Fast Start Leads 'Stangs Past Knights in Softball
In its final tune-up before starting the second part of the season, the North Moore girls’ softball team got out of the starting gate fast.
Playing at Pfeiffer University Jack Ingram Field against host Gray Stone, the Lady Mustangs strung together six hits and a pair of walks for six first-inning runs en route to a 10-2 victory over the Lady Knights.
North Moore completes its regular season with an 11-5 Yadkin Valley Conference mark and 16-7 overall. The Mustangs go into the conference tournament Monday with the league’s No. 4 seed and will host fifth seeded West Montgomery (8-8 YVC, 9-8 overall). The game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
The semifinals and championship games are slated to be played at South Stanly Wednesday and Thursday. The state playoffs are scheduled to start May 8.
“Once we got that six-run lead, we started working different game situations,” said North Moore coach Sammy McNeill. “We wanted to work on different things to help prepare us for the playoffs. After all that’s what counts. We were able to play a lot of different players to get them some experience — you never know when you might need them.
“We’re playing well right now and it looks like the 1-A classification is wide open. According to the rankings, the conference has three of the top ranked teams in the state (East Montgomery, Chatham Central and South Stanly). We lost a lot of one-run games to those teams during the season. We’ve got a good group of girls and I’ll take my chances with this group of girls.”
Ashley Davis was the starting pitcher for North Moore while Sydney Freeman started for Gray Stone. Both pitchers went seven innings, with Davis finishing with four strikeouts and Freeman three. Davis gave up nine hits while Freeman gave up 17 hits. Freeman had a pair of walks and Davis none.
The Mustangs wasted no time with leadoff batters Gwen Steslicke and Heather Dunmyer getting back-to-back singles. After an out, Julie Williams and Casey Turner hammered out singles, each driving in one run. Kasi Martin and Andre Brower drew walks, loading the bases. Holly Green drove in a run with a single and in her second plate appearance of the inning, Steslicke collected her second of four hits for the game, giving her team a 6-0 lead.
Gray Stone showed its first scoring threat in the bottom of the second inning when Heidi Forman, Katie Kepley and Sydney Cole had three straight hits, loading the bases with one out. But Davis was able to get the next two batters out without a run plating.
Gray Stone finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning when Kepley reached base on a single with one out. She later scored on a bad throw that went into the Mustangs’ outfield, allowing her to round the bases for the Knights’ first run.
Gray Stone added its second run in the fifth inning when Freeman hit a single into right-center field with one out. She later scored on an RBI single by Kepley, trimming the Mustangs’ lead to 6-2. North Moore countered with a run in the top of the fifth inning when Turner slapped a single into center field and later scored on Brower’s single into left field, putting North Moore up 7-2.
North Moore added three more runs in the sixth inning for a 10-2 lead. The rally started when Steslicke reached base on a single into left-center field with one out. After a second out, Steslicke scored on a double by Jessie Sheffield. Sheffield scored from second base on a single from Williams. Serra Carmines came on to pinch run for Williams, the team’s catcher. She later scored on an RBI single by Martin.
Steslicke finished with four singles while teammate Turner added three singles and an RBI. Martin and Brower had two singles each and one RBI. Sheffield had a double and RBI while Dunmyer, Martindale and Green had one single each and one RBI.
Freeman, Kepley and Jordan Orich had two singles each with Cole, Allison Barnett and Forman adding one single each.
Gray Stone wraps up its regular season with a 5-11 league mark and 8-10 overall. Gray Stone travels to either East Montgomery or Chatham Central for their tournament opener.
Correction: In North Moore’s previous game with South Davidson, Kasi Martin was the Mustangs’ winning pitcher.
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