Despite the cold weather and rain, the North Central girls finally got to play some softball in their preseason Beat Cancer with a Bat tournament.
York, Ridge View, Richland Northeast, and the Lady Knights kicked off the season with the hope to raise awareness about Breast Cancer research. On Tuesday, the tournament kicked off with York defeating Richland Northeast, 14-4, in the opener. The cold night ended in disappointment for the hostesses as York also defeated the Lady Knights in the nightcap 8-6. The game ended with NC having runners on base but could drive either in. Rain and cold weather would force the rest of the tournament to be played on Saturday March 8.
Early Saturday morning, the Lady Knights won their first game of the event as they defeated Ridge View, 7-4. The rest of the day, NC would beat both RNE and Ridge View to end the tourney with a 3-1 record. “The confidence was high as we head into our regular 2014 season,” said NC head coach Mike Grigsby.
That confidence was shattered as Chesterfield brought the Lady Knights back to earth with a 13-0 non-region loss.
After two days of hard practices, the Lady Knights traveled to Keenan for Friday’s Region 3-AA opener. “Keenan has a new pitcher who gives them confidence that they can compete with the region teams they will face,” Grigsby said of the Raiders.
Early on, it looked as if the Lady Knights were still struggling from the Chesterfield loss as the KHS pitcher fanned the side in the top of the first. The Lady Knights needed to come from behind as Keenan scored in the bottom of the first to take their first-ever lead over NC.
The Raider lead would not last long as Erin Humphries, who was injured in tournament game against York, led off the top of the second with an inside the park home run.
The Lady Knights relaxed and began to show the play which helped the team to three wins in the preseason tournament.
Logan Coates and Miranda McCaskill singled and would score on Raider errors. From that point, the Lady Knights scored at will in the next couple of innings while playing solid defense and getting a staunch pitching performance by Abby Outlaw, who allowed an earned run. NC scored 19 more runs on solid hitting and some untimely errors on the Raiders part to come out with a 21-1 region win and plenty of confidence.
Humphries led the NC offense going 4-for-4 at the plate. Alexis Baker, McCaskill and Coates each collected two hits in the win.