East softball game suspended
By Mike London
ASHEBORO ó East Rowan’s Chelsea White was smoothing out dirt around the pitching rubber when thunder rumbled and lightning cracked off to her right.
East’s playoff game at Southwestern Randolph started under ominous skies and with severe weather warnings all over the area on Tuesday. With angry lightning visible, the field was cleared of players and spectators were urged to return to vehicles. Within minutes, heavy rain drowned Southwestern’s softball field and turned it into a pond.
The teams plan to return to action today at 5 p.m.
White never got to throw a pitch, but East (19-3) will have a 1-0 lead when the third-round 3A playoff game resumes with Southwestern leadoff batter Cynthia Hayes at the plate to start the bottom of the first.East scratched out a run in its initial at-bat thanks to the wheels of freshman shortstop Ericka Nesbitt.
Leading off against Anna Maness, the MVP of last year’s state championships, Nesbitt punched a 1-2 pitch through the circle for an infield single.
Taylor Arey’s sacrifice bunt moved Nesbitt to second. When Nesbitt edged several steps away from second after a pitch to Haley Barrier, catcher Holly Berry tried to pick her off. The throw got to the outfield, and a scrambling Nesbitt beat the throw to third on a very close play.
With Barrier still batting, Nesbitt slipped on the baseline between third and home. Berry came up throwing.
Nesbitt regained her footing as the peg went to third and dashed for the plate. She slid in head-first. The ball got away from Berry, but Nesbitt had clearly beaten the tag.
Maness struck out Barrier and Kelsea Kluttz to end the first inning.
East took infield as intermittent rain fell, but skies were quiet during the anthem and player introductions.
The winner of today’s game will face St. Stephens (23-4-1) in the next round. The Indians won 3-1 against Glenn on Tuesday.East advanced to the third round with shutout victories against Asheboro and Parkwood. White, a freshman, allowed one hit against Asheboro and threw a no-hitter against Parkwood.
The field at Southwestern (21-2-1) was under water Monday morning, but the Cougars managed to play their second-round game Monday evening and beat Reagan 3-0.