Softball recap: Playoffs in sight for county teams

Published 8:24 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

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In what is shaping up to be the most successful softball season in Beaufort County since before COVID-19, all three public school teams have a chance to make the playoffs.

Coming off a trip to the 2A state championship, Washington High School beefed up its schedule to prepare early for a return trip.

The Pack is 10-5 overall, with losses to 3A Swansboro (twice), Richlands and West Carteret and to 4A South Central, with a victory over defending 4A state champion D.H. Conley.

WHS is tied for the Eastern Plains Conference lead with SouthWest Edgecombe at 6-0 with both games against them still ahead.

“Our conference is better than last year and we expect some tough games down the stretch,” coach Brad Horton said. “We hope our schedule will prepare us to make another deep playoff run. Our pitching and defense has been very good, but we’ve struggled at the plate. Hopefully, the good pitching we’ve seen so far will help our players make adjustments when they see it again in the playoffs.”

Sophomore Emma Harris leads WHS with a .386 average and 14 runs batted in. Senior Ava Mizell has scored a team-best 18 runs.

Sophomore pitcher Emma Orr has followed up her All-State freshman year with another solid campaign. The left hander has tossed three no-hitters and leads the EPC with an 0.88 earned run average and 106 strikeouts in 63.2 innings.

Northside is tied for the Coastal Plains 1A Conference lead with Pamlico County at 4-0 and host the Hurricanes Tuesday.

The Panthers are third in the 1A East rankings behind the Hurricanes and state runner-up Bear Grass.

“So far, so good,” first-year coach Kevan Rybat said. “Our spirit is very good and we don’t quit. We’re well stocked on the mound with three pitchers and our bats have been very good. We face good teams down the stretch and that will tell the tale.”

Junior Bella Boykin leads the CPC with an 0.75 ERA and is third in the league with a .581 batting average. She’s tied for the lead with three home runs and is second with a .649 on base percentage.

Senior Hannah Black is third with a .639 on base percentage and fifth in average (.536) and runs scored (18).

Emaleigh Cherry and Londyn Keech are among the top 10 in batting average, while Jaden Clark is just behind Boykin with a 1.52 ERA.

Southside is 5-7 overall and 0-4 in the conference after a pair of losses to the Panthers and East Carteret. The schedule lightens down the stretch with games against Jones and Lejeune ahead.

The Seahawks have four of the top 10 hitters in sophomore Lily McLean (.545) senior Logan Dail (.500), freshman Savannah Silverthorne (.444) and junior Jacqueline Hernandez (.441).

Dail is second with 22 stolen bases, while McLean (19) and Hernandez (11) are third and fourth.

Southside hosts Jones Tuesday.