Softball opens with home-run spree

Published 8:57 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

What an incredible, mammoth and gargantuan offensive performance by Davie’s varsity softball team in the season opener Feb. 27.

Davie blasted four home runs in a 9-2 rout over visiting West Davidson. Davie sent three homers over the 200-foot fence in one inning. Say it again – three homers in one inning.

“It’s the most since I’ve been in the program in the last eight years,” coach Dawn Lowery said. “I don’t ever remember doing that when I was there or when I’ve come to watch. One through nine have power and the ability to hit them at any point.”

Desiree Lewis, the No. 5 batter in the order, started the third-inning homer spree with a drive to center field.

“She has a lot of power, to say the least,” Lowery said. “She’s improved a lot since last season. She’s hit three (homers) in about seven games (counting scrimmages).”

Lewis is so, so very talented. Last year the shortstop/third baseman made varsity as a freshman. While she launched one homer, her bat experienced growing pains as she hit .187 in 16 at-bats. She was a regular in the field but she quickly became a fielder only as someone DH’d for her. What makes the Mississippi State commitment so exciting is she has only touched the surface of what she can become.

“I put in a lot of work in the offseason to get where I am now,” Lewis said. “Last year was definitely an experience with everybody being older than me. It was personal motivation to get where I am now.

“It’s not just about me. Seeing my teammates do it was more exciting than my home run.”

Two batters later, Jessie Beck flexed her muscles with a homer to left-center.

“Her bat is coming back around for us,” Lowery said. “She’s a very disciplined player. When she’s hitting with confidence, she’s tough.”

This was the third varsity long ball for Beck, who hit one homer as a sophomore and one as a junior.

“I wasn’t trying to swing for the fences,” Beck said. “I was just swinging hard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many home runs in one game. It was unbelievable.”

Home runs never get old. Sydney Hendren followed Beck in the order. Lo and behold, she went deep to right-center as Davie’s lead grew to 6-0.

“I was nervous,” the junior said after her first varsity dinger. “I was like: ‘OK, I’ve got to do the same.’ It felt awesome. There’s no words to explain it.”

Lowery beamed at Hendren, who has assumed a crucial role as the catcher. She possesses a lethal arm.

“I’m so proud of Sydney,” Lowery said. “She has stepped into a big role, and she has fulfilled it and then some. She’s tough behind the plate. She made plays in scrimmages that are collegiate-type plays. She’s been one of the biggest standouts for the coaching staff so far. Her arm is very, very strong. It reminds me a lot of Morgan (Wyatt) when she played behind the plate.”

In the fourth, Anna Devereaux singled. One batter later, the girl with crazy power – cleanup batter Sierra Ferguson – pulled a homer to right to extend the margin to 9-0. Lowery looked on in awe at the clothesline shot.

“I have not seen a ball hit that hard in a long, long time,” Lowery said. “Like coach (Debbie) Evans said, that ball was either going through the fence or over it. She’s got the potential to push Morgan’s (home-run) records, too. She hit two over the pine trees at Alexander Central last year.”

As a sophomore, Ferguson launched four homers for the second-highest total in a season.

“I wanted to hit one,” Ferguson said. “We had just hit three and I was pumped up about it. But I knew I still had to stay focussed and everything. I let one strike by before I swung at that one because I wanted to make sure it was the right pitch.”

To put the incredible home-run eruption in perspective, the War Eagles hit one homer in 2011, three in 2012, six in 2013, four in 2014 and five in 2015.

Hendren (3 for 4) had three hits to pace Davie’s 10-hit attack. Bridgett Tierney (2-4) and Devereaux (2-3) had two each. Ferguson had two walks to with her with homer.

The spectacular offense overshadowed a strong pitching performance by Olivia Boger, who worked six shutout innings with no walks and six strikeouts. Forty-nine of 66 pitches were strikes. River Simpson made her varsity debut in the circle, going one inning.

“Olivia was in the zone,” Lowery said. “She was commanding all her pitches.”

Win Over Lake Norman

Davie’s bats were unstoppable in a 17-7, six-inning romp at Lake Norman on March 3.

The War Eagles ambushed LN with seven runs in the top of the first and easily overcame a sloppy effort in the field (seven errors).

“I’m really pleased with the bats,” Lowery said. “I don’t know the last time we scored 17 runs against a good team.”

Lewis socked – gulp – two home runs, including a tape-measure shot in the second to push Davie’s lead to 8-2.

“They had the fence, then the batting cage and then the trees, and I lost it in the trees. It was still in the air,” Lowery said. “She probably hit it 270.”

Ferguson opened the fifth with a double. Lewis, the next batter, went deep again as Davie’s lead swelled to 13-6. Holy Mackerel. Two homers in one game and three in two games.

“She’s feeling it right now,” Lowery said. “She’s a tremendous athlete. She worked in the offseason and you can definitely tell. She’s staying disciplined at the plate. One of her at-bats was a 10-pitch at-bat and she went yard. The next one was an eight-pitch at-bat and she walked.”

It wasn’t just Lewis, who went 2 for 3 with four RBIs and two walks. Ferguson (3-4, four runs, two doubles, walk), Devereaux (2-4, three RBIs) and K’lea Parks (2-4, four RBIs, double) also had multiple hits for Davie. Tierney (1-2, three runs, triple, three walks) and Makenzie Smith (1-4, walk, two runs) had one apiece as Davie battered three different pitchers.

Although Lake Norman had offensive success, only two runs off Boger were earned. Again, she was efficient with 82 strikes and 41 balls.

“She was disappointed in herself,” Lowery said. “She said: ‘I’m sorry I gave up so many hits.’ But they are a great offensive team. It was 35 degrees and she threw 123 pitches. We asked her to do a lot and she came through for us.”