NCHSAA Softball Championship Recaps:Eastern Alamance takes 3-A State Title/D.H. Conley takes Two-out-of-Three from East Forsyth

2022 1A Softball State Championship | South Stanly wraps up series with 4-0 shutout of Bear Grass Charter
GREENSBORO, NC – South Stanly captured the program’s third fast-pitch State Championship with a 4-0 shutout win in game 2 over Bear Grass Charter in the 1A Softball State Championship Series. In stark contrast to game 1, the Bulls did not need late inning heroics to pin down the win, scoring one run in the top of the first and tacking on single runs in the fourth, fifth, and six innings on their way to victory.

Ali Glover was phenomenal in the circle for South Stanly, twirling a complete game, four-hitter with just two walks issued. She struck out 10 of the 27 batters she faced in the game, cruising through her 106 pitches. Glover pitched the full game in both games of the series and was selected as the series’ Most Valuable Player.

South Stanly got their first run in the top of the first as Kassie Swink led the game off with a single to right. She eventually made her way across the plate thanks to a one-out double to right center by Mattie Poulos that put the Bulls in front 1-0. Bear Grass pitcher Madi Hall managed to squelch the Bulls offense for the next two innings, racking up a few strikeouts on her way to six in the game.

However, the Bulls offense did not stay quiet long, getting back on the scoreboard in the fourth as Mary-Ryan Hinson drew a leadoff walk and came across the plate after two groundball outs moved her to third and she was able to score on a two-out passed ball. South Stanly got another run in the fifth with a leadoff double by Alexis Harward. She scored on an RBI-groundout by Poulos. The Bulls tacked on an insurance run in the sixth as Hinson doubled with one out before an RBI single through the left side by Tyson gave South Stanly a 4-0 lead.

Bear Grass Charter finished the year 24-6. The Bears won the Atlantic 5 1A and claimed the program’s first Regional Championship. The Bears made the State Championship Series for the first time in program history.

South Stanly wrapped the season 30-3. The Bulls won their third State Championship in fast-pitch, their first since the 1A title in 2012. The Bulls made an appearance in the State Championship Series for the second straight year.

2022 2A Softball State Championship | West Stanly holds off Washington 3-2 in Game 2 to complete sweep
CHAPEL HILL, NC – West Stanly had to hold on in the seventh inning, but the Colts were able to keep Washington off the board in the final inning to hold on to a 3-2 victory in Game 2 and complete the series sweep to win the 2A State Championship. The Colts won the State Championship for the third straight season.
Colts pitcher Lily Huneycutt was tremendous again in game 2, though things started out a little rocky for the junior. Huneycutt hit the first batter of the game and then gave up a home run to the next batter, Morgan Eisenzimmer who cleared the left center fence to put the Pam Pack in front 2-0. However, Huneycutt settled in and gave up just two more hits, a total of three in the game, and allowed just one walk as she struck out 10 Washington batters in a complete game.

Huneycutt picked up her second win of the series and struck out a total of 21 batters in the two-game series. She also drove in a run during game 1 on an RBI groundout to help her own cause. She was selected as the series’ Most Valuable Player.

Despite jumping out to the early lead, Washington couldn’t keep the Colts off the board in the bottom of the first as a leadoff walk of Kristen Smith came back to haunt the Pam Pack when she scored on a sacrifice fly by Elizabeth Ingle to cut the lead to 2-1. The Colts surged in front in the second inning, loading the bases on a pair of singles and a hit batsman. That set the table for Smith who drilled a double down the right field line to drive in a pair and put her team in front 3-2.

Washington did not go down without a fight. Down a run and down to their last two outs, Olvia Paszt slapped a triple off the wall in right center, sliding in just under the tag to bring life to the Washington cause. Huneycutt mustered a little more from within to strike out the next two Pam Pack batters, closing out the game and the series.

Washington finished the season 28-2. The Pam Pack were the champions of the Eastern Plains 2A and reached the State Championship Series for the first time in program history after winning their first Regional Championship.

West Stanly completed the year 29-4. The Colts returned to the State Championship Series for the third straight season, completing the three-peat with a lost COVID-year sandwiched in the middle of their three titles.

2022 3A Softball State Championship | Eastern Alamance gets past North Buncombe 3-2 in another thriller
GREENSBORO, NC – The Eagles from Eastern Alamance got more late inning heroics to close out the 2022 3A State Championship Series, beating North Buncombe 3-2 in Game 2 and sweeping the series. Eastern took advantage of a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh inning in a 2-2 tie, scoring the winning run without the benefit of a hit and capturing the Eagles’ second fast-pitch State Championship.

With the score knotted at two, Helton walked to lead off the seventh inning and used her speed to steal second base before advancing to third on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning, Helton slid in safely at home on a wild pitch to put her team in front for good 3-2.

The Eagles launched their sweep bid in the top of the first with a pair of runs. Makiya Graves opened the game with a single through the right side and Kenna Rae Dark drew a walk to put two on with no one out. Graves was thrown out at third, but Dark was able to score on a throwing error that allowed Kyra Helton to third. Helton later scampered home on a wild pitch to go up 2-0.

North Buncombe answered the Eastern early barrage with a run of their own in the first. Karlyn Pickens got on to lead off the inning when she was hit by a pitch, moving to third on a wild pitch. She then scored on another wild pitch, trimming the Eastern lead to 2-1. The Black Hawks picked up another run to tie the game at two in the sixth, plating a run on a throwing error in the inning.

Pickens was outstanding in the circle for North Buncombe, striking out 14 batters and allowing just one earned run on two hits. She was outdueled by Dark who pitched seven innings in game two with 8 strikeouts and just two runs given up in her 99 pitches.

2022 4A Softball State Championship | D.H. Conley extends the series with 2-1 win over East Forsyth in Game 2
DURHAM, NC – D.H. Conley evened the series with East Forsyth, knocking off the Eagles 2-1 to push the 4A Softball State Championship Series to a decisive Game 3. Emma Adams struck out three Eagles and limited East Forsyth to just five hits and a walk in route to picking up the victory for the Vikings.

East Forsyth drew first blood scoring a run in the bottom of the first thanks to a leadoff single by Grace Flynn who then stole second and came across the plate on an RBI single to left by Madison McCarty before the Vikings could record an out. The Vikings finally scratched back in the fifth, scoring their first run of the series on a throwing error that allowed Riley Trueblood to cross the plate and tie the game at 1.

East Forsyth pitcher Kierston Deal was phenomenal again, striking out 13 batters and allowing just three hits. Despite her dominance, the Vikings got to her again in the seventh, as Riely Trueblood walked and stole second and third before her sister Mia Trueblood drove her home with a sacrifice fly to take the Vikings first lead of the series and the game.

2022 4A Softball State Championship | D.H. Conley grabs a title with 3-0 shut out of East Forsyth
DURHAM, NC – D.H. Conley won back-to-back elimination games to take the 4A State Championship Series from East Forsyth two games to one. The Vikings scratched out three runs and got a combined four-hit shutout from Olivia Hadnott and Emma Adams to triumph in Game 3 by a 3-0 score.

Hadnott was outstanding for the first six innings of the contest striking out 11 Eagles and only allowing four hits and a pair of walks. Adams came in to close the final inning after getting the win in Game 2. She struck out one batter without allowing a baserunner to pick up the save. Adams was selected as the Series Most Valuable Player pitching 15 innings for the Vikings, striking out eight and picking up a win and a save from the circle. She also went 3 for 7 with an RBI in the series to help the Viking cause.

Neither team could muster any offense through the first three and a half innings, but after pitching 17 innings in the first two and a half games combined, East Forsyth’s Kierston Deal gave up three runs in the next two innings, the fourth and fifth of Game 3, which lifted the Vikings to their fourth fast-pitch State Championship. Deal finished the series with 40 strikeouts pitching all 20 innings of the series for the Eagles.

The first run of the game came in the fourth when Nichols was hit by a pitch and then stole second and third before a one-out RBI single by Adams gave the Vikings a 1-0 lead. The Vikings added a pair in the fifth as Riley Trueblood singled to lead off the inning before stealing second. Her sister Mia Trueblood smacked a triple to left to make it 2-0 and Knight rapped a triple to right to make it 3-0.

East Forsyth finished up the year 27-3. The Eagles were 14-0 and champions in the Central Piedmont 4A. They won the Western Regional Championship for the second straight year.

D.H. Conley completed the season 30-2 and 12-0 in the Big Carolina 3A/4A, winning the league championship. The Vikings won the Regional Finals for the third time since the format shifted to a best-of-three series in 2012, appearing in their third State Championship Series. It was their first State Championship win since they claimed the 4A crown in 2015..

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