High school softball: Mustangs win 1-0 to reach 4th round

Published 4:29 am Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Staff report

GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan’s softball team has reached the fourth round of the playoffs for the first time since the glory days of 2008-11 when the Mustangs won four straight conference championships and went to back-to-back Final Fours.

“Some people asked me when was the last time East made it this far,” head coach Todd McNeely said. “I told them to look at the sign out there. That’s the last time.”

There haven’t been any easy playoff games.

East won 1-0 on Monday against Rockingham County, the second time the Mustangs have scratched out a 1-0 win in the playoffs. In between the two 1-0 games there was a 6-2 win against West Rowan that the Mustangs broke open in the sixth inning.

The game with Rockingham County was moved up a day, with Monday’s weather forecast looking more favorable than Tuesday’s.

East got only two hits, but one of them was a decisive run-scoring single by Kori Miller in the sixth inning.

Eleni Miller walked. Emma Efird, a fast freshman, went in to run for her. When Kori Miller looped a single to left-center, Efird was able to score. East took a chance waving her home, but hits were hard to come by and Efird’s speed was able to beat the throw.

Third-seeded East’s biggest defensive play was made by Jordan Dry. She made a diving catch in right-center in the second inning.

“They score at least one run there if she doesn’t make that play,” McNeely said. “She had to make a full layout for it.”

Freshman Madi Tigert had another super game in the circle. Sixth-seeded Rockingham County (19-6) had only three hits, including a double by Presley Rothe.

Tigert struck out four and walked one. East made two errors, but they didn’t hurt.

Rockingham County pitcher Ava Grace Pruitt struck out nine Mustangs.

East (23-3) is scheduled to play its fourth-round game on Friday.

East’s opponent will be second-seeded Kings Mountain (20-0) or seventh-seeded Fred T. Foard (14-4). Kings Mountain and Foard are still scheuled to play on Tuesday.

East would host Fred T. Foard, but would have to travel to Kings Mountain.

In the other 3A West third-round games, top-seeded Oak Grove will host 25 seed AC Reynolds and No. 4 Piedmont hosts No. 12 Crest.

In 4A, Mooresville is seeded second in 2A West and will be at home against No. 10 Alexander Central in a third-round matchup.