly White 1-3, 2B, R; Taylor Narron 1-4, RBI.