VALE –– West Lincoln didn’t pound the softball, but with the way Cassidy Wise was pitching the Rebels didn’t have to.
Wise struck out 13 and scattered a trio of singles in seven stellar innings to lift one-hit West Lincoln to a 3-0 win over Lincolnton on Tuesday in the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference opener for both teams.
Wise yielded singles to Saylor Whitesides, Ashley Duncan and Courtney Campbell, but the Wolves (1-2, 0-1) managed to get a baserunner beyond first base only twice.
The sophomore right-hander struck out the side in order in the fourth and retired 10 in a row from the third inning into the sixth until Campbell –– the tough-luck loser –– broke the streak with a two-out single through the hole on the left side of the infield.
“We kind of jumped on her back and started riding. She did a real good job,” Rebels coach Tyler Sain said. “I’m pleasantly surprised.”
Also surprising Sain was West Lincoln’s lack of production in the box, and Campbell had a lot to do with that.
The junior hurler was done in by seven walks to go along with a pair of untimely wild pitches in the first inning, but she kept a no-hitter intact until Katie Hively chopped a tough one towards second baseman Shelby Rollins in the fifth. Rollins had to range to her left to field the ball, bobbled it, then rushed the throw to first where Hively was called safe.
The hit scored Raeven McCrodden, who drew a five-pitch walk to lead off the home-half of the frame, and gave the Rebels (4-1, 1-0) a 3-0 lead that stood.
“I thought my kid pitched pretty good,” Wolves coach Patricia Anderson said.
Campbell, who struck out six, walked McCrodden to start the West Lincoln portion of the first, then walked Kylee Leonhardt two batters later.
A wild pitch during Leonhardt’s at-bat put McCrodden at third, and another wild pitch to Hively allowed McCrodden to score and moved Leonhardt to second. Leonhardt then took third when the ball got away from Campbell as she tried to flip it to the plate in an attempt to get McCrodden.
Hively then hit a slow roller to second that scored Leonhardt for the early 2-0 lead.
“Defensively, they played well, other than one or two little things. … That started off the inning badly,” Anderson said.
After scoring 11 runs in a season-opening win against Gastonia Ashbrook, Anderson’s squad has been held scoreless in its last two games, and struggled with the bat on Tuesday as well.
Lincolnton also hasn’t seen much practice or game time due to the recent string of non spring-like weather –– along with West Lincoln –– so Tuesday’s league opener showed more rust than it did what to expect from each team.
“My kids didn’t hit well today. … It wasn’t a good day for us in the batter’s box, at all,” Anderson said. “I think as the season goes a long it’s going to get a whole lot better. I’m pretty confident in that.”
West Lincoln, which played error-free defense for the second game this season, hadn’t seen game action in seven days while the Wolves went six days in between games.
The pitching was there, but it seemed the offense was a bit behind.
“We played real solid defensively,” Sain said, “we’ve just got to hit the ball.”