Softball settles for second in CPC

Published 9:30 am Thursday, May 4, 2017

The biggest game of the season was on the verge of turning into Dawn Lowery’s greatest victory in her three years as Davie’s varsity softball coach.

Playing at North Davidson on April 26, the War Eagles were trying to tie North for first and record Davie’s first Central Piedmont Conference title since 2001. The Black Knights, though, refused to let Davie make history at their expense.

Thus, the North Davidson curse lives on for at least another week.

The Black Knights took advantage of Davie’s defensive wobbles in the bottom of the sixth, scoring seven runs to turn a 4-2 Davie lead into a 9-4 North victory. It was a devastating, wake-up-in-the-morning-and-groan loss.

“That game was ours to be won. No question about it,” said Lowery, whose team went on to dispatch Mt. Tabor and Parkland later in the week to secure CPC runner-up. “I was at a loss for words (afterword) because I felt terrible for them. I was disappointed. I told them we could look at it two ways: No. 1, we gave them that game. We had it won. On the other hand, we can play them again. We can play them (this) week (in the CPC Tournament at Davie). One of the main positives is we know we’re neck and neck with them.”

To say the War Eagles missed a chance is to re-tell a story that was told on March 17, when North used three errors to score six unearned runs in a 14-5 win. Davie blew a two-run lead in that one, too, as North scored seven in the fourth to take a 7-2 lead.

“We’re equally talented when it comes to skill,” Lowery said. “Mentally and being able to finish a game, they’ve gotten us both times. In both games they’ve scored seven runs in one inning. When you’ve got two equally matched teams, that’s completely unacceptable. One mistake cannot make the wheels fall off. Execution-wise, they got us. Finishing a game, they got us. Mentally, they got us. In talent, skill, heart and dedication, I’ll put my money on us.”

Davie, sparked by Bridgett Tierney’s sharp single on the game’s first pitch, jumped ahead 1-0 in the top of the first.

“She’s gotten a lot better at being able to read the defense on her own,” Lowery said.

Makenzie Smith had a solid single with one out. With two outs, Anna Devereaux delivered a single that brought in McKenzie Barneycastle.

“Anna is the definition of a team player,” Lowery said. “She’s doing everything she can to put the ball in play. She came up huge.”

North had the answer in the bottom of the first, tying the game at 1 with help from the first of five Davie errors. North, by contrast, played error-free defense.

In the third, Haden Womble, who went 3 for 4, singled to give North a 2-1 lead. But the War Eagles appeared primed for a landmark moment when they produced three fifth-inning runs. Sydney Hendren (walk) and Tierney (two-out single) lit the fire. Barneycastle (game-tying single) and Smith (walk) fanned the flames. After North starter Regan Spencer (4 2/3 innings, eight hits, four runs) threw four straight balls to Smith to load the bases with slugger Sierra Ferguson coming up, North coach Mike Lambros visited the circle.

“I went to Sierra and said: ‘Now is when you show what you’ve got. I need a hit here. You don’t have to swing for the fence. Just give me something solid. If you get it to the grass, I’m going to score Barney from second,’” Lowery said. “She smiled like she always does and she did her thing.”

True to character, Ferguson turned the second pitch into a two-run single. With Davie in front 4-2, Lambros pulled freshman Spencer and inserted senior Katie McNeill, who induced a popup to end the inning.

“We worked hard to go up 4-2, and we played well up until that point,” Lowery said.

“We were down 4-2 and we realized, hey, this is a hard team to play against,” Womble told The Dispatch. “We were right there with them. We just had to get the bats going.”

“We realized that is our No. 1 competition right here,” McNeill told The Dispatch. “We tried to stay confident. Eventually something will happen.”

Davie euphoria was still in the air when Smith and Desiree Lewis turned a 4-6-3 double play in the fifth. But just when things were looking up for Davie, everything unraveled in the bottom of the sixth.

The nightmarish inning saw North send up 11 batters and parlay four hits, two walks and three errors into seven runs. It started with a Womble double. Two errors were followed by a walk. Then came a bunt hit. Shortstop Lewis fired to catcher Hendren to get an out at home when a pinch runner made a base-running mistake. With the score 4-4, Olivia Boger struck out leadoff batter Faith Jarvis on three pitches. Then, with two outs, Boger induced an infield popup. It was dropped, two runs scored, and suddenly Davie was down 6-4. That opened the floodgates as McNeill knocked in two with a double and Womble plated one with another double.

Davie’s potential massive celebration turned into utter despair. For North, it was a satisfying day of deja vu.

“It’s part of the game,” Lambros said of the Davie errors. “As a coach, you think ‘Oh my God.’ You hate it for the kids. But we blinked, too, when we made a base-running mistake.”

Barneycastle woke up hitting .111 (1 for 9) and went to bed hitting .307 as a 3-for-4 night raised her average 196 points. You had to be heartened to see her perform like a star after missing the first 13 games following surgery to remove a benign brain tumor.

“I bumped her up to the two spot,” Lowery said. “Anna has been great in the two hole, but I wanted her hot bat behind Sierra in case of intentional walks. With Tierney and Barneycastle hitting back to back, it’s a hard inning whenever they’re up in the same inning. Barneycastle looked sharp.”

Tierney (2-4) and Devereaux (2-3) played big on the big stage. Smith (1-3, walk) and Ferguson (1-4, two RBIs) helped Davie’s 1-5 batters combine for nine hits in 18 at-bats.

But it was a coulda/shoulda night because seven of North’s nine runs off Boger were unearned. North’s rally got Spencer, who remained 8-3, off the hook. McNeill struck out five and allowed one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings, the win pushing her record to 8-1.

“These kids have been amazing,” Lambros told The Dispatch.

The North curse has seen the War Eagles lose six straight in the series and 19 straight in Welcome. Their last win at North was 4-1 in 13 innings in 2001. Between 2002-17, they’ve been outscored 136-13 in Welcome.

But the door is not totally slammed on Davie’s hopes of knocking off the perennial juggernaut. The teams could meet a third time this week at Rich Park in the CPC Tournament.

“We outhit them (9-7) and that rarely happens,” Lowery said. “It’s not one play that cost us the game. We’ve just got to get over that hump and get past whatever it is that’s holding us back. If we can learn to finish a game like I feel like we can, we’ll go deep (in the postseason).”


Davie treated visiting Mt. Tabor like road kill on April 27, winning 16-0 in two and a half innings. It was a fun-filled senior day for Barneycastle, Smith, K’lea Parks, Jessie Beck and Olivia Boger.

Ferguson (3-3, four RBIs, homer), Tierney (2-2, three runs), Barneycastle (2-3, two RBIs), Smith (2-3, two RBIs, double), Devereaux (2-3, two runs) and Boger (2-2, two RBIs) all had multiple hits. Parks (1-2), Beck (1-1, three RBIs, homer) and Hendren (1-1, two RBIs) had one each as the Spartans sank to 4-14 overall.

Boger pitched three hitless innings, striking out seven in a row at one point.

In a 14-run first, Davie sent up 19 batters and kept the merry-go-round in motion with 13 hits and two walks. Two of the hits were three-run homers as Ferguson hit her eighth and Beck her second.

It was a record-setting day for Ferguson, who raised her RBI total to 36, eclipsing Caroline Miller’s mark (34) from 2013. Smith’s 23rd career double put her in a tie for fourth in that category. Boger (13-4) closed in on Shannon Handy Wood’s record (15-1 in 2001) for wins in a season.


To close the regular season, visiting Davie mauled Parkland 18-0 in five innings on April 28.

Ferguson (3-4, three RBIs, homer), Hendren (3-4, four RBIs, two doubles), Barneycastle (2-2, double) and Parks (2-3, two steals) kept the line moving as Davie scored three in the first, five in the third, six in the fourth and four in the fifth.

Boger left after a 1-2-3 first. River Simpson picked up the win with four innings of work.

Ferguson hit a two-run homer in the first, and in Smith’s first at-bat in the fourth, she blasted a three-run homer. It was her third of the year and Davie’s 23rd in 21 games.

It was another record-setting day in Ferguson’s incredible season. She tied Morgan Wyatt’s record for homers in a season (nine), and she tied Wyatt’s career record for homers (13). What’s more, Ferguson stretched her hitting streak to 29 games and raised her average to .593.

Notes: After finishing third in the CPC in 2016, Davie climbed to second this year. North went 12-0, followed by Davie (10-2), West Forsyth (7-5), Reagan (7-5), Reynolds (2-10), Tabor (2-10) and Parkland (2-10). … Davie (17-4 overall), which finished second or third for the 12th straight year, reached 17 wins for the fourth year in a row. … Parkland will leave the CPC after this year. The Mustangs were an automatic win, getting outscored 146-0 by Davie in nine meetings over four years. … Tierney’s hitting streak ended at 19. … Tierney (.492), Barneycastle (.444) and Smith (.400) are 2-4 in average. … Smith is second in career RBIs with 83. Parks is fourth in career hits with 101. Smith is second in career walks/hit by pitches with 44. Ferguson is tied for second in season runs with 32. And Boger is fourth in season Ks with 112.