Prep Softball: West Rowan expects to be strong again

Published 12:38 am Thursday, March 5, 2015

Staff report

West Rowan coach Jimmy Greene is well aware of what West Rowan softball was not long ago.

From 2001-08, the Falcons were 176-33, won two  3A state titles, finished second in 3A  another year, and reeled off six straight conference championships.

“We had a great season  last year, we really did,” Greene said. “But it’s important to us to have more than a great season. We want to be a program.”

West Rowan went 18-6 in 2014 and was a surprise champion in the SPC, sweeping the regular season race as well as the conference tournament.

“We snuck up on some people, especially the Cabarrus schools,” Greene said. “No one expected us to do what we did last year, but that’s changed. Now we’re wearing a big target on our backs.”

There’s a chance the Falcons will be as good or better than they were in 2014.

The key losses were pitcher Leah McCoy and center fielder Cat Whitley, but the Falcons’ core four is still around.

Pitcher Peyton Greene, shortstop Hunter Gibbons, catcher Marissa Yow and second baseman Taylor Martin, were outstanding offensively and defensively a year ago and made All-SPC and all-county teams.

Greene was 12-3 in the circle. Gibbons, headed to Western Carolina, slugged 10 homers and was Rowan County Player of the Year.

Yow, who will play at Radford, powered five longballs.

And while it’s hard to believe, the diminutive Martin is even more trouble for opponents in softball than basketball.

“We’ve only got two seniors, but they’re both Division I signees,” Coach Greene said. “We’ve got four  girls back that are about as good as anybody’s four. Now they’ve got to lead and bring our young players along.”

• Like everyone else, West Rowan hasn’t been outside much (one practice and one day of tryouts), but the Falcons got started with a 13-0, five-inning win against Salisbury on Wednesday.

“We were almost rained out,” Coach Greene said. “But the girls really wanted to play on a day when it wasn’t so cold, and we were able to get the field ready.”

Peyton Greene struck out 10 Hornets.

Caroline Forbis struck out four for Salisbury.

West Rowan starts league play Friday at Northwest Cabarrus.