Lady Pats Bounce Back Against Hoke
Bobbie McDaniel and Brenna Barber both had banner nights for the Pinecrest softball team Tuesday to help lead the Lady Patriots to a 6-0 league win over the Hoke County Bucks.
On Cancer Awareness Night at Pinecrest, sponsored in full by Pinehurst Radiology, McDaniel tossed a one-hit shutout, allowing two walks while registering eight strikeouts to get the victory.
The junior pitcher also helped her own cause with the bat, going 2-for-3 on the night with a triple, two RBIs and a run scored.
“This feels awesome,” said McDaniel after the game. “On the mound I was able to have success mostly because I was able to hit my spots. I feel like the win gives us some positive momentum going forward, and it is nice to have that because it allows us to go into the next game confident.”
With the conference win Pinecrest opened its 4-A Southeastern Conference season with a mark of 1-0 and moved to 2-1 overall on the season.
The visiting Bucks’ only hit of the game came in the first inning on a lead-off single.
From there McDaniel retired 15 of the next 17 batters she faced, including six via strikeouts, to keep Hoke (1-3, 0-1 SEC) off the scoreboard.
After two scoreless innings the Pinecrest offense broke through with three runs in the bottom of the third. Freshman center-fielder Bri Embler started things off with a single, and later scored along with Riley Robinson on a two-run single by McDaniel.
Then, with two outs, Barber busted a triple to right-center that scored sophomore catcher Carmen Love, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
Barber’s big blast gave the Patriots a 3-0 lead. She finished the game 2-for-3 with the bat and also got a stolen base. Before the game the sophomore shortstop caught the ceremonial first pitch, which was tossed by her aunt Kim Barber, a cancer survivor from Cameron.
“It was really sweet to be able to catch the first pitch for my aunt tonight,” said Brenna Barber. “It is a special memory I will always treasure. I am also proud of myself for hitting the ball like I did. I hardly ever hit it and to have two big hits in front of all my family in attendance tonight due to the special occasion is a great feeling.”
Pinecrest extended its lead to 4-0 through five innings of action on an RBI sacrifice grounder by Love that brought home McDaniel.
In the top of the sixth inning Hoke used a catcher’s interference, a Patriot throwing error and a wild pitch to mount a one-out threat with runners on second and third base.
However, McDaniel was up to the task as she got a full-count strikeout followed by a 1-3 force out to retire the side in style.
Pinecrest tallied twice in its final at-bat when Robinson laced a laser shot down the third-base line to plate Kaylin Fipps and Embler.
On the night Robinson went 2-for-3 with the bat and also collected a base-on-balls. Embler also finished 2-for-3 and scored twice in the tilt.
After the game Patriot head coach Jessica Grooms admitted that her team’s performance was the perfect remedy for dealing with Pinecrest’s 13-0 loss to cross-county rival 1-A North Moore (4-0) the day before (Monday) in Robbins.
“After a tough outing to start the week, the girls rebounded great,” said Grooms. “Before the game I told them we needed to have a short memory, and they did by taking advantage of the chances they were given tonight.
“This win was a great one for us and takes a lot of the pressure off.”
The Patriots move forward this evening (Friday) with a 7 p.m. SEC league clash against Lumberton on Military Appreciation Night at Pinecrest in Southern Pines.
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