North Stanly softball falls on the road as series evens in 13-inning game

Published 3:16 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

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The softball games this season between the varsity team of North Stanly and Southwestern Randolph have been closely decided contests.

North Stanly won the regular season matchup, 2-0, then claimed a 1-0 win in eight innings Tuesday in the opening game of the 2024 2A Western Regional Series.

In what would tie a mark for the longest softball playoff game in North Stanly history, the Comets and Cougars played 13 innings Wednesday night in Game Two of the series. The host Cougars earned the walkoff win, 2-1, to tie the series at one game each.

Lieigh Payne led off the bottom of the 13th with a walk for Southwestern Randolph (20-7) and scored. Leadoff hitter, center fielder Madelyn Smith, laced a line drive to left, which took a bad hop and got past the North left fielder, allowing Payne to score.

Macie Crutchfield earned the win in the circle for the Cougars, pitching all 13 innings, allowing no earned runs on seven hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts.

North freshman pitcher Sophia Crist took the loss for North (21-4-1) allowing no earned runs on six hits with five walks and eight strikeouts in 12-plus innings in the circle. Three of her walks came in the 12th and 13th innings.

The Cougars took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Hayleigh Thompson delivered a one-out single and a pinch runner, Sarah Kate Marion, scored on a Smith RBI single to center.

North tied the game in the top of the fifth, getting two in scoring position with Makalya Barger being hit by a pitch and singles from Leah Frick and Bre Speight. Leah Isenhour then put a bunt down which was mishandled by the Southwestern third baseman, allowing pinch runner Reese Coble to score.

Frick had two hits for the Comets while Ella Varner, Kylie Speight and Allie Morgan each added singles.

The deciding third game of the series is scheduled for Friday night at 6 at North Stanly. The winner will face the Eastern Regional champions Midway Raiders. The No. 3 seed from the East swept Martin County in two games with wins of 11-0 and 7-3.

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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