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Lady Knights get two wins; stay atop Region 3-AA

Posted: March 26, 2013 1:48 p.m.
Updated: March 27, 2013 5:00 a.m.

North Central continued to score runs in bunches and still sits atop the Region 3-AA softball standings after a pair of conference victories over Columbia High and Fairfield Central last week.
The Lady Knights defeated Columbia, 16-2, last Tuesday before knocking off Fairfield Central, 13-10, two nights later, to improve to 4-0 in conference action.
“Good pitching and pretty good defense, at times, kept us in a position to pull out the victories,” said NC head coach Mike Grigsby. “We will continue to work hard to try and secure more wins in the region this week.”
In Tuesday’s game with the Capitals, the Lady Knights received a strong pitching performance from Alexa Williamson, along with good defense to keep the Capitals off the scoreboard until the third inning when the guests scored their only two runs of the night.
NC scored five runs in the first inning before tacking on three runs in the second for an 8-0 lead on which they would not look back. By the end of the fourth, the Lady Knights were well ahead at, 16 to 2, and had put this one away.
The hostesses, once again, piled up hits and runs as Alexis Baker had two hits and scored three runs. Jo Phillips scored three times on a hit and a walk while Maranda McCaskill had two hits which drove in five runs. Logan Coates who had two hits, scored two runs and drove in two runs. 
Due to illness, the Lady Knights needed to promote a junior varsity player to play third base and Stephanie Freeman came through in a big way as she smacked a single which plated a run. 
“It was a great team win and the excitement of being atop the region really would be short-lived as we only had one day to prepare for the next region game against Fairfield Central,” Grigsby said.
Thursday’s game in Winnsboro marked the first time NC had played a conference road game. And, it was against a Griffins’ squad which had just one league loss.  The guests, again, received a solid pitching performance from Williamson, some “on again, off again” defense and timely hitting to continue their season-long ability to score runs. 
The Lady Knights got the scoring started with consecutive hits off the bats of Baker, Jo Phillips, and McCaskill to lead 2-0 after the first half inning.  The game started to look ugly when some defensive lapses in the second and third, put the Lady Knights behind, 6-3. 
NC battled back in the top of the fourth to take a brieflead as the Griffins would score a pair in the fourth to go on top, 8-6. The Lady Knights would not lead again until end of the contest as the game was tied after at 10 after six innings of play. 
In the top of the seventh, the visitors put together three hits to score three runs to reach their average runs scored per game. Phillips led off with a single followed by McCaskill’s fifth hit of the game, another single, to put runners at first and second.  Hayley Thomas knocked in the two runners with a triple and scored the third run of the inning on a ground out by Lexy McCain. 
In the bottom of the seventh, FC would not give up easily.  Williamson struck out the first Griffin but gave up a double before striking out the next batter.  A misplayed fly ball in the outfield allowed the Griffins to score a run but it would not be enough as the next batter lined out to short to end the game. 
So far this season, the Lady Knights are averaging 13 runs per game with Baker leading the way with 25 runs. Phillips is next with 24 followed by McCaskill (17), McCain (15) and Kelsie Gardner with 14.  Other players who are scoring double-digit runs are Ashley Stephens, Coates and Williamson.  Leading the way in hitting is Baker with a .679 average. McCaskill is next at .581 while Phillips and Coates are batting at a .567 and .440 clip, respectively.  The rest of the Lady Knights are also hitting well as the team is batting over .400 as a team.

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