Door Kicked In, Spartans Win State By Dan O’Neal

RALEIGH, NC (June 2, 2019) — In the late 1970’s, there was a quote made by the coach of the Houston Oilers (Tennessee Titans today) Bum Phillips after losing the AFC Championship game again to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. He said, “last year we knocked on the door. This year we banged even harder. Next year, we’re going to kick the door in.”

Unfortunately, they came up short again the next season. For the South Caldwell Spartans softball team in 2018, they knocked on the door solid in facing the Buccaneers of Jack Britt High School in Fayetteviile. However, the Spartans lost in Game 3 of the championship series, something head coach Casey Justice and his squad remember all too well.

In 2018, they rapped on the door. In 2019, the Spartans kicked the door in as they defeated Hoggard High School in Wilmington three games to two to win their first ever softball state title. The Caldwell Journal, as well as Spartan Nation, extend a word of congratulations to head coach Casey Justice and his assistants and players on this grand achievement. Extra words of congratulations go to Regan Weisner on being chosen as the Class 4A Championship series Most Valuable Player.

A confession here..I was only able to be at three of the six championship games. My regular vocation works like that more often than not. You already knew about South Softball winning the NCHSAA 4A Championship. Social media being what it is, most everyone knew before any sportswriter typed up their column. I am grateful that I do not have the pressing deadline the way other sports writers do. As well, I do not seek to compete with these admirable professionals due to the fact that what I do is a “hobby” of sorts. Trust me, there are great perks with such status and will not disclose what those are. I have a blast doing this for the great community where we live.

What I did witness over the games I covered is that the Spartans battled back and battled through much adversity. Anna King and Jenna Pittman pitched with all fervor retiring numerous batters. Logan Keller and Lauren Spears made spectacular catches in the outfield to keep Mooresville and Hoggard from getting extra base hits and runs. And last but certainly not least, the Spartans benefitted from those home runs by Weisner and Jasmine Hall as well as Ciara Hanson driving in the game winning run. Resilience moments such as these provided the mojo (along with the supreme fan support from Spartan Nation on hand) for these magnificent players to….kick the door in. Now, go and repeat the same feat in 2020!!