NCHSAA Softball Championship Recaps:East Forsyth and Eastern Alamance open up with Shutout Victories

2022 1A Softball State Championship | South Stanly walks off Bear Grass Charter 4-3 to take Game 1
GREENSBORO, NC – South Stanly found themselves down 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth and rallied to plate three runs on a bases-clearing triple by Cassidy Smith to stun Bear Grass Charter 4-3 and take a one-game-to-none lead in the 1A State Championship Series. Smith was 2 for 4 in the game, but no hit in the game was bigger than her walk-off triple with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

Pitching dominated the early part of the game with both teams throwing up zeros on the board through the first five innings. However, Bear Grass nabbed the lead in the top of the sixth on a 2-RBI double by Alana Scott. The Bulls cut the Bears lead in half in the bottom half of the frame, scoring a single run on an RBI double by Mary-Ryan Hinson.

The Bears managed to get an insurance run in the top of the seventh, as Hall slapped a homer to right field to give her team a 3-1 lead, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulls scraped together the last-chance rally in the bottom of the inning to claim victory.

Ali Glover was solid in the circle for South Stanly on her way to picking up the win. Glover struck out 16 Bears hitters while allowing just two walks, though she did give up three earned runs and seven hits. Bear Grass starter Macy Bowen took the tough-luck loss giving up four runs, but only one earned, giving up eight hits and three walks to match her three strikeouts.

Mary Ryan Hinson from South Stanly and Kylie Smith from Bear Grass Charter were selected as the 2022 NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award winners for their teams. Game 2 is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Saturday at UNCG Softball Stadium.

2022 2A Softball State Championship | West Stanly powers past Washington 4-1 in Game 1
CHAPEL HILL, NC – West Stanly (28-4) got a dominant pitching performance from Lily Huneycutt and capitalized on three Washington (28-1) errors to win Game 1 of the 2022 Softball State Championship Series 4-1. Huneycutt was phenomenal, allowing just two hits in her seven innings of work, striking out 11 Pam Pack batters and giving up just one walk. She tacked on an RBI at the plate to help her own cause and handing Washington their first loss of the season.

The lone Washington run came on an absolute rocket off the bat of Ava Shae Mizell who launched a ball deep into the trees in left field in the third inning to give the Pam Pack a 1-0 lead with two outs in the inning. The lead was short-lived as the Colts responded with a pair of runs in the top half of the fourth. Teagan Ritchie ripped a one-out double off the wall in left center. Ashlyn Hughes followed her with a sharply hit grounder that kicked off the glove of Washington second baseman Laci Campbell and into right field, scoring Ritchie to tie the game. Campbell was able to make it to second as the Pam Pack threw the ball away trying to nab Ritchie at the plate. Brooklyn Lovin’s RBI single to left plated Campbell and put the Colts in front for good 2-1.

The Colts got another leadoff baserunner as Carmen McRae reached on the third Pam Pack error to lead off the fifth. She advanced to second on a wild pitch and Lilly Hartsell slapped a single to center, taking second on the throw to third with no one out. Huneycutt was able to plate the runner with an RBI ground out, giving the Colts a 3-1 lead, but Washington was able to avoid further damage in the inning. The final West Stanly run came in the sixth thanks to four straight singles that pushed Elizabeth Ingle across the plate on a single by McRae.

Prior to the game Ava Shae Mizell from Washington and Elizabeth Ingle from West Stanly were recognized as the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award winners for their respective teams. West Stanly will try to close out the series in Game 2 and win their third-straight State Championship as play is scheduled to begin at 12 noon on Saturday.

2022 3A Softball State Championship | Eastern Alamance nips North Buncombe 1-0 in Game 1 pitchers’ duel
GREENSBORO, NC – Eastern Alamance needed some two-out magic in the bottom of the seventh inning to avoid extra frames, slipping by North Buncombe 1-0. The Eagles capitalized on a hard-hit single by Kenzie Taylor to right that ended up getting past the Black Hawks’ right fielder and to the wall, giving Taylor enough time to circle the bases with two away and end the game 1-0.

Both pitchers proved to be a handful for the opposing offenses. North Buncombe’s Karlyn Pickens was nearly flawless striking out 13 batters and not issuing a single walk in the game. Her lone blemish was the unearned run in the seventh that came on the third hit she allowed in her 6.2 innings of work. Her opposite number, Eastern Alamance’s Kenna Raye Dark, matched her pitch for pitch, striking out 13 and issuing just a single walk. North Buncombe only managed a single hit off of Dark in the game, coming off the bat of Cheyanne Cable.

Addison Norton from North Buncombe and Valerie Byrd from Eastern Alamance were selected as recipients of the 3A Softball NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award winners for their teams. Game 2 in the series is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. tomorrow at UNC-Greensboro Softball Stadium. The Eagles will try to claim their second state title in the last three seasons.

2022 4A Softball State Championship | East Forsyth shuts out D.H. Conley 3-0 behind Deal’s 16 K’s
DURHAM, NC – East Forsyth earned a 3-0 win in Game 1 of the 4A State Championship Series, shutting out D.H. Conley behind a 16-strikeout performance by Kierston Deal. Deal was simply dominant in the game, giving up just four hits without issuing a single walk and striking out 16 of the 25 batters she faced. She also did great work at the plate, going 2 for 2 on the night and drawing a pair of walks in her four trips to the dish.

The Eagles broke the ice early, picking up the opening run of the game in the top of the second inning when Sophie Lecnar reached on an error to open the inning. She crossed the plate on an RBI groundout by Madison Jones to put East Forsyth in front 1-0. They added another run in the third when Kaitlyn King drew a leadoff walk and stole second base, taking third on a sacrifice bunt. That set the table for Madison McCarty who laid down a bunt and King beat the throw to the plate to go up 2-0.
East Forsyth tacked on a final insurance run in the top of the seventh when Clinard singled through the left side and moved up to second on King’s sacrifice bunt. She reached third on a ground out to the right side and came home as McCarty drove her home on an infield single to short.

Madison McCarty from East Forsyth and Aidan McHugh from D.H. Conley were selected as the 2022 4A Softball NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award Winners for their respective teams. Game 2 of the series is scheduled for 12 Noon Saturday at Duke University Softball Stadium.

Courtesy of JAMES ALVERSON, AIC and Director of Media for the NCHSAA