Knights turn the ‘Paige’ on Pungo
By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Terra Ceia softball saw its future on Monday, and it looked pretty bright.
Pitching in her first ever Tarheel Independent Conference playoff game against the rival Raiders, seventh-grader Paige Roberson rose to the challenge of the postseason and locked up the Pungo batters for a 5-1 win Monday at the Susiegray McConnell Sports Complex in Washington.
The lefty used her electric fastball to fan 15 batters and scatter six hits to lead fifth-seeded Terra Ceia (10-9, 6-7) over the fourth-seeded Raiders (8-9, 6-6) and into the second round of the playoffs.
The Knights’ rookie sensation also came up big at the plate, where she cracked a two-run triple to left field to provide the game-winning run.
Raiders’ coach Jimmy Johnson said his team struggled to get timely hits.
Roberson baffled the Raiders five through seven hitters, as they went 0-9 with nine strikeouts.
After the game, Roberson said that Monday’s performance was one of her best.
Senior first baseman Jessica Vander Weit said Roberson’s effort fueled the Knights’ victory.
Roberson, and her counterpart Brinkley Johnson traded zeros in the first two innings, before the Raiders took an early lead in the bottom of the third.
Jodi Rose led off the inning by drawing a walk, and two batters later was brought home by an Erica Smith RBI single.
Terra Ceia answered in the next inning, as it strung together a two-out rally to tie the Raiders. Holly McDonald reached base after being hit by a pitch, and reached third on a Jessica Vander Weit single, setting the stage for Cathryn Smith to bloop an RBI single to knot the game at one a piece.
The Knights carried their momentum into the top of the fifth, where they produced a three-hit, three-run rally.
Jill Van Essendelft and Jackson led off the inning with a single and a double respectively, and after a Morgan Boyd flied out to first, Roberson stepped to the plate and launched a two-run triple to the left field fence to put the Knights up 3-1.
Roberson would score on the next at-bat, when Pungo couldn’t handle a McDonald grounder to third.
The Knights added an insurance run in the seventh, when Boyd, who is also a seventh grader, doubled home Jackson to close out the scoring at 5-1.
The Knights will be back in action today, when they continue their postseason run against the No. 3 ranked independent team in the state, Lawrence, in Elizabeth City.
Terra Ceia 000 130 1 — 5 9 1
Pungo 000 100 0 — 1 — 6 2
WP: Paige Roberson; LP: Brinkley Johnson
Hitters: T — Katie Jackson 2-4 (2 R), Morgan Boyd 1-4 (RBI), Paige Roberson 2-4 (3B, 2 RBI), Jessica Vander Weit 1-3, Cathryn Smith 2-3 (RBI), Jill Van Essendelft 1-3; P — Breatte Garrison 1-4, Erica Smith 1-3 (RBI), Tess Smithwick 2-3 (2B), Brinkley Johnson 1-3, Kaitlyn Sawyer 1-2.