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SHALLOTTE—West Brunswick’s loss to Hoggard last Thursday night wasn’t the kind of tune-up the Lady Trojans wanted.
Instead, they hope to add new plugs in the form of hits when the state softball playoffs get under way.
West struggled at the plate, while Hoggard pounded 13 hits on the way to a 7-3 win.
“It wasn’t our night,” West coach Joe Noble said. “There was a lot of nerves because everybody knew it was Senior Night, and there were some college scouts in the stands.
“Everybody has off-nights, and we just had an off-night.”
The pre-game ceremony was a salute to West’s two seniors: first-team all-conference pitcher Heather Carter and shortstop Amber Rampero, who led the Lady Trojans to runner-up in the Mideastern Conference this season.
Introducing Carter, Noble said she had a .310 batting average, pitched 102 innings this season with 88 strikeouts with an impressive .084 ERA and a 13-4 record.
Rampero, he said, is headed to Penn State next year, after batting .400 with 16 extra base hits. Those include two home runs, two triples and 12 doubles. She also scored 31 runs and drove in 27 runs.
West junior second baseman Stacy Jackson also made first-team all-conference, while sophomore pitcher/first baseman Carly White made second-team.
The Lady Trojans shined defensively in the first two innings. On one play, catcher Anna Hart threw out a Hoggard runner trying to steal second, and shortstop Rampero had the ball in her glove literally waiting to tag the runner out, which she did.
But the Lady Vikings had five hits in the third inning to score two runs. Rampero made a great back-handed catch to save a run when Hoggard had the bases loaded.
However, West’s throwing errors started in the third inning and continued in the fifth. Three of the Lady Trojans’ five errors for the game were throwing errors.
Hoggard added three more runs in the fifth on three singles and two West errors to take a 5-1 lead. The Lady Vikings added an insurance run in both the sixth and seventh.
“It was a good night,” Hoggard coach Colleen St. Ledger said. “We lost a close game Tuesday to New Hanover, so we needed to play better ball, and we did. We backed up our pitching tonight.
“Our two pitchers (Stephanie Simmons and Kelly Maultby) did a wonderful job. It was a total team effort.”
Hoggard, 12-8, was set to traveled Raleigh for its playoff game.
West, 18-6, was slated to host Havlock Tuesday, May 13, in its first-round 3A playoff game.
Six different Lady Trojans had one hit against Hoggard—Rampero, White, Hart, Emily Gore, Lucia Bowling and Kristy Vance.
“We got some hits but not together,” Noble said.
In the fifth inning, Vance also got hit in the helmet by a pitch. She stole second. When the Hoggard second baseman later stepped for second for an unassisted out, Vance kept running from second and scored.
“Kristy Vance got a hit and showed us her speed tonight,” Noble said.
Gore, with her stand-up double to lead off the seventh, had the only extra-base hit of the night. Gore, Vance and Carter scored runs for West.
H 002 031 1—7 12 3
WB 001 010 1—3 6 5
WP: Stephanie Simmons. LP: Heather Carter (13-5).
Leading Hitters: H—Jordan Adams 2-for-2, Taniqua Smith 2-for-3, Elaine McGuire 2-for-4, B.J. Watkins 2-for-4, Caitlin Bissette 2-for-5. WB—Emily Gore 1-for-3 (2B).