When play in the Tar Heel Leagues District III 10-and-under softball tournament at Al Woodall Park was halted by a downpour on Thursday night, host Erwin slept on a 1-0 deficit against a Western Harnett team focused on payback from a 10-1 loss to Erwin on Wednesday night.
Virginia Howsden had scored for Western before the rain rolled in on Thursday. A storm had postponed the event on Monday as well.
Erwin regrouped and claimed the district championship with a 4-1 win on Friday night. Erwin starts play in the state tournament in Currituck on Thursday.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” said Erwin coach David Bradham. “A good portion of our team has never played softball before. The other portion has played limited softball, so for them to be able to come this far has made me very proud.
“I’ve coached for well over a decade and I think this is the most fun I’ve ever had, coaching this team. I couldn’t be more proud of them. They faced some adversity. They faced a very good pitcher. She was very fast and did an excellent job.
“They battled back after sort of taking it between the eyes (Thursday) night. Coming back and being able to battle back for the win is just a big thing. Couldn’t be more proud of them, looking forward to going to the states.”
Play resumed on Field Two with two out in the bottom of the second inning and Erwin batting. Charley Beasley had a hit in a coach-pitch situation. Assistant coach Travis Pollard came to the circle for those counts as the playing format does not allow walks.
Beasley came around to score the tying run.
Erwin pitcher Sydney Bradham went the entire tournament, including a 4-1 win over Parkwood on Tuesday. Bradham did not allow a baserunner over four innings on Friday. She totaled nine strikeouts for the game. She had yielded three hits on Thursday.
“Sydney is one of our two or three players that has had some experience in softball,” Bradham said. “We knew that if she could find her strike zone, we would be tough to beat. She came out a little slow (Thursday) night and threw a lot of balls, but tonight (Friday), she got it back. She seemed to find her zone. We knew we were going to do some good things when she was pitching better tonight.”
Leadoff batter Megan Harrold got a hit and scored the go-ahead run in the third inning. Beasley circled the bases on a high fly over the right fielder in the fourth.
“Charley’s home run was big for two reasons,” Bradham said. “Obviously, for the run, but as I told her Mom and Charley, the thing about it was that it was a big motivational turnaround for us. It was a 2-1 game at that point, a close game for us. For her to be able to go out there and hit that, I thought was a real game changer. Our team had a lot more enthusiasm at that point. It was a big play.”
Leigha Roberts scored after she was hit by a pitch in the fourth for a 4-1 Erwin lead.
District commissioner Chuck Klaren said there was a higher urgency to complete the softball event due to the state tournament schedule.
Erwin athletic director Don Wilson and workers focused on preparing one field on Friday with the 10-and-under state softball tournament at hand. The 10-and-under district baseball tournament is scheduled to resume on Field One on Monday.