North Stanly earns trip to 2A regional series, rallies past Maiden

Published 7:24 pm Sunday, May 19, 2024

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North Stanly’s softball team took to its home field Friday for the second time in as many nights, with a trip to the regional series on the line.

Visiting Maiden Blue Devils, the No. 3 seed in the 2A Western Region, was also playing its second game in two nights, having advanced to the fourth round with a one-run home win.

One swing of the bat gave Maiden the lead, but the Comets rallied with a four-run inning and advanced to the program’s first regional series since 2017 in a 4-1 win.

The win propels North into the school’s first 2A regional series in school history; the Comets’ softball program last reached the regionals in the 1A classification in 2017 en route to the state title.

Sophia Crist was solid in the circle for the Comets (20-3-1). The freshman pitcher allowed one earned run on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

Raegan Rembert took the loss for the Blue Devils (17-5) allowing two earned runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

Leading off the top of the fourth inning, Maiden shortstop and UNC-Greensboro signee Macy Michael took a Crist pitch and drove it over the fence in left field.

“Good hitters will hit,” Crist said about her approach coming into the game. “My job is just to pitch. Just throw it in there and let the defense work.”

Crist did just that, allowing one more hit over the final three innings with three walks, including an intentional walk of Michael to start the sixth.

Offensively, the Comets had runners on base in the fourth and fifth innings, and broke through in the sixth.

Bre Speight had the second of her two doubles in the game to lead off the sixth inning, then scored to tie the game when Leah Isenhour reached first on a bunt attempt and the throw went over the first baseman’s glove.

After the next batter struck out, Leah Frick stepped up and delivered a two-run home run to left to put the Comets up for good, her first round trip of the season.

“I was just looking for a single, just get on base and let other people do their job,” Frick said.

The Comets added another run in the sixth when Emma Saunders walked and scored on an RBI double by Ella Varner.

“This team never has that idea of giving up,” North head coach Phillip Speight said. “We are a solid core…all the kids are team players and look at the team approach first.”

North Stanly has the home-field advantage for the 2A Western Regional Series as the No. 2 seed. The Comets host No. 4 Southwestern Randolph Tuesday at 7 p.m., with the second game of the best-of-three series Wednesday at the Cougars (19-6). A third game, if necessary, would be Friday at North Stanly.

The Comets and Cougars played one game in the regular season, with North Stanly taking the win on the road 2-0.

In order for North to get to the state finals series, Coach Speight said it is “going to take a lot of teamwork, a lot of hard work. This team has a strong mindset. They just have that attitude that they are never going to give up.”

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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