County teams on pace for solid seasons

Published 4:21 pm Friday, March 22, 2024

Coming off state tournament playoff victories last year, all three county high school softball teams are off to strong starts this spring.

Northside is 8-0 and ranked first among 1A East teams in the latest MaxPreps poll. The Panthers sport a .413 team batting average and their two closest games were three run victories over Bear Grass and Perquimans,

“We treat every practice like it’s a game and work on different things every day to keep improving,” senior Emaleigh Cherry said. “Coach Boyd pushes us to everything right every time and it’s helped our focus during practice and has paid off in games so far.”

Cherry, with a .500 batting average, is one of three Panthers at or above that mark.
Senior Taylor Willard is second in the Coastal Plains Conference with a .636 average and has reached base over 70 percent of the time. Classmate Jaden Clark is also batting .500, while twin sister Jorden (.455) leads the team with 12 runs batted in.

Senior Bella Boykin has 11 RBI and has struck out 23 batters in seventeen innings on the mound, while junior Londyn Keech has not allowed a run on only one hit in 10 innings

“Coach (Keith) Boyd has made a big difference this year and there’s no slack during practice,” Boykin said. “He’s very intense and wants us to be at our best all the time. We trust him and it’s been a fun year so far.”

Boyd moved over from coaching the baseball team to coach the program he started in the late 90’s.

“The girls are glued in and have given me their best effort every day, which has made it fun,” Boyd said. “They’ve bought into the idea that the ball is like a gold nugget that is to be taken care of. We’ve cut down a lot on needless throws that lead to unnecessary runs.”

Washington is 6-2 after a pair of Eastern Plains Conference victories over West Craven. Junior Emma Orr leads the Pack at the plate with a .433 average, six doubles, three home runs and nine RBI. She’s also fanned 104 batters in 55 innings pitched with an 0.89 ERA.
Junior catcher Addison Miller is batting .400 with five doubles and a triple.

Southside is 4-3 and has the Coastal Plains Conference’s leading hitter in senior outfielder Jacqueline Gutierrez, who is batting .679 with 19 hits and 14 RBI. She’s also added four doubles, a triple and a home run.
Junior Lily McLean is third in the conference with a .630 average on 17 hits. She’s scored 16 runs, driven in 11 and has 15 stolen bases.

Senior Mya Bryant has three of the Seahawks four victories, while sophomore Carolina Crisp has fanned 34 batters in 20.1 innings.