Ahoskie 10U rallies to win Tar Heel District 7 softball title

Published 4:58 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

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WINDSOR – Winners never quit.

The Ahoskie 10U All-Stars captured the Tar Heel District 7 championship earlier this week at a tournament held in Windsor. Team members are, kneeling from left, Avery McGee, Macey Farmer, Leslie Jernigan, Allison Burby, Annsleigh Revelle, and Allyson Vaughan. Second row from left are Abby Cale, Cally Piland, Casey Piland, Mary Welch Gallop, Colleen Jones and Eva Davis. On the back row, from left, are coaches Michael Vaughan, Michael Kellett, Mark McGee, and Thomas Jernigan. Photo by William Anthony

The Ahoskie 10U softball all-stars took that old adage to heart here earlier this week where despite losing their very first game of the Tar Heel District 7 Tournament, they reached deep inside themselves and found the grit and determination it takes to overcome adversity.

And in the end they were rewarded for their efforts by hoisting the District championship trophy, thus securing a spot in the state tournament later this month.

“Losing that first game put us in a hole and we had our work cut out for us if we wanted to fight our way back,” said head coach Michael Vaughan Jr. “I just told the girls to take it one game at the time.”

As it turned out, that strategy worked to perfection.

Ahoskie advanced through the losers bracket of the double-elimination tournament with four straight wins, all by shutout: 8-0 vs. Roanoke Valley, 10-0 vs. Camden, 14-0 vs. Perquimans, and 8-0 vs. Currituck.

That allowed Ahoskie to gain a spot in the tournament championship series. There, Ahoskie faced undefeated Cashie, the team that put them in the loser’s bracket with a 1-0 decision in the tournament’s opening round on June 27.

In the championship series opener on Monday, Ahoskie used Abby Cale’s walk-off RBI hit to edge Cashie, 2-1. That set-up a winner-take-all game, also on Monday.

In the deciding game, ace righthander Casey Piland pitched a shutout to lead Ahoskie to a 2-0 win.

Casey Piland recorded 101 strikeouts in seven games for the Ahoskie 10U All-Stars during the District tournament. Photo by William Anthony

“Casey was dominant on the mound throughout the tournament,” Vaughan said, adding that she struckout 101 batters in seven games. “And she also helped us with her bat.”

Vaughan also praised the offensive efforts of Cale, Leslie Jernigan, and Avery McGee in the championship finale.

“I thought every one of our girls played well and contributed offensively and defensively,” the coach stressed, pointing to his team combining to score 44 runs and surrendering a mere two runs in their seven games.

“These girls never, ever gave up. I’m so proud of each and every one of them,” Vaughan said.

Ahoskie advances to the 2024 Tar Heel League State Softball Tournament, set for July 18-21 in Benson.

“We’re looking forward to that. We’re going to give it our all at the state tournament,” Vaughan said.

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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