EAST MEETS WEST: Eastern Randolph awaits West Stanly Colts in 2A state finals
Published 6:14 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2019
The Eastern Randolph Wildcats, West’s opponent in the 2019 2A State Finals Series, have seen adversity but have worked their way into a chance for the school’s first state softball title since 2010.
Fifth-year head coach LaVette Graham brings 21 years of showcase softball coaching to the program.
Like the Colts, a southpaw sophomore pitcher will take the circle. Savannah Beaver is 23-3 with a 0.60 ERA. In 176 innings, she has struck out 189 batters with 15 walks; opponents have hit .168 against her.
Graham said Beaver has matured this season and continues to get better and stronger. She has “dedication to her team and her teammates. We go as she goes.”
Adversity has been something the team has endured and overcome all season, Graham said.
“We have been battle tested. We had three teams in our conference which could have been (going to the finals)…we had to learn to come together. They really could have folded; these girls fought hard to get where they are. I’m not taking even half the credit. The girls put the hammer down.”
Offensively, the Wildcats are hitting .378 as a team putting the ball in play rather then over the fence, an approach favored by the team’s staff.
“It’s not about who hits the triple, the home run. Sometimes its all about working a pitcher down in the count…I would rather have quality at-bats then one player get hot,” Graham said.
“We have players down deep inside who really can swing for the fence…it’s not always easy against great pitching to hit the ball out.”
The Wildcats went 12-0 in winning the PAC 7 title but lost in the tournament finals, which Graham said has propelled the team in the state playoffs.
“(That loss) put a bad taste in their mouth. We went back to work…it’s never good (to lose) but it may have woken up a sleeping giant.”
Sports Editor Charles Curcio can be reached at charles.curcio@stanly newspress.com, 704-983-1361 or via Twitter (@ charles_curcio).