The Northwood Chargers defeated the Fike Golden Demons by a final score of 10-4 on Wednesday evening in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A softball playoffs.
The Demons started the scoring with two runs in the top of the third. But Northwood had a huge third inning to counter, scoring four runs. Three more runs in the fourth gave the team a comfortable cushion. Another three runs in the bottom of the sixth effectively sealed the deal.
Fike did not give up, fighting to get one final run in the seventh inning, but some nice defensive plays by the Chargers ended any hope of a comeback.
Northwood (18-5) was the No. 15 seed in the East Region and defeated the No. 17 seeded Demons, who finish the 2017 season with a 14-7 record. Charger head coach Butch Edenfield praised Fike and was proud of his team’s offensive performance.
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“Our hitters started coming around, focusing on what they were supposed to be doing — driving the ball into the gaps. And I think that’s what really broke open the game,” he said.
The Demons were led by Michaela Lockridge, who scored twice and got two singles. Leadoff hitter Erin Pichey also scored once and smacked a double in the third inning.
For Northwood, Ally McKee led the way at the plate by going 4-4 with three RBIs and a big double in the sixth inning.
The Chargers advance to play powerhouse C.B. Aycock, the No. 1 seed in the East and the No. 3 overall seed, in the second round after they beat Western Harnett 10-2.
Carson Shaner gets her 100th hit
Northwood center fielder Carson Shaner stepped up to the plate in the fourth inning of the Charger’s 10-4 win over Fike on Wednesday just like she has hundreds of times before.
Shaner, a dangerous lefty hitter, pulled a ball that just snuck over the 1st base bag and dribbled into the outfield. Even the hit wasn’t anything super special. But then a crackly voice came on over the PA, congratulating Shaner on her 100th career hit as a Northwood Charger.
You’d never have known it from Shaner’s reaction after the hit, but that’s just the way she is.
“She’s not all about Carson, she’s about Northwood,” her coach, Butch Edenfield, said. “She’s the type of player, when she comes to practice, she comes to make herself better but she also wants to work with the younger girls to make them better.”
Shaner came into her senior year with around 60 hits and worked hard all season to make sure she’d hit triple digits. After her team’s victory was secure, she could appreciate the accomplishment.
“It was something that a few of my teammates earlier in the season have achieved,” she said. “And it was just one of my goals at the beginning of the season — to get 100 career hits — and so I got it tonight. I actually got 101 tonight, so it’s really exciting.”
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Shaner, a UNC-Wilmington commit, finished the game going 2-3 with a walk in the third inning, scoring twice and recording an RBI in the fourth inning. She also commanded center field throughout the game, showcasing her rocket arm whenever she got the chance.
After the game, coach Edenfield praised his senior star but didn’t give her the commemorative ball postgame. Shaner, always putting the team before herself, didn’t mind.
“He gave it to one of my other teammates. She went 4-for-4, so she deserved it,” Shaner said.