Softball blown out by North Davidson

Published 9:33 am Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dawn Lowery’s varsity coaching career began beautifully, a 3-0 start representing the best opening burst in six years.

Last week, however, Lowery experienced her first disappointment as varsity coach, a 10-0 loss at North Davidson.

“We were sloppy on defense and weak at the plate,” Lowery said after the five-inning drubbing. “They exposed our youth and showed us what an experienced, disciplined team looks like. We’ve got to get better.”

The only consolation is most teams will suffer woes against the vaunted Black Knights. They are 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Central Piedmont Conference. They entered the season ranked 17th in the USA Today High School Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Super 25 Poll.

Davie fell to 3-1, 1-1.

North’s first batter of the game belted Davie’s first pitch of the night for a double. It sparked a three-run rally.

Four hits, a hit batter and an error led to North’s four-run second. North had three hits and Davie committed an error in a three-run third. North didn’t score in the fourth even though it had a single and drew two walks.

“We were outplayed,” Lowery said. “We had costly errors early and several mental errors. We missed cutoffs, were lazy on a few balls that could have been caught in the outfield and had bad throws to the plate. Granted, they hit the ball well, but our pitching wasn’t where it needed to be. We have to realize that you have to play close to perfect to beat teams like North Davidson.”

Davie had twice as many errors (four) as hits (two). Leadoff girl Anna Devereaux had a double. Cleanup batter Makenzie Smith had the other hit. By contrast, North racked up 10 hits against two Davie pitchers.

Davie’s offense was cuffed by junior Carson Pace.

Davie’s first base runner came in the third when Lindsey Custer reached on a two-out error. Devereaux followed with her double for Davie’s first hit. Smith’s hit came in the fourth. Sierra Ferguson drew the only walk from Pace in the fifth.

“There’s no way you can expect to win with two hits,” Lowery said. “We stressed to the girls before the game that they would need to be ready for a first-pitch strike. Pace is really good at getting ahead in the count and then throwing junk (rise and drop balls) that make you chase them.”

The bright spot was Davie’s especially gifted freshman, Deveraux.

“She is straight up on fire,” Lowery said. “She stroked that double. It short-hopped the fence and definitely would have been out at Rich Park. She has impressed me so much. Coach (Mike) Lambros (of North) asked about her and I gladly said: ‘Yeah, she’s a freshman.’”

North has won 34 in a row in the series, including five shutouts in the past six meetings.

Although Davie responded with what Lowery viewed as a subpar performance, the War Eagles came up with a 10-3 win over Montour (Pa.) Saturday at North Davidson.

Sarah Myers went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and McKenzie Barneycastle (1-4), Jessie Beck (1-2, two RBIs)  and Kasey Potts (1-3) had one hit each. Devereaux scored three runs and swiped two bases. Smith scored two runs and knocked in two.

Julie Gough (three innings) and Olivia Boger (four innings) handled the pitching.

Davie won going away even though it was outhit 8-5. It compensated by drawing seven walks and capitalizing on Montour mistakes.

“We should have played better,” Lowery said. “We came out quick in the first and then it was like we started coasting. We didn’t keep the intensity level up like we needed to. It’s rare that you get outhit by a team and win by that much. They made several errors. We have got to execute better.”

Davie only needed one hit to score four runs in the top of the first. The hit was a two-run single by Myers. Davie scored twice in the second without a hit. It didn’t have more than one hit in any inning.

“The last two games we have played too passive,” she said. “We need more players to step up individually. Collectively, our team needs to have more of a killer instinct for the entire seven innings.”

Lowery did sing the praises of Beck, the sophomore third baseman and No. 3 batter.

“She has been very consistent,” she said. “She is a versatile player that can hit for power or lay a bunt down. We need her to continue to be a threat at the plate.”