Twice as nice

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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SHELBY – The Windsor-based Cashie Youth Leagues made the long trip here last week a rewarding one as both the 10u and 12u girls each captured a first place trophy at the 2023 Tar Heel Leagues State Softball Tournament.

The 10u squad opened the eight-team event on Thursday with a 1-0 win over Western Harnett and then defeated Burke County by that identical score in round number two on Friday.

Those two victories sent Cashie to Saturday’s winner’s bracket finals where they defeated perennial state powerhouse Wilkes County. Cashie knocked Wilkes off their throne with a 7-4 victory.

Burke County came through the loser’s bracket to gain Sunday’s championship round vs. Cashie. Burke won game one 7-1, setting up a winner-take-all scenario in game two. Cashie bounced back in that game to claim the state title with a 4-1 win following a 90-minute rain delay.

“Our girls were outstanding against the high level of completion we faced at the state tournament,” said Allison Hoggard, head coach of Cashie’s 10u team.

Hoggard added that her team performed admirably on defense, which backed up the stellar pitching efforts of Chloe Hoggard and Hadley Colson who combined for 60 strikeouts in five games.

“I’ve never seen two, 1-0 games at this level,” coach Hoggard noted.

She added that Lili Wells, Logan Jermigan, and Kayla Mizelle had great catches on hard hit balls in the championship game as well as Ella Godwin, at second base, and Colson, at shortstop, turning in excellent efforts defensively.

The Cashie 10u girls pose with their state championship trophy. Kneeling, from left, are Emilee Baker, Ella Warren, Kayla Mizelle, Hadley Colson, Briley Conner, and Heidi Matthews. Second row, from left, are Lillie Beachboard, Ella Godwin, Lilli Wells, Logan Jernigan, Chloe Hoggard, and Caylin Hoggard. On the back row are coaches Courtney Hoggard, Allison Hoggard (head coach), Amanda Hoggard, and Chrystal Godwin. Photo by Dawn Mizelle

“Heidi Matthews caught every game and was amazing behind the plate,” coach Hoggard said. “We were able to get some key hits in key spots. Chloe hit the ball really well, going 9-for-12 for the tournament while Heidi went 8-for-12.

“Burke had an awesome ball club; I’d would love to play them again. I also need to thank our fans for making the trip to Shelby. They kept our girls pumped up,” coach Hoggard added. “And I couldn’t have done this without my coaching staff: Courtney Hoggard, Chrystal Godwin, and Amanda Hoggard.

“I think coming out of a strong district helped us prepare for the level of competition we faced at the state level. District 7 is strong and we saw that at the district tournament in Ahoskie,” she closed.

As for the Cashie 12u team, they were undefeated at the state tournament: 14-4 over Burke County in Thursday’s opener; 9-3 vs. Wilkes County on Friday; 11-1 against Cleveland County in the winner’s bracket finals on Saturday; and 6-2 in the championship game vs. Wilkes County on Sunday.

The 12u squad was also undefeated at the Tarheel League District 7 Tournament held in Ahoskie earlier this month.

“From the district tournament, everything carried over to the state tournament,” said Cashie head coach Martin Phelps. “I was very pleased with our effort and our focus. Our pitching and our defense were excellent and we hit the ball very well against stiff competition.”

The two wins against Wilkes County were very important from a mental standpoint, Phelps noted.

“A lot of the girls on this year’s team were part of Cashie’s 10u team that made it to the state tournament in 2021,” Phelps said. “That team won its first three games, which sent them into the championship series only needing one more victory to win the title. But Wilkes beat us two straight. So we went back this year to take care of some unfinished business.

“Burke County and Wilkes County were very tough this year; both had good pitching,” Phelps added.. “I kind’a felt that we would see Wilkes in the championship game and we did. We were prepared and with a good mind set and that allowed us to win it all.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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