Earning the No. 8 overall seed in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A State softball tournament, Midway’s Lady Raiders welcomed Ayden-Grifton into Spivey’s Corner on Wednesday.
The Lady Chargers came in with a respectable 13-7 overall record and Midway head coach Leigh Ann Smith knew they were not to be overlooked. Both teams fought a tough battle in a close game but when the dust settled it was Midway that took home the 3-0 victory.
The decisive series took place in the bottom of the first inning when Midway scored two runs to take control.
J.J. Sankey and Leah Williams started things off with a pair of singles. The duo was then moved to second and third after a Blythe Best sacrifice to center to put them in scoring position. Hannah Lucas then put a tough fly ball in shallow right that fell just off the second basemen’s glove to score Sankey. Williams was next to score when Laura Person laid down a sac bunt.
The Lady Chargers were able to pick up out number three to strand Lucas but a solid inning of hitting saw Midway lead 2-0.
The game then transitioned to a defensive struggle and remained scoreless all the way through the top of the sixth inning. Both teams had scattered opportunities throughout the game but the defenses took control.
The Lady Raiders added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to make it 3-0, which at least briefly appeared to be crucial.
Alyssa Wrench hit a one out double and later scored the run to make it 3-0
Then, in the top of the seventh inning, Ayden-Grifton finally strung together their best offensive threat all game. The Lady Chargers, aided by hit a hit batter and walked, worked themselves into a bases loaded with no outs situation.
With things looking promising for the visitors Midway answered the call. A ground ball to Alyssa Wrench for a force play at home plate led to out number one and, just as importantly, prevented a run. The next batter led to a beautiful, heads up double play that saw Lucas and Person get the force outs at second and third to end the game.
Leading Midway at the plate was Sankey with two hits and William, Lucas, Wrench, and Erin Barefoot all with one hit apiece.
Freshman Miranda Holmes has been stellar on the mound all season and that trend continued on Wednesday. Holmes gave up no runs on three hits and three walks. She also recorded two strikeouts.
With the win, Midway improves to 17-5 overall and is slated to next square off against the No. 9 seed Richlands.
Game time will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Midway High School.
Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.