Smith, Southside off to perfect start|Hurler dominates in opening round

Published 9:32 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Contributing Write

CHOCOWINITY — The Southside softball team got off to a perfect start to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs as pitcher Emily Smith hurled seven perfect innings to lead the Seahawks to a 9-0 victory over Jones Senior Tuesday.
Smith exhibited excellent command during her seven innings of dominance as she retired 21 straight Trojans, struck out 11 batters and only let the ball out of the infield once to lead the top-ranked Seahawks (16-7) to a win over their wild card counterpart.
“I was really focused,” Smith said. “I wanted to get past the first round and we were able to do that.”
The perfect game was Smith’s first as a member of the Southside varsity team, and the senior said she didn’t realize what she had going until the fifth inning.
“Towards the fifth inning it struck me. I was like ‘there hasn’t been anybody on base yet,’” Smith said. “I just hoped I could keep it up.”
Southside coach John Lohman said Smith’s ability to place her fastball were she wanted it was the key to her success.
“She was excellent tonight. She gave everything you would expect out of her,” Lohman said. “She was locating her fastball and keeping the hitters off balance.”
While the Albemarle Conference Trojans (7-13) struggled to catch up to Smith, the Southside hitters wasted no time putting up runs against Jones starter Kaitlyn Stilley.
Aggressive base running by leadoff hitter Kristen Ayers (1-for-4, two runs) gave Southside its first run in the bottom of the first inning. It would be the only run the Seahawks would need.
Ayers reached base on a Trojans’ error, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and eventually scored after Jones Senior third baseman Tina Jones couldn’t handle a throw from catcher Kenly Smith on an Ayers steal of third base.
Three batters later, Baily Hobbs (2-for-3, two RBI) cracked an RBI single up the middle to score Shakeria Lomax (1-for-4, one run) and take a 2-0 lead.
Southside would add another run in the third thanks to a D.D. Stanley RBI single, then pushed the game out of reach by adding two runs in the fourth, and four runs in the fifth.
The Seahawks’ bats were hot, as they recorded a hit in every inning except the seventh, and were led at the plate by Kellie Hardison, Becky Poole, Hobbs and Smith, who drove in two runs a piece.
“We are playing pretty well right now, but when we come out I expect this level of play,” Lohman said. “Jones was a very good team, but we want to beat a first-round team with some strength and I felt like we did that.”
The Seahawks will host Bear Grass, who beat Louisburg 10-0 in six innings in first-round action, on Thursday night.