Prep Softball: Ledford bats wake up in 10-5 win over Eagles
Circling the third base coaching box in the bottom of the fifth, Ledford coach Charlie Brown was searching for a good luck spot to stand in, trying to change the fortunes of his struggling offense. After the first batter got out, he turned to the dugout and said, “Nope, that’s not it.” He apparently found the hot spot with the next batter.
The Panthers scored three times in the inning on a three-run homer by Ashley Best, then dropped a six-spot on East Davidson in the sixth en route to a 10-5 victory. It was the second win of the day for the Panthers after they beat Central Davidson in the first game of the doubleheader.
“I had been waiting for us to break out all day,” said Brown. “We really just had not put together a few hits in a row. But we finally put it all together.”
Ledford (7-5) held a lead of 1-0 in the second inning after Meg Everhart’s solo shot.
The next two innings, the Golden Eagles were able to build a 3-1 advantage over LHS and freshman pitcher Megan Hayworth. In the third, Morgan Key drilled a two-run double off the fence that scored Morgan Gallimore and Bailey Jones. Then in the fourth, Haley Ray singled and was brought home on Natalie Naturile’s hit up the middle.
With three hits through four innings, Brown gathered his team and told them they were better than the three runs they had scored all day. They did not take his words lightly.
With one out, DeBerry singled before East coach Amanda Akins decided to switch things up and give the Ledford hitters a different look. She brought in Brooke Walser to replace Ray in the circle. Walser tossed four straight balls high of the zone to walk Jesse Hayworth. Behind 1-0 in the count to Best, Walser finally got one in the zone. Best jumped all over the pitch, sailing it well out of the park to shoot the Panthers ahead 4-3.
“Ashley’s blast was a huge confidence builder for us and helped settle us down,” said Brown. “I was wondering if we were ever going to score some runs. At one point I said we have scored three runs all day long and that is unusual for us. But we finally put it together. I think we were a little anxious. This is really the first warm weather day game we have played and the ball was popping off the bats. It just took a little while.”
Ledford piled on six more runs in the sixth to take a 10-3 edge. East (8-5) put up a fight in the seventh sending eight to the plate that accounted for two runs, but DeBerry helped her freshman pitcher out, coming up with a diving catch to end it.
“It turned in a hurry,” said Akins. “When we changed over I think Brooke got a little nervous with a bigger crowd and not having pitched in that really. But they just started hitting the ball and when they started hitting it, there was nothing you could do with it.”
DeBerry went 3-for-4, Best was 2-for-4 with four RBIs, Everhart had two hits and Bayley Griffin added two hits.