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Miller’s arm’s a charm for Williamston

By By EUGENE L. TINKLEPAUGH, Staff Writer
MANTEO — All the cage rattling was coming out of the visitor’s dugout Tuesday.
An on-the-prowl Lady Tiger softball team brought some noise and weapons the Redskins weren’t expecting, clinching a 1-0 win in the third round of the NCHSAA Class 1-A state playoffs.
During the regular season, Williamston (17-9) and Manteo (21-6) split a pair of games with the Redskins ousting the Tigers in the first contest. But a solid combination of pitching, batting and defense led Williamston to victory in this third match-up between the two well-matched conference foes.
Morgan Miller was as “greeeeaaaat” as Frosted Flakes on the mound; Heather Jackson led Williamston batters, going 4-4 with two doubles; and defensively, second baseman Cassie Harrell made light work of snagging line drives and diving for hard grounders to make some great plays.
Right from the start his team came through.
Jackson scored off a Samantha Williams slap that Manteo’s second baseman couldn’t field in the first inning.
To get on base, Jackson slapped a two-out single. Clean-up batter Presley Roberson smacked a ball into a right field pocket to advance Jackson to second. Jackson came home on the next play at the hands of a Manteo fielding error, one of three the Redskins tallied for the night.
Jackson’s base hit was one of the key moments that would define the game. Manteo was never able to build up the home field momentum the Redskins’ fans were hoping for.
Williamston held onto its 1-0 edge throughout the night as the Redskins were battling and breathing down their necks.
In the fourth inning, Manteo’s first hit against Miller, combined with a walked batter, would put two runners in scoring position with two outs after a fielder’s choice to first.
Amy Berry followed by smacking a hard grounder between the first and second basemen. Harrell, Williamston’s freshman second baseman, hit the dirt and stopped the ball from getting into the outfield. Harrell dove for the ball, got to her knee and threw to first, which saved a run.
The Redskins threatened again in the fifth. With one out, Manteo’s Hailey Maher doubled past Tiger third basemen Bailey Cowan. Maher stole third, but that’s as close as she could get to home plate.
Williamston catcher Hillary Wynne threw Emily Cahoon out at first after a dropped third strike for the second out of the inning. Miller then walked the Redskins’ number one batter, Mary Wicker, to put runners on the corners. The third out came when Jackson, Williamston’s shortstop, reeled in a grounder in front of second base, pivoted and tossed the ball to Harrell to force out Wicker at second.
Miller allowed two hits in the complete game victory. She struck out four batters and walked four.
The junior is 13-4 on the mound.
Mid-March, Hayes noted, the Tigers were 1-7. The team’s turnaround is on the shoulders of the defense and Miller.
Williamston plays its next playoff game Friday against the winner of the Gates County-Louisburg contest.
Williamston 100 000 0 — 1 7 1
Manteo 000 000 0 — 0 2 3
WP: Morgan Miller; LP: Ashley
Hitters: W — Heather Jackson 4-4 (2B, run), Presley Roberson 1-1, Samantha Williams 0-4 (RBI), Cassie Harrell 1-3, Bailey Cowan 1-2; M — Lauren Horn 1-3, Hailey Maher 1-3 (2B).