ER gets shut out in title game

Stephanie King

Eastern Randolph worked hard all season to earn a spot in the state championship, but the championship series did not pan out the way they had hoped. After falling in game one 1-0 on a walk-off RBI single from West Stanly, the Lady Wildcats evened the series at 1-1 with a 3-0 win in game two. Eastern Randolph met the Colts of West Stanly Sunday afternoon in game three to decide a winner in the 2A state softball championship.

Aniyah King picked up the only hit of the first inning for the Wildcats as the Colts defense kept the game tied at zero. The Lady Cats gave up a double to start the bottom of the first before picking up back to back outs. West Stanly scored on a base hit to take an early 1-0 lead over the Wildcats. Eastern Randolph continued to struggle at the plate in the top of the second as they earned only one hit on a single from Olivia Hall. The Lady Cats turned up their defense to keep the Colts from scoring in the bottom half of the inning.

Leighanna Ward led off the top of the third with a base hit to right field before stealing second and third during Courtnee Carter’s at-bat. Carter picked up a base hit and reached second on a fielder’s choice, but Ward was caught between third and home for the first out of the inning. A sacrifice hit from King moved Carter into scoring position at third, but Brooklyn Rush had her hit caught for the final out. The Wildcats gave up a pair of hits in the bottom of the inning but left both runners stranded.

Both teams went scoreless in the fourth inning before the Lady Colts held the Wildcats scoreless for the fifth straight inning. ER grabbed two outs right away in the bottom of the fifth but then gave up a base hit. The Lady Colts extended their lead on a home run from Shelby Barbee. Eastern Randolph allowed one more base hit before picking up the final out of the inning. The Wildcats trailed 3-0 after five innings.

Kelsey Craven kicked off the sixth with a double off the center field fence but was left stranded as the Colts struck out the next three batters. The Lady Cats would not allow the Colts to score again as they ended the inning after giving up just one hit. ER tried to rally in the top of the seventh, but the Lady Colts forced them to go three up three down to end the game.

Although this one did not turn out the way they hoped, the Lady Wildcats put on one outstanding show throughout the season. They entertained the Wildcat faithful all season on their way to finishing the conference season undefeated. This team was inspiring to watch as they never backed down when things got tough and left it all on the field. The Lady Wildcats should hold their heads high because they have a lot to be proud of.

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