WBHS softball wallops South Johnston 13-0 to advance in playoffs

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By Jackie Torok, Managing Editor

SHALLOTTE — West Brunswick Coach Joe Noble said after his team’s win May 10 that if the Trojans’ batting synced up with their defense and pitching, they’d hurt some other team’s feelings in the 3A playoffs.


That team wound up being the South Johnston Trojans in a game that ended in the middle of the fifth inning with West Brunswick winning 13-0 on an overcast Friday night, May 12.

The decisive victory positions fourth-seed West Brunswick for a showdown in the third round at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at home against J.F. Webb of Oxford.

West Brunswick jumped out to an early lead Friday night, just as it did May 10, scoring three runs in the first inning.

The Trojans of Shallotte seemed to rattle the Trojans of South Johnston from the start with a double by leadoff batter Savannah Branch resulting from an errant throw to first base.

Next up, Cierra Watts bounced a hit over the head of pitcher Carmen Keene that rolled into the outfield, bringing Branch home to score.

Then West Brunswick’s batters made Keene work, with Haley Long popping up to shortstop Kandis Adams after a full count, including two fouls down the third base line, and McKenzie Benton drawing a walk to first.

Kayla Miller smashed her first pitch to the outfield fence, scoring Watts. Next, Megan Beeler’s popup to the outfield scored Benton before Katelyn Fulford’s popup marked the third out.

South Johnston went three up, three down in the first inning with two popups and Beeler getting the second batter, Mary Ann Brown, swinging for a strikeout.

West Brunswick’s Peyton Daniels walked to first as the second batter in the second inning, but was left stranded on the base. Beeler walked South Johnston’s third batter, Katie Mitchell, in the third inning with two outs, but Mitchell didn’t advance from first, either.

The bottom of the third saw West Brunswick double its score. Long led off with a grounder between South Johnston’s shortstop and third baseman that rocketed into the outfield for a base hit, followed by Benton who dropped her second pitch into the gap between second and first base all the way to the outfield fence for a double.

That set the stage for Kayla Miller to lay down a perfect squeeze bunt on the second pitch to bring Long home.

Beeler stepped up to the plate to hit her first pitch toward South Johnston’s second baseman Courtney Garris, whose throw bounced over the top of first baseman Koler Ellis’ glove for another error, giving Beeler two RBIs. Fulford managed to steal second base during Daniels’ at-bat, but was left there at the end of the inning.

South Johnston went three up, three down again in the top for the fourth inning with three successive popups to Branch, Daniels and Fulford.

West Brunswick poured on the rest of their hits, batting around in the bottom of the fourth inning. Branch got it started once more, leading off with a grounder right down the middle of the field into the outfield for a base hit, followed again by Watts who dropped another hit over Keene’s head into the outfield for the Trojans’ second base hit.

That prompted South Johnston Coach Amanda Smith to replace Keene, who’d thrown heat all game, with Brown, who promptly walked Long to first to load the bases with no outs.

The first and only strike to Benton got past catcher Emma Jernigan and rolled to the backstop, bringing Branch in to score and moving Watts to third before Brown walked Benton to first, loading the bases again.

Miller smacked a grounder to third baseman Lizzie Raynor, who fielded the ball and flipped it to Jernigan, but the catcher failed to tag Watts at home.

Beeler then drew a full count before Brown walked her to first, walking Long home. Kaitlyn Rhea came into the game to run for Beeler, who spun a foul ball into her foot while she was batting.

Jernigan let another pitch get past her while Fulford was up to bat, letting Benton score. Brown walked Fulford to first on a full count to load the bases, still with no outs, leading Smith to bring Logan Blackmon in to pitch.

Hailey Wilson faced Blackmon first and popped up to the outfield on the second pitch, but Miller slid home to score as Jernigan dropped the ball at home. Rhea scored next on a base hit by Daniels that fell into the outfield gap between second and first base.

Branch came up to bat again and hit a bouncer to Blackmon, who got her out at first but not before Fulford scored.

Blackmon’s next four pitches were balls to Watts, who walked to first. The onslaught ended when Long slapped a hit directly to Adams, got her out at first.

But the Trojans of Four Oaks didn’t give up and they cheered as loudly for their hitters in the fifth inning as they did in the first.

Their first hitter of the fifth inning, Brown, popped up on the third pitch toward first and close to home plate directly into catcher Long’s waiting glove.

They finally got their first hit of the game from the second batter of the fifth inning, Regan Byrd, who spanked a base hit down the middle of the field then stole second as Beeler pitched to third hitter Kelly Dorman.

Beeler walked Dorman to first on a full count, generating a quick conference on the mound with Coach Amanda Noble just as the clouds began to part and the sun threatened to shine.

Garris came up fourth with a grounder to Fulford, who got her at first for the second out, and Watts ended the other Trojans’ season by snagging a popup by Mitchell.

Jackie Torok is managing editor and interim sports editor of the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email editor@brunswickbeacon.com.