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Queen’s double buries Titans for War Eagle softball

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Dirks sisters sparked a rally in the fourth inning, Karley Queen hit a ringing double in the sixth and Kaylyn Nuckols and Chesney Shook were terrific in the circle as Davie’s softball team dumped visiting West Forsyth 7-2 on April 6.

The first win over the Titans in four meetings lifted the War Eagles to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the Central Piedmont Conference. That represents their best start through seven games in 14 seasons.

Nuckols put up zeroes in the first three innings, but it was a 0-0 game because Davie only managed one hit during that stretch.

That changed in the bottom of the fourth, when Sydney Dirks and London Dirks – the 3-4 batters in the order – got back-to-back singles. After the first out, Leah Grimes dropped down a squeeze bunt that put Davie on the board. A bunt by Melanie Gobble plated a run and a single by Taylor Hilliard made it 3-0.

West (2-3, 1-2 CPC) got back in the game in the sixth, when an error was followed by a two-run homer. Reliever Shook stopped the rally right there, retiring the next two batters to preserve a 3-2 lead.

Davie’s offense erupted again in the sixth. Grimes singled, Hilliard bunted for a hit and Audrea Fowler walked. After Bailey Snow knocked in a run with a single, Queen provided the crushing blow, a three-run double to right-center.

“Karley has been clutch since her freshman year,” coach Morgan Wyatt said of the senior who has committed to Brevard. “She roped that double. She can get a bunt down when I need her to, and she can always put the ball in play. She seems to cut the ball in half and hit solid line drives.”

The two pitchers threw as well as Wyatt could have hoped. Nuckols, who had worked just six innings in six games, tossed 33 of 48 pitches for strikes and lowered her ERA to 0.77. Shook gave up one earned run in four innings while throwing 37 of 53 pitches for strikes. Neither walked a batter. Shook’s record rose to 4-0 in her fifth relief appearance.

“Kaylyn stepped up big-time,” Wyatt said. “She hasn’t had a ton of opportunities, but she started off strong. She got ahead in the count, which is all we’ve been wanting our pitchers to do.”

Getting two hits from Snow (2 for 4), Queen (2-4), S. Dirks (2-4), Grimes (2-3) and Hilliard (2-3), Davie remained in second place behind East Forsyth.

What a difference a year makes. At this point in the 2020 season, Davie was 0-7. Then the rest of the season was canceled by COVID.

“The biggest change has been the discipline,” Wyatt said. “You’ve got to work. If it was easy, everybody would do it. They’re learning to put in the work and stick together. That’s been the difference. Everybody is stepping up and doing what is expected of them.”

WR 10, Davie 7

Davie had a disastrous fourth inning and dropped a home nonconference game on April 7 to West Rowan.

After three innings, it was 1-0 West. After the top of the fourth, it was 8-0 as the Falcons (5-1 overall) beat Davie for the fifth consecutive time.

“You blink and they scored seven runs,” Wyatt said. “The pitchers didn’t do their job like they did the night before against West Forsyth.”

To Davie’s credit, it did not go down easily. Fowler blasted a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the fifth as Davie sliced the deficit to 10-5. It was the freshman’s second homer in nine at-bats.

Davie got another rally going in the seventh against a team that had only allowed three runs in four games. Gobble’s one-out, two-run triple plated L. Dirks and Summer Simpson. It was now 10-7. West, though, retired the next two batters to end Davie’s  winning streak at three.

Gobble went 3 for 4 and L. Dirks was 2 for 3 with a triple.

“At least we did start making adjustments and hitting,” Wyatt said. “We pinch-hit Fowler again and she came up big. They didn’t give up; I will give them that.”