Rams JV softball soars to TIC’s best record

Published 9:51 am Thursday, May 26, 2016

By David Spence

AHOSKIE – The Ridgecroft School junior varsity softball program is reaching new heights. The team posted a 10-4 record (5-2 in the Tarheel Independent Conference), including a nine-game winning streak to end the season.

With nine new faces and only four returners from last year, the Ridgecroft coaching staff placed a lot of emphasis on basic fundamentals, belief in yourself and in your teammates, and having fun with a lot of positive energy. After losing four of the first five games, all cylinders began to click with this squad.

The last loss of the season was against Lawrence Academy in late March. It was a hard fought battle in which Lawrence won by a single run in extra innings, but this was the game where the bats and defense woke up for Ridgecroft. It was almost like a switch came on in that game and provided a surge that would stay with the team for the rest of the season.

The win streak included an exciting doubleheader sweep of Lawrence Academy to secure the top spot in the conference for the second straight year. Wins included by three runs over Lawrence, three over Wayne Christian, two over New Life Christian and two over Northeast Academy.

Mandy Spence, an eighth grader, led the Rams in basically all categories. Spence was the top pitcher and tallied seven wins, three losses and one save, including a complete game no hitter against Northeast. She pitched 53 innings and tallied 85 strikeouts, allowed 42 hits and only 14 earned runs for an ERA of 1.85.

Spence led the team in hitting with a .611 batting average. She also led the team in on-base percentage (OBP of .696), hits (22) and runs-batted-in (11). She was tops in steals (19) and runs scored (28). Spence ended her j.v. career by receiving her third consecutive MVP (voted on by her teammates) for the team at the school’s athletic banquet held May 18 at Chowan University. She also played shortstop and catcher.

Other top performers include Courtney Taylor and Skylar Brown. Taylor provided solid defense at the catcher’s position and tied Brown for second in hitting with a .400 batting average. Taylor was also second on the team in hits, steals and runs scored. Brown dominated the hot corner and had some very nice offensive stats as well. She was second on the team in OBP, RBIs and walks. Brown was third on the team in hits. Taylor received the “Coach’s Award” and Brown received “Most Improved” at the Athletic Banquet.

Taylor Maione (shortstop and pitcher) and Isabella Woodard (first base), both first year players, provided solid play throughout the season that proved very valuable in the team’s success. Third-year player, Brooke Rose (second base), also had a very solid but short season due to a foot injury. During her absence, first-year player Riley Barnes came in and took over the second base duties and accepted the challenge with nice defense.

The rest of the team is: Summer White (outfield), Carlie Kennington (outfield and pitcher), Camryn Joyner (outfield and pitcher), Kacie Hoggard (outfield), Lanie Byrum (outfield), and Emma Ward (outfield).