Ledford softball rallies past East Davidson
The Ledford softball team finally got its offense going, and it came through with a number of key hits in the clutch.
Following a 2-0 win against Central Davidson, the Panthers completed the nonconference doubleheader sweep by rallying in the late innings, scoring three in the fifth and six in the sixth, to beat East Davidson 10-5 on Friday evening.
“I’d been waiting for us to break out all day,” Ledford coach Charlie Brown said. “We hadn’t been able to put together a couple hits. But we finally put it together. It took us a while. At one point, I said we’ve scored three runs all day. And that’s unusual for us. But we finally put it together.”
The Panthers, after grabbing an early lead on Meg Everhart’s solo home run in the second, trailed 3-1 into the fifth inning. With runners on first and second and one out, however, Ashley Best blasted a three-run home run to left-center to give Ledford a 4-3 lead.
“Coach Brown pointed out the pitcher had just thrown four straight balls,” said Best, an Appalachian State signee. “So, she was probably going to try to get ahead right there. He said, ‘If you time it right and you’ve got your timing down, then go for it.’ I said, ‘OK.’
“She threw me that first one, then the second pitch was a strike. And I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go for it.’ It felt good.”
In the sixth, the Panthers, sending 11 batters to the plate, then scored six runs to lead 10-3. Madison Tinkle, Megan Hayworth, Jessie Hayworth, Best, Mackenzie Cranford and Everhart each had an RBI in the inning, as Ledford tallied seven hits.
Destiny DeBerry went 3 for 4 with a double while Best, Everhart and Bayleigh Griffith each had two hits to lead the Panthers (8-4), who struggled to string hits together during the first four innings before finally breaking out late.
“They just started hitting the ball,” Golden Eagles coach Amanda Akins said. “When I switched (pitchers), I think she got a little nervous out there. It’s a bigger crowd and she really hasn’t pitched in that. It wasn’t the same routine she’s been through.
“She got back in a little bit of a groove, but they just started hitting the ball and there wasn’t anything you could do with it. ... But I’m very proud of my kids. They haven’t given up on a game yet. They always try to come back and do what they can do.”
Morgan Key had a two-run double in the third that gave East (9-5) a 2-1 lead. Natalie Naturile, a Catawba signee, then added an RBI single in the fourth for a 3-1 lead. The Golden Eagles then scored two runs on back-to-back errors by Ledford in the seventh.
Megan Hayworth allowed only four hits in earning the complete-game win for the Panthers. She struck out seven while also walking seven. Brooke Walser took the loss for East in relief of Haley Ray, who pitched five total innings in two stints in the circle.
In the early game, Everhart limited Central Davidson to just three hits while striking out four in the complete-game shutout. DeBerry was 2 for 4 while Best was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Everhart was 1 for 2 while Reagan Bray was 1 for 3 with an RBI double.
Ledford plays again this morning at 11 at Fred T. Foard near Hickory while the Golden Eagles visit Southern Guilford on Monday at 6 p.m.