Prep Softball: Carson 9, North Iredell 0: Cougars win NPC title
By Ryan Bisesi
STATESVILLE — The Carson softball team’s second-half resurgence continued Thursday.
North Iredell held its thumb out, but the Cougars weren’t stopping for anyone.
Carson won its first NPC Tournament championship in a 9-0 victory against the Raiders at West Iredell. It marked the ninth-straight win for the Cougars, who finished with 16 hits.
“Every game, I tell them no one can beat them if they come to play,” Carson coach Dee Miller said.
Carson (16-6) wrapped up the NPC’s No. 2 seed for the playoffs. North remained the top seed. The Cougars rolled over state finalist East Rowan 11-0 Wednesday and made the win over 18-4 NI team look like a cakewalk. Carson won the tournament by outscoring its foes 30-0.
“They made every play,” North coach Lauren Gaither said. “They went up there looking to kill the ball.”
Carson pitcher Lacee Hunsucker lost the freshman tag, throwing a complete-game two-hitter and walking one in a masterful effort. Hunsucker, who threw three complete games in the tournament without giving up a run, also blasted a double off the left field wall for one of her three hits.
“It’s probably the best game I’ve pitched so far,” Hunsucker said. “Especially in the championship for the conference.”
Hunsucker threw 85 pitches and worked around a couple of infield errors. Her no-hit bid lasted until the fifth when Callie Johnson singled with two out.
“I coached Lacee through middle school so I know what she’s got,” Miller said. “She’s going to do what you ask her to do.”
Sophomore Morgan Peningar was the offensive star, going 4-for-4 from the 8 hole and driving in four runs.
“We’re all coming together finally,” Peningar said. “I knew we were going to be good all year. We’re finally doing what we should have been doing all year.”
The Cougars put up three runs in the second and third innings and relaxed the rest of the way. Heather Yount tripled to deep right with two out in the second to score a pair and put Carson up 3-0.
In the third, Chloe Monroe, Hunsucker and Michaela White produced three straight singles with one out. Jesse Beach hit a sacrifice fly and Peningar blooped one beyond the reach of the infield to make it 6-0. Peningar singled to bring home courtesy runner Sarrah Holman in the fifth.
Yount, who doubled twice in Wednesday’s win against East, doubled to start the sixth and went to third on Jakey Clark’s single. Sidney Grkman followed by doubling them home to cap the scoring.
After dancing around trouble in the sixth, Hunsucker got a 1-2-3 seventh and ended it with her fifth strikeout.
“She’s an amazing pitcher,” Peningar said. “We love her to death. You’ve got to give her props.”