MINT HILL, NC – On Tuesday afternoon May 9, the number 19 seeded Lady Patriots softball squad traveled to Greensboro to play the number 14 seeded Northern Guilford Lady Nighthawks in the first round of the North Carolina High School Softball State Championship Tournament.
After holding the Lady Patriots scoreless in the top of the first inning, the Lady Nighthawks scored two runs on two hits in the home half of the inning to take a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Patriots got on the board in the top of the third inning after both Sarah Johnson and Emma Wrenn reached with singles to left field. With two runners on, catcher Natalie Johnson laid down a great sacrifice bunt in front of home plate to move the runners to second and third. Morgan Clark followed and hit a single to center field scoring Johnson and Wrenn to tie the score at two all.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Lady Nighthawks retook the lead by scoring two runs off two hits. Northern Guilford’s lead off batter Sydney Pugh tripled to right center field. Rigdon Lambeth followed and hit a hard grounder down the third base line causing Pugh to leave third and head toward home. However, Indy’s third baseman Elizabeth Garbark fielded the grounder and tagged out Pugh while Lambeth reached on a fielder’s choice. She scored the Lady Nighthawks’ first run of the inning on a failed pick off play at second base. The Lady Nighthawks’ second run came after Indy gave up a walk, and the runner scored on a hit to the right field wall making the score 4-2 in favor of the Lady Nighthawks after three full innings of play.
With neither team being able to add any runs, the Lady Patriots went into the seventh and final inning trailing 4-2. After Indy’s lead off batter grounded out, Sarah Johnson followed with a single to left field. Emma Wrenn stepped to the plate and moved Johnson to second with an infield grounder. Natalie Johnson came to the plate and reached on a line drive over the second baseman’s head to score Johnson from second base making the score 4-3. With the Lady Patriots trailing by one run, Morgan Clark came to the plate and reached on an infield hit to the shortstop putting runners on first and second base.
With a chance to tie or take the lead, the Lady Patriots’ next batter struck out to end the game and give the Lady Nighthawks a 4-3 playoff victory.
The Lady Patriots finished the night with nine hits. Emma Wrenn, Morgan Clark and Sarah Johnson led the Lady Patriots with two hits each. Terris Adkins, Maliyah Alexander and Natalie Johnson had one hit each.
The Lady Patriots ended their season as conference tournament champions while posting an 8-2 conference record and going 14-8 overall.
Independence. 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 – 3
Northern Guilford 2 0 2 0 0 0 X – 4