Softball Teams Set To Do Battle At Walnut Creek


RALEIGH- As usual, pitching and defense should be featured as the top fast-pitch softball teams in the state prepare for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state championships this weekend. But there are also a number of players with spectacular offensive statistics in the eight-team field.

For the first time in many years in fast pitch, the Eastern and Western champions in each classification will face off in a best of three championship series at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex.  All four of the championships are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

This will mark the 18th annual fast pitch championships and the 38th year for NCHSAA softball. The Raleigh Sports Consortium and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are among the host city sponsors.

Here is a look at each of the four championships:

Class 4-A: Indian Trail Porter Ridge (31-1) is enjoying its best season ever in its short history and will face Holly Springs (24-3) for the 4-A championship.

Porter Ridge knocked off perennial power North Davidson two games to one in the Western Regional championship series. The Pirates are led by Lexi Davis, who has been the Southern Carolina Conference Player of the Year four years in a row. This year she has all the pitching decisions for Porter Ridge (31-1) and has a microscopic earned run average of 0.25, but she is also one of the top hitters in the finals with a .511 average, eight homers and 43 runs batted in.

Holly Springs will counter with a standout of its own, Erica Nunn, who is 22-3 on the mokund with an 0.55 ERA and is also hitting .635 with three homers and 36 RBI.

Class 3-A: Pikeville Charles B. Aycock (29-2) has established itself as one of the state’s stronger softball programs and will take on Fred T. Foard (25-4) of Catawba County for the 3-A crown. Aycock is making the trip to Walnut Creek for the eighth time in the last 13 years for the finals, although the Golden Falcons have not won a state title during that run.

Meredith Burroughs swings a tremendous bat for Aycock, with a .525 batting average, 17 homers and 42 RBI.

Fred T. Foard, which won the 1998 championship, is led by Lexi Shubert, who is 25-4 overall on the mound with an 0.28 ERA and 358 strikeouts.

Class 2-A: Wilson Beddingfield (26-4) takes on Madison (23-3) for the 2-A championship, with both teams making their first trip to the NCHSAA softball championships.

Madison, a fairly young team, is paced by Makayla Drewnoski, who has slammed 16 homers and driven home 44 runs to go with a .526 average.

Beddingfield has set a school record for wins this season, and leading the way offensively are freshman Caroline Smith and sophomore Nickie Womble. Inside the circle, junior Jenna Pate and sophomore Brooke Jones have carried the Lady Bruins.

Class 1-A:  Camden (16-11) is probably one of the surprise teams in the finals after starting the season 1-5, and the Bruins will face South Stanly (25-6).

  Rachel Gillikin is the top Camden pitcher (16-10, 1.69 ERA) and Lindsay Russell is batting .438 with eight homers. The Rowdy Rebel Bulls of South Stanly will counter with Emily Poplin, who is batting .478, while Emily Hearne has pitched exceptionally well in postseason play for South.

The Raleigh Sports Consortium is the primary host city sponsor for the softball championships.



Walnut Creek Softball Complex, Raleigh

All series are best of three

CLASS 4-A: Indian Trail Porter Ridge (31-1) vs. Holly Springs (24-3), Field 1

Friday, June 1: Game 1, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 2: Game 2, 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 2: Game 3, if necessary, 2:30 p.m.

CLASS 3-A: Pikeville Charles B. Aycock (29-2) vs. Newton Fred T. Foard (25-4), Field 5

Friday, June 1: Game 1, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 2: Game 2, 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 2: Game 3, if necessary, 2:30 p.m.

CLASS 2-A: Madison (23-3) vs. Wilson Beddingfield (26-4), Field 2

Friday, June 1: Game 1, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 2: Game 2, 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 2: Game 3, if necessary, 2:30 p.m.

CLASS 1-A: Camden (16-11) vs. South Stanly (25-6), Field 3

Friday, June 1: Game 1, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 2: Game 2, 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 2: Game 3, if necessary, 2:30 p.m.

NCHSAA FastFacts

Event: 38th annual NCHSAA Softball Championships

Date: June 1-2, 2012

Site: Walnut Creek Softball Complex

First Held: 1975 (slow-pitch); first fast-pitch tournament was in fall of 1994

Qualifiers: Eastern and Western champions meet for state title in best two-of-three series; 64 schools initially qualified for playoffs in each classification

Last year’s champions: 1-A: East Surry; 2-A: Canton Pisgah; 3-A: Greenville D.H. Conley; 4-A: Alexander Central

Tickets: Eight dollars per gane

Of Interest: Entering the 2012 playoffs, East Surry had won 62 NCHSAA post-season softball games, the most of any school.

Host City Sponsors: Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau