Prep Softball: Spartans outlast Eagles in slugfest
Dethroning Central Davidson from the top of the league standings has been East Davidson’s quest for a long time.
Champions in seven of the last eight years in the Central Carolina Conference, the Spartans appear to be a little more vulnerable in 2013, but made it clear in a slugfest Tuesday evening they are not going down without a fight. In a game that featured 20 runs and a trio of three-run homers, CDHS strung together a rally in the seventh inning to break a tie and prevail 12-8. Central’s Morgan Roach had one of the home runs, while Andrea Grant and Bailey Jones added long balls for the 7-4, 2-1 Eagles.
“It was going to be a hitting contest to see who outhit who,” said East coach Amanda Akins. “Sadly in the seventh inning we made some errors that were pretty costly. Had it not been for those errors it would probably have been a completely different game. It could have still been 8-8.”
With extra innings looming, the Spartans put the pressure on and put the game out of reach. Hunter Brown began the seventh with a double to the gap in left center. Moments later, Jack Byrd scorched a ball to left field that reached the fence. Brown raced home and Byrd scooted into third with a triple. Central had all the runs they needed, but added three insurance runs to be sure. Roach doubled to plate Byrd, then the Spartans picked up two more on a passed ball and fielder’s choice.
Spartan pitcher Kylie Ward sent the Eagles down in order in the bottom half.
Central’s bats were hot from the start on a frigid night, as Roach sailed her home run to left to make it 3-0 after one half inning.
In almost an identical fashion, East quickly tied the game in the bottom half on Jones’ bomb to left that sailed well over the fence and down the hill.
Not to be outdone, one inning later Grant disappeared a ball into the night. With two on, she got a ball up into the wind and it carried over the center field fence to propel the Eagles out to their first lead, 6-3.
Two of the runs would be earned back in the fourth by the Spartans, before Natalie Naturile scored on Grant’s double to give one back to the Eagles.
Central took an 8-7 lead in the fifth, but East was able to even it up in the home half. Brooklyn Hopkins walked with one out, moving to second on Morgan Key’s grounder. Bayley Plummer stepped in, delivering a single to plate Hopkins and make it a new game.
Central would score the four in the seventh, leaving East short of victory yet another time.
“We wanted it real bad, but it was one of those things where it was a good game and our kids didn’t give up,” Akins said. “I am very proud of that. We always have next time and we will have to work between now and then to get it.”
Grant finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Naturile had two hits.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.