North Stanly takes lead in 2A Western Regional Series in eight-inning thriller

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The 2024 2A Western Region Series kicked off Tuesday night as the No. 2 seeded North Stanly Comets hosted No. 4 Southwestern Randolph.

Both pitchers and defenses kept the game scoreless until the bottom of the eighth, when the Comets took advantage of a passed ball and scored the lone run of the game, winning 1-0.

Sophia Crist helped her own cause with an eighth-inning hit and came around to score the winning run for the Comets (21-3-1). The North freshman allowed four hits and struck out 14 to earn the win for the hosts.

Macie Crutchfield took the loss for the Cougars (19-7) allowing one earned run on three hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts.

In the bottom of the eighth, Crist led off with a hit to left; the ball got past the left fielder allowing Crist to reach second. Allie Morgan sacrifice bunted Crist to third, then later with two outs, the freshman Comet scored when a Crutchfield pitch up and away ticked off the top of the catcher’s mitt. Crist raced for home and slid head first for the game’s only run.

North made several defensive plays in the game to keep it scoreless, including in the sixth. With no outs and a runner on first, a bunt attempt by the Cougars popped up into the air. North third baseman Makayla Barger dove and made the catch, then threw behind the runner at first for the double play.

“I knew we had no outs, so I had to get the out,” Barger said. “When I first saw (the ball) in the air and I had the potential to get it, I knew what I was going to do with the ball when I got it…in that situation (with no outs) we needed that play.”

“I have to give Sophia credit for hitting the ball,” North head coach Phillip Speight said about Crist’s leadoff hit in the eighth. “We had just had that conversation, myself and the other coach, about we would take a passed ball all day.”

Speight complemented both pitchers in the game, adding his team “never quit. They don’t know the word quit. They’re not going to lay down. That’s what they’ve done all year long.”

The Comets travel to Southwestern Randolph for Game Two tonight at 6. A North win would give the Comets the series and a trip to the 2A state finals series next week.

If the Cougars win tonight, a series deciding third game would be Friday at 6 at North 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.

email author More by Charles