NCHSAA State Playoffs: West Stanly powers by East in second round
Very few teams have been able to outslug the East Davidson lineup in 2013. West Stanly had no problems etching its name to that short list in Tuesday’s second round of the NCHSAA 2-A state playoffs.
The sticks in the visitor’s dugout were red hot, scorching 20 hits around the ballpark en route to a 12-6 decision that moves them on to the third round and brings an end to East’s season. Every player for the Colts had a hit in the contest that moved their record to 21-4. East concludes the year at 17-8.
“They have always been a good hitting team and they definitely outhit us tonight,” said EDHS head coach Amanda Akins. “They found holes to put it in and took advantage of our pitchers being off tonight.”
Serving as the No. 2 seed out of the Rocky River Conference, the Colts had a 4-1 lead vanish as the Golden Eagles rallied for four runs in the third inning to take a 5-4 edge. After a scoreless fourth, West broke free and the Eagles never caught back up.
Consecutive doubles from Macey Webb and Brenna Broadway tied the score, then an RBI single from Walker Barbee put West ahead to stay. Maddie Brown contributed a single to score two more runs, before Samantha Lowder pushed across the ninth run for the Colts on a single.
East pulled one run back in the bottom of the inning when Natalie Naturile led off with a single and scored on an infield single by Bailey Jones.
West piled on three more runs after that in the sixth, putting the Eagles in an unfamiliar territory.
“My kids got in a situation where they have not been that far down all season,” Akins said. “I think they really did not know what to do when they got in that situation, because most of the time we have been between three runs. When we got six runs down they panicked because they did not know what to do.”
After giving up five runs in the first three innings, West pitcher Savannah Blalock allowed just the one run over the final four innings while striking out eight.
East did not have one of its better defensive efforts of the year. In addition to critical errors, many times a throw would be made late to a base, allowing runners behind the play to move up 60 feet. Those extra bases began to translate into additional runs.
“We probably had more errors tonight than we had all of conference,” said Akins. “It caught up with us and every time we made an error that allowed them to move up a base. They ran the bases smart and those little things paid off for them in the end.”
EDHS held the lead first going up 1-0 on a leadoff single from Naturile and bloop single by Morgan Gallimore.
In the second West tied the score, then went up 4-1 with three runs in the third to chase East starter Brooke Walser from the game. Haley Ray came on in relief to finish the game.
The Eagles slugged their way back in front in the bottom of the third. Gallimore drove in her second run on an infield single, then Bailey Inman scored the second run after getting caught in a rundown between third and home. With two outs and two on, Morgan Key checked her swing and the West faithful shouted for an appeal to the first base umpire. He ruled the swing safe and gave Key new life. On the very next pitch, she poked a ball down the right field line for a two-run double.
West outscored East 8-1 from that point on.
“It was a big comeback for East this season for what has happened in the past several years,” Akins said. “Hopefully we can build off of it for next year.”
Notes: Lindsay Jackson went 3-for-3 for East while Naturile had two hits in her final game at East ... Macey Webb went 4-for-5 for the Colts and Kelsey Purdini slashed three hits.