North Stanly softball season ends in home loss in Western Regional Series

The softball teams of North Stanly and Southwestern Randolph played 28 innings of softball against each other this season heading into last Friday’s deciding Game Three of the 2A Western Regional Series.

North won the regular-season matchup, 2-0, and then 1-0 in the opening game of the best-of-three series in eight innings.

After playing 13 innings in Game Two, where the host Cougars won 2-1, the two teams came back to New London May 24. However, it was the lower-seeded Southwestern Randolph squad who got the seven-inning victory, 2-0, ending the Comets’ season.

Southwestern (21-7) scored single runs in the third and sixth innings and limited North Stanly (21-5-1) to five hits.

Marie Crutchfield went the distance for the Cougars allowing no runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

Sophia Crist took the loss for North allowing one earned run on seven hits with six strikeouts.

At the plate, Bre Speight and Emma Sanders were both 1-for-2, both reaching base after being hit by a pitch, while Crist and Leah Frick were both 1-for-3.

North head coach Phillip Speight said he told his players after the loss he was proud of them and what they accomplished.

“I told them I was proud of them for the effort and hard work they had put in since day one. Finishing regionals runner-up was a huge achievement for this team,” Speight said. “The 14 players that made up the team were not only great teammates, but a small family. I told them to remember this moment and enjoy what we had achieved as a team … to stay hungry and humble and come back ready to make another run at State Championship next year.”

The No. 4 seeded Cougars advanced to this week’s 2A State Finals Series to take on the Eastern Regional champions, the No. 3 seeded Midway Raiders (21-3).

For the Comets, this season marks the first 20 or more win season since North went 25-6 and won the 1A state title in 2017.

North Stanly did not have any seniors on this season’s squad.