- Special Sections
- Public Notices
SHALLOTTE—Leilani Emile blasted a stinger to left field to end a three-hour, 11-inning softball marathon and give West Brunswick a 2-1 win over South Columbus on Thursday night, March 13.
“She put it down the third-base line,” West softball coach Joe Noble said. “It was a great hit.”
A shivering crowd, huddled under blankets in the bleachers, erupted in cheers. Temperatures were in the 30s, and a wicked wind made it even colder.
Abbey Dyson scored the winning run. In the 11th inning, she walked, and Ariana Thomas singled over second base to put runners on second and first.
With two outs, Emile came to the plate and ripped the ball down the line to bring Dyson home.
“It was as good a high school ballgame as you will see,” said South Columbus coach David Marlowe. “Both teams played well, and both pitchers threw very well.”
Caroline Gore went the distance for the winners.
“Caroline did an awesome job,” Noble said. “That was a total team effort. All 12 on the roster played.”
Strong winds whipped the American flag in center field all the way into the 10th inning, creating extra adversity for pitchers, hitters and fielders.
Pitching and great defense kept both teams in the game.
Gore struck out the side in the 10th inning. She had 14 strikeouts for the game.
When the Stallions did connect, Trojan defenders rose to the occasion.
“We hit the ball hard,” Marlowe said, adding that West’s right fielder Randaisa Daniels and second baseman Ashley Smith made great catches.
Running to her right, Daniels snagged a curving line drive in the 11th inning, right after center fielder Thomas made a running, over-the-shoulder grab. Both catches robbed South Columbus of extra-base hits.
Smith, West’s second baseman, made a spectacular diving catch to her right in the ninth inning to send the Stallions’ leadoff batter back to the dugout.
South Columbus scored its only run in the top of the first. Leadoff Brittany Sellers doubled with a high blast over the right fielder’s head and scored when Bailey Russ’ wind-blown blooper dropped in for a hit behind first base.
West got its own wind-aided hit in the third when Alysha Cortes dropped in a single behind first base. She went to second on Jordan Clemmons’ sacrifice bunt and scored when Dyson blasted a shot to the gap in right-center field.
That tied the game at 1-1, and nobody would score for eight more innings. High school games usually last seven innings.
Both teams had plenty of chances to add to the scoreboard.
South Columbus had five hits, five players walked, one was hit by a pitch and one reached first by error. Sellers had a double and single to lead the Stallions. They left 12 runners on base.
A base-running blunder might have cost them the game. In the top of the seventh inning, a South Columbus played walked, went to second on a passed ball and was sacrificed to third.
Batter Sellers then blasted a deep fly caught just in front of the left-field fence, but the South Columbus runner didn’t tag third. When the ball was caught, she had already run halfway home and had to hustle back to third base. Marlowe, in the third-base coaching box, jumped up and down in disgust.
The Trojans didn’t make any mental errors to beat themselves.
But they did leave 16 runners on base.
West had runners on third and first with no outs in the sixth inning but failed to score. West had a runner on second with no outs in the seventh inning, runners on third and second in the eighth with no outs, and runners on second and first with one out in the ninth — and failed to get a clutch hit.
Noble said it’s early in the season and the Trojans can improve offensively.
“Defensively, we’re about as solid as we can be,” he said.
West pounded out nine hits—three by Dyson and one each by Cortes, Smith, Daniels, Gore, Maddie Emmons and Emile.
South Columbus had pitched carefully to Emile all night and walked her three times. After her game-winning run batted in, Emile jumped for joy as she rounded second base while Trojan teammates erupted from the dugout.
S. Columbus 100 000 000 00—1 5 2
W. Brunswick 001 000 000 01—2 9 1
WP: Caroline Gore. LP: Bailey Dyson.
The West Brunswick High School softball team has opened its season 4-0.
West beat Purnell Swett 12-0. Christian Strickland was 1-for-3. Ashley Fletcher had two doubles. Courtney Chappell was 3-for-3. Mackenzie Williams was 1-for-3. Skylar Wickel was 2-for-3 with a double. Myah Morse was 3-for-3 with a double. Sam King was 1-for-3. Sophie Hughes was 1-for-2.
Morse was the winning pitcher, walked two and striking 12. She gave up one hit.
West beat Laney 10-3 March 11. Strickland was 2-for-3 with a triple. Benton was 2-for-3. Sam Frink, Chappell and Wickel also had hits.
Frink was the winning pitcher. She gave up six hits and struck out four. She walked one and hit one. Morse also pitched, giving up a hit and striking out two.
West beat South Columbus 6-1 March 13, finishing with 15 hits. Strickland was 2-for-4 with a triple. Wickel was 3-for-4 with a double. Benton was 2-for-4. Chappell, King and Morse each had hits. Fletcher and Frink were 2-for-4. Williams doubled. Taylor Long was 2-for-3.
Emily Clemmons pitched four innings and gave up six hits and one run. She walked one and struck out six. Morse pitched three hitless innings, walking one and striking out seven.
Against Purnell Swett on Friday, March 14, West set a team record with 25 hits in a 19-1 victory. Strickland was 2-for-5. Wickel was 3-for-5. Benton and Chappell each were 4-for-5 with a double. Fletcher was 3-for-5. Williams was 2-for-5 with triple. Morse was 3-for-5. Long was 2-for-3. King was 2-for-5 with a double.
Clemmons was the winning pitcher in the five-inning game. She gave up two hits, walked three and struck out six.
Sarah Sue Ingram, a member of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors, is a sports correspondent for the Beacon.