Defense and smart baserunning were keys for No. 8 Midway as the Raiders opened the NCHSAA 2-A softball playoffs with an 8-0 shutout win over visiting No. 9 Bartlett Yancey on Monday night.
“Our girls were pumped and ready to go today,” said Midway coach Susan Clark. “They were very excited coming off of that Friday victory (3-2 in 10 innings over East Duplin to win an East Central 2-A Conference first place tiebreaker). So, that emotion was still there. Running and forcing them to throw the ball around. Baserunning was key.”
Senior Miranda Holmes pitched the complete game shutout for the Raiders (13-1), giving up no runs on one hit and no walks, with 14 strikeouts.
“We have phenomenal pitching,” coach Clark said. “Miranda always steps up and does a super job, no matter who we’re playing. She hits her spots and she makes things happen.”
Senior Chloe Baggett had two hits, two RBIs and one run scored, junior Rylie Williams had two hits, including a double, one RBI and three runs scored and sophomore Lainey Hughes had two hits and one run scored to lead Midway at the plate.
Emma Clark had one hit and one RBI. Sydney Williams had a triple and two runs scored. Jega Dapuyen had one hit and one run scored. Holmes and Bella Bryant had one hit apiece.
“We had some hits from girls that had not been getting hits,” coach Clark said. “We’re still leaving runners on in scoring position, which is frustrating.”
Junior Lizzie Proctor had the lone hit for the Buccaneers (8-1).
Midway scored on the first pitch in the bottom of the first when Dapuyen laid down a bunt single and rounded the bases on a pair of errors. Rylie Williams scored a similar manner when she drew a walk, stole second and scored on a pair of errors.
Baggett and Hughes led off the bottom of the fourth with a pair of hits. Baggett scored on an error on Hughes’ hit and Hughes scored when Emma Clark followed with a base hit.
Sydney Williams was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fifth and scored on an error when her sister, Rylie Williams, followed with a double. Rylie Williams scored on a ground ball from Baggett.
Midway added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sydney Williams tripled and scored on a base hit from her sister, Rylie Williams, who scored on a base hit from Baggett.
The Buccaneers threatened to end the shutout in the top of the seventh. Bethany Solomon reached on an error. She was forced out at second when Grace Watlington hit into a fielder’s choice, but Watlington took second on an errant throw on a double-play attempt and took third on a wild pitch. But she was stranded there when Holmes ended the game with a strikeout.
Midway will either travel to No. 1 Currituck County (10-3) or host No. 16 East Bladen (7-6) in the second round of the playoffs Wednesday. The first-round game between the Knights and the Eagles was postponed to Tuesday.
“These games are so close together, there is no travel planning time,” coach Clark said. “And I was upset that they moved that game to tomorrow, because, honestly, we won’t know until 8:00 tomorrow night if we’re traveling three or four hours or if we’re hosting a game.
“But we’re always prepared and I’ve already looked at every scenario for the first two rounds. I’ve gone through every scenario and every possibility and know the weaknesses and strengths. I’m ready. We’ve just got to get them ready. But they’re good. They’re excited.”