Home Run Derby: Softball team close to setting record
Published 8:44 am Thursday, March 31, 2022
By Brian Pitts
There are times when it appears the Davie varsity softball team’s offense cannot be slowed, let alone stopped.
One of the those times was the bottom of the first inning against visiting West Forsyth in a Central Piedmont Conference showdown on March 22.
The War Eagles batted around and put up six runs. West pitcher Cate Etcheson contained Davie from there, but the damage had been done in a 7-5 Davie victory.
The win kept Davie on East Forsyth’s heels. East is 4-0 in the CPC, Davie is next at 4-1 and West is third at 2-1.
“It keeps us in the running (for a share of first),” assistant coach Fred Smith said. “Anything can happen. We’ve got to stay right behind East and we get one more crack at them.”
Etcheson walked Bailey Snow and Summer Simpson to start the Davie first. Sydney Dirks made her pay with a two-run double. After McKenzie Mixon was hit by a pitch and Audrea Fowler singled, Leah Grimes provided the second two-run double of the inning.
In the second, London Dirks blooped a two-out hit over the second baseman’s head to score Simpson and give Davie a whopping 7-0 lead.
“We had a good game plan at the plate,” Smith said. “We were squeezing the inside of the plate. We were looking down and out and hitting everything backside. It was working and then they started jamming us inside. Then we started hitting it off the handle. We had bases loaded twice and couldn’t capitalize.”
Everything did not go perfectly. In the West fifth, the Titans came up with three hits and took advantage of two errors to claw within 7-4. They made things interesting in the seventh. A walk, a hit by pitch, an error and a single cut Davie’s lead to 7-5 and filled the bases for the No. 7 batter in the order.
Addie Hendrix, Davie’s complete-game pitcher, induced an infield popup to nail down a win over Davie’s archrival.
“I can only remember one run-rule when playing West Forsyth, and it was when Sierra (Ferguson) was a senior (in 2018 when Davie won 11-0),” Smith said. “It’s always a game. Always. Last year we jumped on them (4-0 in the first two innings), and then we stalled, they chipped away and came back and beat us (9-8). So when it was 6-0, I was preaching: ‘You cannot let up.’”
Hendrix only allowed one earned run in her third complete game. Davie got two doubles from S. Dirks and two singles from Fowler to beat West for the third time in four tries.
“Definitely a good win for us,” coach Debbie Evans said. “We did a good job at the plate early. Our defense and pitching was fairly solid. Addie was a workhorse. There are some tough teams in our conference, but I like our chances if we come focussed and swing the bats like we are capable.”
Notes: Both teams had seven hits. Davie had three errors and West two. … Last season Davie took two of three from West. Davie won 7-2 and 10-8. In between was a 9-8 West win. … Davie overcame the absence of its top stick, Melanie Gobble, who was out sick. She was hitting .520 at this point. “She’s as steady as a rock,” Smith said. “Last year it was the same way.”
Davie 19, Parkland 0
The War Eagles thumped visiting Parkland in predictable style on March 25, scoring 15 runs in the second and wrapping it up in two and a half innings.
The War Eagles with two hits were Raelyn Lankford, Simpson, L. Dirks, Fowler and Grimes. L. Dirks doubled and homered as Davie extended its winning streak to three.
In the circle, Hendrix and Kaylyn Nuckols combined for the shutout.
Montour 16, Davie 10
The War Eagles wasted a strong offensive day when they hosted the Montour Spartans of Pennsylvania on March 26.
Davie slammed three home runs and blended nine hits with five walks. But it faced an opponent that had even more firepower. The Spartans racked up 17 hits, blasted three homers of their own and scored in four consecutive at-bats. It didn’t help that Davie made six errors (Montour committed four.)
“They had some hitters, but we did have some errors that hurt us,” Evans said.
Davie trailed 9-1 before it made serious offensive noise. In the fifth, Simpson connected for a three-run homer. S. Dirks and L. Dirks immediately followed with home runs. Yes, you read that correctly. Davie went yard three straight times, in a span of seven pitches.
But the Davie momentum was short-lived. In the top of the sixth, Montour banged out seven runs on five hits and put Davie away, 16-6.
The Nos. 2-4 batters in the order – Simpson (2-3), S. Dirks (2-4) and L. Dirks (2-4) – combined for six hits, five runs, seven RBIs and four extra-base hits. But Montour’s Kaitlyn Molitoris, who threw 136 pitches, was able to keep the rest of the lineup relatively quiet as Davie’s overall record dropped to 7-5.
• Davie’s offense has been firing virtually all season. It is hitting .408 with 16 homers, 12 from the season record for long balls. L. Dirks, Fowler and Simpson have three homers each; S. Dirks, Grimes and Mixon have two apiece; and Ashley Bledsoe has one. The record of 28 happened in 2017, when Ferguson (10), Desiree Lewis (six) and Makenzie Smith (five) led the homer barrage.
• After Davie tore through Reagan 15-3 on March 15, the War Eagles were 179-3 when scoring 10-plus runs since the beginning of fast-pitch in 1997. The three losses: 17-10 at Mt. Tabor in 1997, 13-12 at East Davidson in 2013 and 18-11 at South Iredell in 2018. Due to some defensive woes, Davie suffered two such losses in a span of 10 days – 14-12 to North Davidson and the Montour game.
• Although Davie’s longest winning streak is three, it has continuously bounced back, going 4-0 right after a loss.