Prep Softball: Sells leads North past Albemarle
SPENCER — The only sure way to keep North Rowan senior Taylor Sells from going 4-for-4 is to only let her get three at-bats.
Sells singled, homered and doubled Wednesday as the Cavaliers crushed Albemarle 12-1 in a 1A YVC game shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.
Sells, who also was the winning pitcher, plans to sign with Catawba on April 10.
“Taylor could play several different positions at Catawba,” said North coach Sarah VanBuskirk. “But her best position is at the plate. As a hitter, she can be lethal.”
VanBuskirk was a .300 hitter for Catawba five years ago. She’s in her first year as North’s head coach after logging some experience as an assistant at Carson.
“I’ve been impressed with how good some of the teams in the YVC are,” VanBuskirk said. “Maybe teams don’t have as many good players (as 3A teams), but they’re good where you need to be good.”
North (4-5, 2-5) has beaten Salisbury twice, but it didn’t get its first YVC win until it pounded South Davidson on Tuesday. Now the Cavaliers own two league victories.
“We’re getting there,” VanBuskirk said. “We’re starting to improve game by game.”
Sells struck out the side in the first inning, and North put up six runs in the bottom half of the first to take control.
Chasity Young, Lindsey Hinson and Brianna Mock walked to load the bases, and Sells nearly tore the left fielder’s glove and leg off with a wicked single. The ball went to the fence to clear the bases, and Sells made it to third.
Kaya Teasley’s groundout scored Sells for a 4-0 lead.
North eventully sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning, and Young’s two-run single boosted the lead to 6-0.
Albemarle got its run when Alex Potter (3-for-3) led off the second with a home run. Sells answered with a solo homer of her own in the bottom half.
“I finally got a good pitch to hit that was actually in the strike zone,” Sells said.
A hit by Teasley and several errors pushed North’s lead to 9-1 before the second ended.
Albemarle loaded the bases in the third, but Sells got out of the jam with a bouncer back to the circle. The pitcher tossed to catcher Anna Lingle for a forceout.
Then Sells struck out two batters after the Bulldogs filled the bases in the fourth.
Sells, who fanned seven, felt discomfort in her right shoulder after the top of the fourth.
“I think it was mostly the cold,” she said.
Sells was in some pain, but she also was due to hit, so she put on a helmet and gapped a double. That triggered a three-run inning. Teasley doubled, and Ivory Hunter, Lexis Gonzalez and Young had singles.
“Some games we’ve just been swinging and swinging,” Van Buskirk said. “Pitch selection has been a journey, but we made some progress today.”
Hinson pitched the fifth against the Bulldogs and got out of yet another bases-loaded jam to end the game.
“We had the bases loaded twice with one out and didn’t score,” Albemarle coach Doug Talbert said. “That’s what you do when you’re winless.”