Hot Shots!

Published 12:13 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2017

SMITHFIELD – The Ahoskie 10U girl’s softball team recently competed in the 2017 Tar Heel League Inc. Girls Softball State Tournament in Clayton and Smithfield July 20-23 at Smithfield Community Park.

The team finished runner-up in the four-day competition while making history for the first time ever for the Town of Ahoskie.

“The backbone of this team are the ones I had the privilege to take to the states in 2015,” said head coach Paul Cherry. “I knew that the talent was there to have a repeat.”

Members of the Ahoskie 10U softball team pose with their trophy after finishing runner-up in the Tar Heel Leagues state tournament in Clayton last month. Team members are: (from left, on ground) Abby Vaughan, Layla Elayah, Karley Jo Rose, Makenzie Slaughter, Klaire Cherry, and Sara Hodges; (kneeling, from left) Carly Piland, Hannah Slaughter, Katie Chamblee, Camryn Taylor, and Layla Farmer; (standing, from left) Coach Quinn Vaughan, Coach Erica Slaughter, Head Coach Paul Cherry, and Coach Tim Hodges. | Contributed Photos

Game one of the state tourney was against Western Harnett and Ahoskie won 20-0.  Shortstop Makenzie Slaughter went 4-for-4 with a triple and three singles, Carly Piland had a double and two singles, while Layla Farmer added two doubles and a single.  All players ended up scoring in the game as Camryn Taylor had three strike outs and two triples at bat, followed by Karley Jo Rose with two strike outs and a pair of singles.

The girls followed that up with a two-game split: losing to a tough Wilkes County team 8-1 before bouncing back against the host team, Johnston County South, and winning it 13-1.

The leading batter in the win over Johnston County South was Hannah Slaughter with a triple and a double, followed by Mak Slaughter, Sara Hodges, Klaire Cherry, and Piland with two singles. Leading pitchers of the game were Taylor, Mak Slaughter, and Hodges combined to get the win in the circle. The victory put Ahoskie in the Final Four.

Game Four was against a tough Shelby County team that Ahoskie edged 1-0.  Mak Slaughter singled, stole second, and scored the only run of the game on a single by Hodges.  Winning pitcher for the game was Taylor with six strike outs, putting Ahoskie in the final three.

Game-Five sent Ahoskie against district foe, Currituck, and the ladies won 6-4. Leading batters were Mak Slaughter and Hodges with a triple and two singles. Abby Vaughan, Hannah Slaughter, Cherry, Piland, and Farmer also contributed with singles. Pitcher of the game was Taylor with six strikeouts that put Ahoskie in the championship game.

The title match-up was against still-undefeated Wilkes County and Ahoskie lost 9-0.

“This team was tough on both sides of the ball,” said Cherry. “A couple of my girls were waist-high to them, but we went out on the field and gave them what we had but fell short at the end. My hat goes off to them for they were a very athletic team and very well-coached.”

Coach Cherry (white shorts) discusses strategy with the team during a time out.

“From June 19 when we practiced Taylor mentioned to the girls they needed to believe in themselves,” recalled Cherry. “From that moment forward BELIEVE took over my team and we started seeing the teamwork and dedication that we had expected. I can’t say it enough on how proud I am of these 11 girls and three coaches that became a family and made memories of a lifetime.”

Cherry also extended a special thank you to the parents, grandparents, friends and anyone else that contributed to this team.

“I’m proud to be a Hot Shot,” he stated.