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West Stanly softball looks to defend state title with strong start to season

The cancellation of the 2020 spring high school softball season was devastating for many teams, including the defending 2A champion West Stanly Colts.

Returning the bulk of the team, including 2A state player of the year pitcher Jordan Hatch, West was the No. 1 ranked team by MaxPreps and poised to make a run at a repeat.

The Colts return all but one player from 2020 and have recent additions.

West opened the season in dominating fashion with wins at Forest Hills, 21-0, and Central Academy, 18-0, last week, along with a 13-3 this week at Montgomery Central.

Hatch is 2-0 on the mound through the first week with back-to-back shutouts striking out 17 batters in the two wins.

Shelby Barbee, an All-State selection and the 2A West Player of the Year from the state softball coaches association, moves to catcher for Hatch and the Colts. Barbee went 4-for-6 in the first week with four RBIs.

Another senior, third baseman Meredith Harwood, drove in 10 RBIs last week, including a grand-slam in a six-RBI effort versus Central Academy.

West also returns seniors Kailey Furr (CF), Rachel Efird (RF) and Morgan Edwards (SS).

Juniors Ashlyn Hughes (1B) and Kaylyn Little round out the upperclassman on West’s squad. Versus Forest Hills, Hughes had three RBIs, including a two-run homer.

The Colts also have six underclassman on the team: sophomores Carmen McRae, Madison Varner and Lily Huneycutt and freshmen Aliyah Rush, Lillian Hartsell and Kristen Smith. McRae was a perfect 2-for-2 in the win over Central Academy. Huneycutt and Varner had two RBIs each versus the Cougars while Smith went 3-for-4 against Central.

West Stanly 13, Montgomery Central 3

On Monday the Colts improved to 3-0 on the season and in Rocky River Conference play with a 13-3 road win at Montgomery Central.

Hatch improved to 3-0 on the season allowing three earned runs on seven hits with 13 strikeouts for the Colts. Hatch has struck out 30 batters in the first three games to one walk with an ERA of 1.31.

Harwood continued her strong start at the plate going 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs. Shelby Barbee added a double, a triple and drove in a run while Kailey Furr, Rachel Efird, Lily Huneycutt and Aliyah Rush all had two hits and an RBI each. In total, West had nine extra base hits in the game.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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