West Stanly stops Washington’s 28-game win streak in Game 1 of 2A State Finals Series

Published 10:00 pm Friday, June 3, 2022

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West Stanly’s softball squad took the field at G. Anderson Softball Stadium on the UNC Chapel Hill campus Friday night looking to take the lead in the 2A State Finals Series against a team that had not lost all season.

Early defense by the Washington Pam Pack kept the Colts off the board, but West broke through with timely hitting, taking advantage of three errors to earn a 4-1 win in the best-of-three series.

West’s first baserunner came in the second inning when Elizabeth Ingle led off with a single. However, she was caught too far off second base when the next batter, Brooklyn Lovin, popped out to short.

McRae led off the third with a looping single over the shortstop, but after Hartsell’s line drive to left was caught, Huneycutt lined into a double play to end the inning.

Washington (28-1) broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third with an Ava Mizell solo home run to gain an early one-run lead.

Huneycutt, who only gave up one other hit in the game, said after her home run, she “knew we were going to come back from it. There wasn’t any worry about it.”

West immediately answered when Teagan Ritchie doubled to the fence in left-center field and scored when Ashlyn Hughes sent a ground ball to second, which bounced off the glove of Washington second baseman Lily Campbell. A throwing error on the play put Hughes on second base. After reaching third on a groundout, Lovin drove her in to give the Colts the lead.

Regarding her approach at the plate, Lovin said: “I knew to get ahead in the count, and since she’s left handed, she would try to pitch me outside. I definitely scooted up on the plate and tried to take it that way.”

The Colts added a run in the third as McRae reached on an error, moved to second on a passed ball and got to third on a Hartsell single. Huneycutt then scored McRae with an RBI groundout to put West up 3-1. Ritchie nearly added to the lead with a runner on first, but her line drive was caught on the warning track in center field by Morgan Eisenzimmer.

West threatened to add more in the sixth with three one-out singles from Ingle, Lovin and Aliyah Rush. McRae then singled to center, scoring Ingle for a three-run advantage.

Huneycutt pitched around a hit batter and single in the sixth, then West set the Pam Pack down in order in the seventh.

McRae had two hits for West after not having an at-bat for a long stretch this season.

“My mindset was to get the job done really. I’m in the position, so get it done,” she said.

Getting runs in the way the Colts did, head coach Emily Smith said, is a situation the team has been in before.

“We always tell the girls no matter the situation we find ourselves in, whether down or up, we can always work our way back in,” Smith said.

West’s coach said the team is well-rounded in terms of where runs come from, but noted “every single person played an important role in the game.”

Regarding West’s defense, Huneycutt said, “I trust so much in them and how hard they worked. They’ve worked hard to get here.”

McRae, the Colts’ catcher, added, “from the beginning of the year to now, we have grown so much and have so much confidence now.”

Regarding the win, she added, “that was one, but we’re not done.”

The two teams face off at 12 p.m. Saturday in Game 2 of the series. If needed, a third game would be at 3 p.m.

WS 000  211 0  4  9  0
W   001  000 0  1  2  3

WP: Lily Huneycutt (7 IP, 1 ER, 2 hits, 1 BB, 11 K).
LP: Emily Orr (7 IP, 2 ER, 9 hits, 1 BB, 0 K).

Leading Hitters:
West Stanly – Brooklyn Lovin 2-3, RBI; Carmen McRae 2-3, RBI; Elizabeth Ingle 2-3.
Washington: Ava Mizell 1-2, HR, RBI; Lily Campbell 1-2.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. 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 won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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