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Lady Eagles to host Gray Stone Day

Lincoln Charter’s Reah Barger delivers a pitch during Tuesday’s playoff game against Roxboro Community School. Barger and the Lady Eagles will take on Gray Stone Day School of Misenheimer today at 5:30 p.m. in the fourth round of the 1A state playoffs.

DAVID KEEVER

Sports Editor

The Lincoln Charter softball team will be in familiar territory today when they host Gray Stone Day School at 5:30 p.m. in Denver.

Today’s game will mark the third time in the last four years that the Lady Eagles have reached the fourth round, with the only exception being last season.  After defeating Thomas Jefferson 13-1 and West Montgomery 11-1 in the first two rounds, Lincoln Charter was eliminated by North Stanly in the third round by a score of 4-2.

In 2015, the Lady Eagles rolled to wins over Hayesville, South Stanly, East Surry and North Stanly, before falling in the 1A West Regional finals to Hiwassee Dam 2 games to 1.  

And in 2014, Lincoln Charter defeated Union Academy, Swain County and Murphy before losing to Hiwassee Dam in round four.  

This season, the Lady Eagles are in the midst of another deep playoff run.  After shutting out North Moore 6-0 in the opening round, Lincoln Charter had to come back from five runs down to defeat North Stokes 11-8 in the second round.

Then on Tuesday of this week, the Lady Eagles had no trouble with Roxboro Community School, rolling to a 12-2 win in six innings.  

Lincoln Charter is averaging 10 runs per game this season and have five batters hitting over .400, including freshman Hallie Mele who leads the team with a .491 average.  Others include Sara Kalinowski (.482), Chloe Johnson (.436), Lily Pressley (.418) and Nikki Sparkman (.415).

Johnson leads the team with 9 home runs, and Sparkman is second with 5.  Johnson, a junior, also leads in RBIs with 39.  

“That’s the thing about this team,” said Lincoln Charter head coach Taylor Putnam after Tuesday’s win.  “Offensively, we’re never out of it.”

Gray Stone Day might even be better offensively that the Lady Eagles.  The Lady Knights come in averaging nearly 11 runs a game, although they haven’t put up big numbers in the playoffs.  

Gray Stone defeated Southern Piedmont 1A opponent Pine Lake Prep 1-0 in the first round, then defeated East Surry in round two by a score of 8-7.  On Tuesday, the Lady Knights shut out Starmount 4-0.

Gray Stone finished in a tie for second place with North Stanly in the Uwharrie Athletic 1A conference, three games back of undefeated conference champion South Stanly.  Of the Lady Knights five losses, four came to North and South Stanly.  North Stanly will be taking on Chatham Central today in the other half of the 1A West bracket.  

Most of the time, however, big games come down to pitching and defense.  Lincoln Charter can stack up with just about anyone in those categories as well.  Junior pitcher Reah Barger has the most starts for the Lady Eagles, and a very good ERA of 2.30.  

Friday’s matchup with Gray Stone Day probably won’t be an easy one for Lincoln Charter.  But it shouldn’t be easy in the fourth round.

Image courtesy of Tonya Holmes / Special to the LTN

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