Prep softball: East 2, South 1
By Mike London
LANDIS ó Illness and injury made it look like East Rowan softball coach Mike Waddell had drawn defensive positions out of a hat, but the Mustangs still beat South Rowan 2-1 in a matchup of NPC contenders on Wednesday.
Shortstop Ericka Nesbitt’s fever forced Waddell to play musical chairs. Catcher Kayla Potts went to shortstop. First baseman Haley Barrier stepped behind the plate. Third baseman Mallory Drew moved over to first base.
Meanwhile, left fielder Kayla Kirk moved to center with Taylor Arey out with a wrist injury.
“It was a totally different look for us for sure,” Waddell said. ” I’m sure a lot of people came to the game and were wondering who was where.”
The constant for East is sophomore pitcher Chelsea White. She walked the first batter she faced, but that was the last one. She struck out 13 and limited the Raiders to two singles.
“Chelsea helped our defense out tremendously, and we really needed her with so many people out of position,” Waddell said. “She equalized a lot of our inexperience by limiting the times they put the ball in play.”
South pitcher Desirae Overcash mowed down Mustangs until the sixth. Winter Heno singled. Barrier hit into a force play that took Heno off the bases, but Barrier stole second. She scored from there when White blooped a soft single to right field.
South got the run back in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Kayla Corriher, the only Raider who didn’t strike out, singled with one out. Overcash bunted. She was out at first, but Corriher rounded second and continued toward third. She scored when the throw across the diamond got past Ashley Ritchie, who had hustled in from left field to try to cover the bag.
“I kinda got worried then,” White said. “It was scary, like we had it won, but then we didn’t.”
Ritchie redeemed herself immediately, leading off the East seventh with a drive over the head of the right fielder. It was good for a double, the only extra-base hit of the game, and Waddell sent in Arey to run for her.
Arey reached third on Kirk’s groundout and scored the tiebreaking run on Barrier’s sacrifice fly.
White marched back to the circle with a purpose and struck out the side in the seventh to end it.
“We’ve got people sick and hurt, but we really needed this one after Tuesday (a 7-1 loss at Northwest Cabarrus),” White said. “I was ready to set ’em down and go home.”
East is 4-2 in the NPC while South fell to 3-3. South also had a rough time Tuesday, falling to West Rowan 7-0.
“I was proud of Overcash’s pitching today,” said South coach Tiffany Poole, who played for Waddell when she starred at East. “But we just couldn’t put it in play enough. We work hard on cutting down our swings with two strikes, but we still had 13 strikeouts. We couldn’t put any pressure at all on their defense.”