West Stanly softball tops South Stanly in Diamond Classic finals

Published 3:23 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

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Two Stanly high school softball teams who are the defending state champs in their respective classes met this week in a tournament during Easter Break.

Four softball players from Stanly were named to the West Brunswick Beach Diamond Invitational’s All-Tournament Team. From left, Cassie Swink (SS), Mattie Poulos (SS), Lily Huneycutt (WS) and Teagan Ritchie (WS). (Photo courtesy of Kricket Morton)

The two teams played in the West Brunswick Beach Diamond Invitational, with both reaching the finals. West Stanly, the three-time defending 2A champs, topped North Brunswick 11-1 and Rockingham County, 18-2, extending the team’s win streak to 14 games.

South Stanly took a 13-game win streak into the finals, including wins over West Brunswick, 16-1, and Cox Mill, 3-2. The Bulls got a big game in the opening round when Cassie Swink hit for the cycle.

West put up single runs in the second and third innings and stopped a seventh-inning rally by South to earn a 4-2 win and the tournament title.

The Colts (15-1) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a two-out RBI single from Kristen Smith.

West added to the lead with a two-out RBI double in the third from Carmen McRae. She added an RBI sac fly in the top of the fifth, then Brooklyn Lovin made it 4-0 with an RBI single to left.

Lily Huneycutt earned the win for West, striking out six through the first six innings and allowing just one hit until the bottom of the seventh.

With one out, Swink doubled to left, followed by singles from Mattie Poulos and Cassidy Smith. Smith drove Swink in, then Riley Dennis singled to center scoring Poulos, cutting the Colts’ lead in half.

Huneycutt then got two groundouts to end the game and give West the tournament title.

“We had a wonderful experience again during this year’s spring break tournament,” West head coach Emily Smith said. “It’s a fun bonding experience for the players and really helped us in 2022 to build momentum leading into the playoffs.”‘

Smith said the Colts played “extremely well” in all three phases of the game: pitching, offense and defense.

“When the bracket comes out and you see West and South on opposite sides, you know there is a chance to match up with South in the championship. It’s always such a competitive game with them and a matchup that I think prepares both teams for the state playoffs,” Smith said. “It’s really special that two schools from a small county can have the level of talent that we’ve been fortunate to enjoy these last few years. Every matchup with South is special for the game of softball in Stanly County. The current players at both schools are playing at a high level and continuing to elevate the game to bigger heights. It is certainly a rivalry, but competing against a team of South’s caliber is always beneficial for us.”

The two teams have one regular-season game scheduled for April 28 at West Stanly.

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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