Wyatt, Patterson help softball tie for first
Published 9:25 am Friday, April 27, 2018
Sydney Wyatt showed up in a big situation against West Forsyth. Emma Patterson came through in the clutch against Glenn. And Davie’s varsity softball team entered the final week of the regular season tied with East Forsyth for first place in the Central Piedmont Conference.
The frontrunners met April 24 – weather permitting – in what could have been an epic showdown.
When Davie hosted West Forsyth on March 23, the War Eagles leveled West 11-0. But the Titans were a 180-degree opposite team in the rematch in Clemmons on April 17. They had a four-game winning streak. They were coming off a 3-0 win over East that featured a no-hitter by Alex Rodriguez. So there was nothing easy about Davie’s 5-3 win.
“They definitely made some adjustments, and their pitcher was on today,” coach Dawn Lowery said.
Indeed, Rodriguez was tough to tame. She threw 75 strikes in 97 pitches, checked Davie on five hits, walked one and struck out 10.
“She’s got a good drop ball and her money pitch is the changeup,” Lowery said. “She struck Sierra (Ferguson) out twice with the changeup.”
Davie struck in the top of the first. Bridgett Tierney hard slapped for a single, Anna Devereaux legged out a bunt hit and Ferguson stepped up with runners at second and third. West decided to pitch to the slugger and she made the decision sting, singling to give Davie a 2-0 lead.
“I think it was an outside pitch and she did what she was supposed to do and hit it up the middle,” Lowery said.
West knocked River Simpson around in the second, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring three runs off an error, three hits and a walk. Three Titans were stranded, so it could have been worse than a 3-2 deficit for Davie.
Simpson and Rachel Bostic seem to take turns having success in the circle, and this was Bostic’s turn to shine. She turned in five scoreless innings, holding West to three hits, walking one and fanning six. She lifted her record to 6-3.
“River’s got a great changeup, but they were starting to hit the ball,” Lowery said. “Rachel did a great job. She hit her spots. She was diving for balls, so she gave it her all. Between the two of them, we had a great 1-2 punch tonight.”
With Davie behind 3-2 in the sixth, Wyatt and Co. came to the rescue. The first batter, Tierney, hard slapped for a single. After Patterson laid down a bunt hit, Devereaux advanced both with a sac bunt.
“Anna is the definition of a team player,” Lowery said. “She can stroke it with the best of them, but she’s so fast and they were playing her back, so I thought she could get the bunt down and maybe beat it out because that’s what she did in the first inning. We needed a run and she sacrificed herself for the team.”
With runners at second and third, West’s coach did what just about any coach would do: intentionally walk Ferguson in a crucial, late-game situation. But the strategy didn’t work on March 23 when Wyatt homered and it backfired here, even after Wyatt fell behind 0-2. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, she sliced a two-run triple down the right-field line. When the rally ended, Davie had three runs and the 5-3 lead.
“The right fielder dove for it, but she came up short,” Lowery said. “What I love about it is Sydney and Sierra are really good friends. Whenever they intentionally walk Sierra, it’s awesome to see Sydney come through.”
Not only did Davie defeat West for the fourth time in a row, Glenn knocked off East 16-8 to put Davie and East in a tie for first.
While Ferguson and Wyatt had the most memorable hits, don’t forget Tierney’s 3-for-4, two-run performance from the leadoff spot. Ferguson drove in the 99th and 100th runs of her career, extending her record.
“Bridgett was a big leader at the plate,” Lowery said. “She’s comfortable playing against Alex (Rodriguez).”
In a home nonconference game with North Davidson on April 18, Davie slammed head-first into a defending-state-champion wall, falling behind 6-0 before losing 6-4.
The 2017 4-A champion led 6-0 through six with Regan Spencer working on a one-hitter. But Spencer sprained her ankle in the sixth and North began to crumble.
After Ferguson singled to open the seventh, Wyatt unloaded a two-run homer. Sydney Hendren, Emilee Dishman and Shea Woody followed with no-out hits and Simpson walked to load the bases. Riley Lingerfelt entered in relief and promptly restored order for a North team that is 19-2 overall and 15-0 in the Central Carolina 2-A Conference.
Of course, there was no shame in the loss. North had allowed 22 runs in 20 games. This was the most runs it’s yielded in 24 games, dating to a 2017 playoff contest against Richmond County.
“I just wanted our girls to show some resiliency and never quit,” Lowery told the Winston-Salem Journal. “So I’m glad we came up big in the seventh and at least put some pressure on them.”
Wyatt’s third homer tied Ferguson for the team lead.
When Glenn scored in the first three innings to put Davie in a 4-0 hole, it felt like a flashback to March 27, when the Bobcats stunned Davie 11-4.
“It seemed like it was deja vu,” Lowery said. “We were putting the bat on the ball. We just couldn’t find any holes or hitting it straight at them.”
Lowery was thrilled to see Patterson and Davie come through in the fourth, when a six-run explosion vaulted Davie to a 9-5 home victory on April 20.
Dishman, the first batter in the Davie fourth, hard slapped for a single. Woody followed with a hit and Tierney reached with a soft slap. The bases were loaded with one out, with Davie trailing 4-1. It was 4-4 after Patterson’s breathtaking three-run triple to left-center.
“They were playing her really short,” Lowery said. “I told her to hard slap and she hit one in the gap. It was exactly what we needed. The outfielders were probably 15 feet off the dirt. We normally tell her to put it down and beat it out.”
Davie was suddenly unstoppable, with Devereaux, Ferguson and Hendren following with hits that ruined Brittany Hurd’s night. Hurd was tagged for 13 hits after she beat Davie with a seven-hitter on March 27.
“(Hurd) got a little rattled, which is what we weren’t able to do the last game and early on in this game,” Lowery said.
Doubles by Wyatt and Woody extended the margin to 9-4 in the sixth. Davie’s 14-hit attack included multiple knocks from Patterson (3-4), Devereaux (2-4) and Woody (3-4). But the major booster was Patterson, who raised her average from .254 to .288 and enjoyed her first extra-base hit of the season.
“She got hurt in the North Davidson game – she got hit right in the forearm by a pitcher who throws it over 60 (mph) – so I wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to play,” Lowery said. “But she said she was good and she had a great game. She’s fast as lightning. She works really hard. She asked for extra pitches the other day to practice the hard slap.”
Glenn chased Bostic after two innings, but Simpson made sure Davie (11-8 overall) remained in position for its first regular-season title since 2001. Simpson gave up one earned run in five innings, retired eight straight at one point and picked up her fourth win.
The pitchers have complemented one another wonderfully. Bostic has 11 starts, five relief outings and 61.2 innings of work. Simpson has seven starts, 10 relief stints and has logged 50 innings.
“I also let River hit and she hit (a double) about five feet short of going out,” Lowery said. “I thought it was out (of the park) and the team started coming out of the dugout. She had a really good game and she deserved that win.”
Notes: While Davie and East are 6-2, West is third at 5-3. Glenn is 4-4, Reagan 3-4 and Reynolds 0-8. … Tierney is tied for second in career hits with 129, and Ferguson is tied for fourth with 111. … Ferguson is hitting .419, followed by Wyatt (.403), Tierney (.378), Devereaux (.370), Woody (.325) and Dishman (.322).