GCHS takes opener; ousted in Round 2

Published 10:22 am Monday, May 23, 2016

STEM – The Gates County High softball team won an opening round NC High School Athletic Association 1A softball game May 10 here as they topped Granville Central 4-3 in 11 innings.

The Lady Red Barons opened the contest by scratching out a run in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead after a half-inning of softball.

The home team Lady Panthers would strike back quickly, scoring a run apiece in the bottom of the first and another in the bottom of the second to surge ahead, 2-1.

Gates got a pair of runs in the top of the third inning to first tie the game at 2-2, and then re-take the lead 3-2 after three innings.

Granville Central struck again in the bottom of the sixth to tie it for the third time, 3-3.

The game would remain scoreless until the 11th inning. In the top of inning, junior Marcasia Smith led off by blasting a triple into the gap in left centerfield. Senior Abby Russell followed and laid down a bunt which scored Smith to take the lead by one.

In the bottom of the 11th the Lady Barons defense held strong with Granville Central loading the bases but they never got the tying or winning run across the plate and their half inning remaining scoreless, and that was the ball game.

Junior Elizabeth Ward was the winning pitcher, pitching all 11 innings for the victory.

“The ladies fought hard and stayed focused throughout all 11 innings,” said Gates County coach Leslie Wright. “Their determination and fight truly showed that their hearts were in it to win it.”

The Lady ‘Barons brought that same spirit into their second round game with North Duplin, again on the road – this time in Calypso.

However, Lady Rebels junior Rylee Pate ended up tossing a no-hitter – retiring all 21 Gates batters she faced. North Duplin won the game 3-0 as Mikayla Koch went two-for-four and teammates Brooke Cottle, Natalie Ramirez, and Rayanna Koch drove in runs. North Duplin advanced to play Pender County Heide Trask in Round 3.

Gates County ends a successful softball season at 12-9.