Davie softball falls to West in CPC semis

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Even when Davie’s softball team had Riley Potts in the circle, it was going to be a challenge to knock off West Forsyth, which downed Davie 2-0 in the first meeting when Potts and West’s Morgan Maxwell dueled.

But with Potts on the shelf with an injury, the challenge went to a whole new level.

In the Central Piedmont Conference Tournament semifinals, Davie gave it a valiant effort before falling 6-3.

One day earlier in the quarterfinals, third-seeded Davie faced a pushover in No. 6 Mt. Tabor. Raney Phelps and Raelyn Lankford cracked home runs and three pitchers struck out five over three innings as Davie eased to a 15-0 victory in two and a half innings.

Phelps, Lankford and Brianna Tolar pitched one inning each as Davie beat the Spartans for the 38th consecutive time and closed Tabor’s season at 4-13.

West 6, Davie 3

Coach Nathan Handy knew the road would get bumpy against quality competition, and Davie certainly faced that in the semifinals at Glenn on April 30. No. 2 West Forsyth was the opponent, a team with a 21-3 record coming in.

Davie did not just roll over. It scored the game’s first run in the top of the second, it grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third and it never let West pull away, although the Titans ultimately walked off with their eighth straight win and their third win this season over Davie.

“We played respectably,” Handy said.

Davie jumped on top. Lankford singled to open the second, advanced to second on a wild pitch, took third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball.

After Maxwell retired the first two in the third, Phelps singled and scored all the way from first on a double by Jadyn Davis.

Alas, Davie’s 2-1 lead evaporated quickly. The Titans had the top of the order due in the bottom of the third – and they pounced. A double-walk-single-single-walk-error sequence lifted West to a 5-2 lead.

Davie cut into the deficit in the fourth. Hanna Steinour roped a triple and scored on a bunt by Lankford. While Davie was only down 5-3, it would only manage two more hits.

West got an insurance run in the fourth, and that was that.

The hits were pretty much even (7-6 in West’s favor), but West clearly outplayed Davie with the gloves. Davie’s four errors led to two unearned runs.

“We played well,” Handy said. “We made some mistakes that really hurt, but when you go from 10-12 balls being put in play (with Potts pitching) to 25 or 30, the chances of making mistakes are going to go up.”

Phelps had a massive chore as a freshman pitcher, but Handy had no complaints with her four-inning effort. Then Lankford came in and blanked West in the fifth and sixth.

“Raney did a phenomenal job on the mound,” Handy said. “She executed the game plan well, and the defense did a good job except for a few mistakes here and there. The team rallied around (Phelps). Raelyn pitched really well, too. She can throw, she just does not pitch (much) anymore.”

Davie’s hits were spread among Phelps (1-4), Davis (1-3), Steinour (1-3), Lankford (1-2), Ashley Bledsoe (1-3) and Brenna Altiers (1-3).

“Carleigh (Croom) has been leading off the last few games, and she did great,” Handy said. “She did what she was supposed to as a leadoff – she put the ball in play.”

Maxwell, a talented freshman arm for the Titans, limited her walks to two and struck out seven War Eagles. Later in the week, West celebrated the tournament title with a 1-0 win over Reagan.

Notes: The War Eagles secured the No. 16 seed in the West Region for the 4-A playoffs and got a home game against Cuthbertson on May 7. It was 0-0 through four innings, but the Cavaliers ended Davie’s season 5-3 despite two hits from Davis and Landry Parsons and solid pitching from Phelps and Lankford. A story on the playoff game will appear next week.