Softball team on a winning steak

Published 1:29 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2024

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Davie softball team’s batting average is slowly but surely rising, and Riley Potts’ ERA keeps dropping.

Potts was at it again in a 5-0 home win over South Iredell on March 4. One game after she broke the program record for strikeouts in a game with 16, she struck out 17 in a two-hitter. She fanned at least two in every inning. After South struck with a leadoff hit in the top of the first, she retired seven straight. Later on, she set down another seven straight. The junior had 46 Ks through 20 innings.

“Riley’s speed mixed with her spin is just nasty,” coach Nathan Handy said. “She has control over all four corners of the plate, whether it’s up, down, in or out. She’s on a different level.”

Offensively, the fuse was lit by – oddly enough – the last batter in the order. Out of nowhere, freshman Addie Brown sent the second pitch of the third over the fence to give Davie a 1-0 lead. In the fourth at-bat of her high school career, she blasted Davie’s first homer of the season.

“I don’t think you can grin much harder from ear to ear,” coach Handy said. “She was definitely super-stoked. I thought she had hit her first home run against Starmount. She ripped one that was probably 215, 220 (feet), but it was about five feet foul in left field. We knew it would just be a matter of time before her first (Davie) home run. She’s very strong.”

Davie roared to a 4-0 lead in the fifth. Carleigh Croom’s triple plated Jaedyn Altiers and Raney Phelps’ single knocked in one.

Phelps has arrived on the scene in a pretty big way, the freshman batting third and getting a hit in each of the first three games. The only other War Eagle who did that was cleanup batter Jaydn Davis.

“Raney earned her spot in the 3-hole at practice,” Handy said. “The week before our Forbush scrimmage, in the cages and on the field, she was just ripping everything. I mean, she was squaring everything up, and then in the Forbush scrimmage she busted it open with a home run and went 5 for 6 for the day. She is a very selective hitter. She does just as good hitting as she does taking a pitch and getting a walk.”

Brown went 2-3 with a double and two RBIs. Going 1-3 were Croom, Phelps, Davis and Ashley Bledsoe.

“We battled hard and fought,” he said.

Davie 6, Forbush 1

It was 0-0 before the visiting War Eagles came to bat in the top of the sixth on March 5.

Croom singled with one out and Phelps followed with a walk. Forbush changed pitchers and suddenly the offense began to click at microwave-popcorn-level rhythms – bang-bang-bang-bang.

Davis singled. Two War Eagles reached base before Potts singled home a pair. Then J. Altiers singled as Davie batted around, went up 5-0 and produced four of its seven hits in the sixth.

“Their starting pitcher shut us down. Kudos to her,” Handy said. “They changed to a faster pitcher (after Davie had been) out in front of everything. It made a world of difference. We hit more hard balls in that one inning than we did the entire game.”

Croom and Davis both went 2-4 as Davie won its third straight following a season-opening loss. Davis is the cleanup stick along with playing a huge position in the field (shortstop).

“Jaydn plays softball. That’s all she does and she’s a gamer,” Handy said. “She plays better under pressure. The bigger the moment, the better she plays. This was her second game at shortstop. She really hasn’t played a lot of shortstop in her career but she’s doing a great job.”

Potts didn’t set any K records this time, but she still came through in a big way: seven inning, four hits, zero earned runs, one walk, eight strikeouts.

“It’s definitely a big win,” he said. “I take none of the credit because the girls played their butts off. Riley did not buckle under pressure.”

The defensive play of the game was easy for Handy to identify. Delaney Parsons initially mishandled a bullet in left field, but she made a smooth recovery and ignited a first-inning out at home that kept the Falcons off the board.

“The cleanup batter hit a shot right at Delaney,” Handy said. “Delaney had to come in five or six steps. The ball was tailing away from her and it slipped out of her glove. But Delaney made up for it instantly. She picked the ball up and made a fantastic throw to the cut (to third baseman Raelyn Lankford). The cut made a great throw to home (to catcher Hanna Steinour). It was a bang-bang play and we were lucky enough to get the call. That play changed the momentum of the game.”