High school softball: West stays hot, beats Carson
Published 4:31 am Friday, April 7, 2023
CHINA GROVE — It was a big week for West Rowan softball.
Wins over East Rowan and Carson put the Falcons back in the South Piedmont Conference race, and, in between those two victories, West stuffed South Iredell 10-0 in a non-conference game that included center fielder Ashlee Ennis snatching a ball for an out that actually had cleared the fence. West coach Jimmy Greene declared it the play of the year.
“It was just a great week for us,” West coach Jimmy Greene said. “We’re playing now the way I believed we were capable of playing when the season started. We’ve got a really good lineup. We’ve got a lot of seniors. We’ve got people making defensive plays that you would have to see to believe. Arabelle Shulenberger had a wonderful week pitching, and I think the team seeing Arabelle feeling good again made everyone feel good again.”
West survived a long weather delay and rolled 8-1 against Carson on Thursday, splitting the season series and getting even with the Cougars for an early-season loss in Mount Ulla.
West (9-3-1, 6-2) won its fourth in a row. Carson (10-5, 7-2) had a four-game winning streak stopped. Carson’s loss moved East Rowan back into first place in what has become an eventful SPC race.
Thursday’s game began with a tremendous at-bat by Ennis against Carson ace Lonna Addison. Ennis fouled off five 3-and-2 pitches before she walked, and West led 2-0 in a hurry when Tennessee commit Emma Clarke followed Ennis by sending a rocket over the center-field fence.
Addison got one of those runs back in the bottom of the first when she homered off Shulenberger.
“That was a rise ball that didn’t rise enough — a mistake pitch,” West catcher Brooke Kennerly reported. “We wanted it higher, and Lonna is a good hitter. She went out and got it. But other than that, Arabelle was great. Three out of four pitches were strikes.”
Addison’s homer would be Carson’s only hit of the game. Shulenberger found a groove, struck out six and walked only one. She kept Landry Stewart and Phoebe Cole, the girls who usually set the table for Addison, off the bases, and the Cougars couldn’t get anything going offensively.
Clarke’s homer was big, and West got an equally large hit from senior Karsen Simpson in the third inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Simpson socked a three-run double over the left fielder’s head for a 5-1 lead.
“That was the most exciting play of the day,” Kennerly said. “Clutch at-bat by Karsen, and it changed the game.”
The delay came with the Falcons leading 5-1 after three innings.
Taylor Keller doubled to lead off the fourth after play resumed, took third on a bunt by Riley Haggas and scored on a groundout by Shulenberger to make it 6-1.
Simpson led off the fifth with a homer to make it 7-1. Ennis hit a double after two Carson miscues to give the Falcons an 8-1 lead.
Addison struck out eight, walked three and allowed nine hits.
Ennis had three hits. Simpson drove in four with her two hits. Clarke had two hits and two walks in her four trips to the plate.
In Wednesday’s win against South Iredell, Clarke and Ennis had triples, and the Falcons smacked five doubles to back five shutout innings by Shulenberger.
Chloee Stoner was at it again for North Rowan on Wednesday. She hit two homers — that made it four homers in two days — in an 8-2 loss to South Davidson.
Stoner also struck out 13 in the circle.
Salisbury was involved in two lopsided games, a 15-0 win against Thomasville on Wednesday and a 21-0 loss to Gray Stone on Thursday. Jayla Robertson, Mia Cowan and Allison Peeler had hits for the Hornets against Gray Stone