High school softball: West, Carson win; Hornets end season

Published 6:51 am Wednesday, May 3, 2023


From staff reports

MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan coach Jimmy Greene always has a number in his head before a softball game — the number of runs he thinks it’s going to take to secure a victory.

Usually that number is conservative — 3 or 4, maybe 5 —  but with East Rowan providing the opposition for Tuesday’s SPC semifinal, the number in Greene’s head was 8.

East has a lot of offense. The Mustangs rarely strike out, they’ve got serious power and they’ve got some red-hot hitters.

East’s hot hitters didn’t cool off, but West outscored the Mustangs. The Falcons slugged three homers and won 9-5.

Greene didn’t feel anywhere close to safe until the eighth run crossed the plate in the bottom of the sixth.

West has won 12 in a row.

“When we hit, we win, and we’re hitting as a team right now,” Greene said. “East swung the bats really well today, and we had a lot of good at-bats against two good pitchers. Besides all the hits, there were a lot of hard-hit outs. Both teams made great defensive plays.”

Riley Haggas launched a two-run homer to put the Falcons on top in the second inning.

Emma Clarke, who stole four bases, pounded her eighth homer in the third as West went ahead 5-1. Clarke only got two swings — a homer and a double. After that, East coach Todd McNeely pointed to first base when Clarke came up.

Fourth-seeded East didn’t stay down long. With a two-run fourth and a two-run fifth, East fought back even at 5-all.

In the bottom of the fifth, West’s EA Nance delivered the biggest blow — a solo homer to center to break the tie.

“EA had an error in the field on a hard-hit ball and was a little down about it,” Greene said. “But she put it behind her when she got in the batter’s box.”

Nance’s homer, her fourth of the season, provided a huge lift for West pitcher Arabelle Shulenberger. The sophomore pitcher got the Mustangs out in the top of the sixth, and then West scored three times in the bottom half of the inning to give her some breathing room.

All the runs came with two outs following a walk to Clarke. Seniors Brooke Kennerly, Madelyn VonCanon and Karsen Simpson got hits. Simpson knocked in two teammates for runs No. 8 and No. 9.

Then Shulenberger finished it off.

“There have been a lot of games where Arabelle’s pitching has carried us,” Greene said. “Today we were able to pick her with a lot of offense and a lot of defense. Emma made some freak-athlete plays at shortstop, took away sure hits,  and Ashlee Ennis turned some seeds into outs in center field. We needed every bit of it to beat a great team.”

Chloe Shank had three more hits for East, including a double. Lily Kluttz socked another home run. Kluttz had two hits and drove in four for the Mustangs (14-8).

West Rowan is sixth in the 3A West RPI rankings and plays Carson on Thursday at 6 for the championship.

Carson is ninth on the 3A West RPI list. Central Cabarrus is 10th, while East is 14th and still could get a first-round home playoff game. South Rowan is 23rd and will give the SPC five teams in the playoffs.


MOUNT ULLA — Holly Stowe hit a home run and Lonna Addison turned in another powerful two-way performance to lead Carson to a 3-2 win against Central Cabarrus in a South Piedmont Conference Tournament semifinal.

With two of the SPC’s best pitchers in the circle, Carson and Central Cabarrus played three low-scoring, one-run games this season. The Cougars won for the second time against the Vikings on Tuesday in neutral Mount Ulla.

Second-seeded Carson scored twice in the first inning against Central hurler Abby Ragan. Landry Stewart got it started with a bunt single. Addison tripled to center field to score Stewart, and Emily Kann’s bunt got Addison home.

The Vikings made it 2-1 in the top of the third.

Addison hit her second triple in the third inning, but it came with two outs and the Cougars couldn’t score.

Stowe socked a home run, her second, leading off the fourth to boost Carson’s lead to 3-1.

Emma Salter got her second RBI for the Vikings in the fifth, but Central had a runner thrown out at third base to end the inning.

Central went down 1-2-3 in the sixth and seventh, Addison, who walked one, ended the game with her 11th strikeout.

Ragan struck out seven and walked three.

The tight win puts Carson (15-7) in Thursday’s championship game against top-seeded West Rowan (17-3-1). Carson split with the Falcons during the regular season.


THOMASVILLE — Top-seeded West Davidson scored three runs in the fourth inning and held off Salisbury 4-3 on Tuesday in a Central Carolina Conference Tournament semifinal played at East Davidson.

The fourth-seeded Hornets played one of their better games.

Ashley Yang had two of Salisbury’s five hits, including a homer. Katie Peeler blasted another homer.

Addison Myers and Allison Peeler also had hits for Salisbury.

Katie Peeler struck out four, walked one and allowed two earned runs.

The Hornets (10-12) are 40th in the 2A West RPI rankings, so their season is over.


North Rowan (5-8) is 31st in the 1A West RPI rankings, so the Cavaliers could still get into the 32-team 1A West playoff bracket, even though they didn’t make the conference tournament.