Lady Mustangs Suffer First Loss
The North Moore softball team traveled to South Stanly Thursday for a Yadkin Valley Conference contest that could help determine the conference race.
The Lady Mustangs were coming off a 9-1 trouncing of West Montgomery the night before while South Stanly, ranked No. 1 in the North Carolina Softball Coaches Association state 1-A polls, was coming off a 2-0 extra-inning loss to third-ranked Chatham Central.
The chilly conditions had an effect during the game as the two teams combined for 13 errors, but it was the host Lady Rebel Bulls that hung on for a 10-6 victory. North Moore committed eight errors while South Stanly had five, most coming after it built a 5-0 lead.
The loss was the Mustangs first this season after opening with five straight victories, three in league action, giving them a 3-1 conference mark and 5-1 overall. South Stanly is 1-1 in league action and 2-2 overall.
Senior Ashley Davis got the pitching nod for the Mustangs, pitching one and two-thirds innings before freshman Cyrenia Chalfinch took over. Davis had two strikeouts while giving up three hits and three runs. Chalfinch took the loss, fanning three batters and allowing eight scattered hits.
Emily Hearne was the starter for South Stanly, pitching seven innings, striking out two batters and allowing nine hits.
The Mustangs opened the top of the first inning by going three-up and three-down.
In the bottom half of the frame, Bulls’ leadoff batter Haley Carpenter lined the ball into left field for a single, then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout for the second out, a throwing error by the Mustangs let Steely Russell reach first base safely and allowed Carpenter to score the game’s first run. Later, Russell was thrown out at second base trying to steal on a good throw from Mustang catcher Andrea Brower.
In the top of the second frame, Chalfinch became the first Mustang to reach base when her grounder got past the Bulls’ shortstop and center fielder, allowing her to reach second base with two outs. However, she was stranded as the next batter struck out.
In the bottom half of the second inning, the Bulls plated four more runs with the aid of a couple of Mustang errors. With two outs in the inning, Mustang coach Sammy McNeill brought Chalfinch to the mound. After giving up one unearned run, she blanked the Bulls over the next three innings.
North Moore finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning when senior Jessie Sheffield hit the ball off the fence in center field, giving her a double. Sheffield scored when junior Amber Williams reached base on an error.
The Mustangs added another run in the fifth inning when Brower led off with a double into left field. After a fly-out to the shortstop, sophomore Gwen Steslicke beat out an infield single, moving Brower to third base. Brower scored on a single into right field by junior Heather Dunmyer, trimming the Bulls’ lead to 5-2.
South Stanly doubled its run total in the bottom of the sixth inning taking advantage of two errors and five hits, putting them on top 10-2. The Mustangs tried to rally in their final at-bat, scoring four runs. Taylor Sheffield came off the bench to get the rally started, reaching base on a throwing error. Steslicke followed with a double into left field, putting runners at second and third bases with no outs.
Dunmyer drove both runners home with a double into center field. After a strikeout, Jessie Sheffield got on base when the ball got past the shortstop and moved to second base while Dunmyer scored the inning’s third run. Jessie Sheffield scored later on a double hit deep into left-center field by Chalfinch.
The Bulls were able to halt the rally with a couple of groundouts.
Steslicke and Dunmyer finished with one single and one double each, while Dunmyer drove in three runs. Jessie Sheffield, Brower and Chalfinch had one double each with Chalfinch and Jessie Sheffield having one RBI each. Casey Turner and Kasi Martin added one single each.
The Bulls had 11 hits with Chelsey Culp finishing with a pair of doubles.
North Moore travels to East Montgomery Tuesday, Albemarle Wednesday and Gray Stone Friday. Games start at 4:30 p.m.
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