When the North Lincoln Lady Knights beat North Gaston for third place on Saturday in the Gaston Gazetteâ€™s Softball Slam, it was not the ending they wouldâ€™ve hoped for.
Playing against 3A teams, the 1A Knights more than held their own. On Tuesday, in the bottom of the seventh Jenna Torbert hit a one-out pitch over the fence for a two-run homer giving North Lincoln a hard-fought 7-6 win over Crest.
Torbert had homered in the first inning, giving the Knights a 2-0 lead out of the gate. Amanda Snyder, McKenzie Harkey and Courtney Feldon all had a RBI apiece.
Senior Lindsey Smith had a two-RBI double in the third. Nicole Baxter earned the win in complete-game fashion. She also had eight strikeouts, five walks and gave up seven hits.
On Wednesday, the Knights fell 10-3 to the eventual Slam champion, in the Ashbrook Green Wave. Taylor Ewing went 2-for-3 to lead the Knights. Nicole Hall had a two-RBI single and Torbert had a RBI-double in the losing cause. Hall suffered the loss on the mound while striking out four and walking two.
The defensive highlight for North Lincoln was junior center fielder Donia McDonald catching a deep fly ball then gunning a player at the plate for a double play.
Saturday against North Gaston, the Wildcats got on top with a 2-0 lead in the first. The Knights proved they were up to the task, responding with nine runs in the bottom of the first on three hits and four errors.
The nine-run inning helped propel them to a 14-2 thrashing in five innings.
Hall blasted a three-run homerun in the bottom of the third. Feldon went 3-for-4 to lead the Knights. Torbert and Harkey each singled. Baxter again got the win for North with a complete game two-hitter.
She also struck out seven.
Hall and Feldon were named to the Gazette Slam All-Tournament Team.
Lady Knightsâ€™ head coach Rick Brown was proud of both Hall and Feldon. Feldon had a .600 batting average in the three games.
Brown also felt Torbert was also a strong candidate for the all-tournament team.
â€œDefensively, they were both solid, but their hitting was probably what got them there. Jenna also had a good tournament,â€ he said.
North Lincoln is currently 8-2 on the season. Thursday, the Knights will host Polk County.
Brown was not disappointed with his teamâ€™s finish, but feels the tournament helped assess what areas they need to improve.
â€œIt showed we still have some areas we need to work on. We still need to have less walks from the pitchers and more intensity as a team,â€ he said.
â€œI was pleased we hung in and played hard in all three games. We never folded in two-of-the-three games,â€ he added.
The Slam was also a time Brown could insert some lesser-used players into the lineup to gain valuable game-experience.
All-in-all, Brown was pleased with his teamâ€™s play and hopes the momentum generated will carry over into the remaining Southern Foothills 1A Schedule.
â€œThatâ€™s what we were shooting for. Especially after we lost the second one, to come back strong and get us ready for conference,â€ he said.
by John Mark Brooks