Down to the Wire…or Fence by Dan O’Neal
MOORESVILLE, NC (May 24, 2019) — The first eight innings of Game 3 in the Western Regional Final of the NCHSAA Class 4A Softball Championship were…scoreless. That is correct. This is not a misprint or a typo. Usually, seven innings are the standard. However, you had two very unyielding squads who refused to go down in defeat, hence the need for…nine innings.
Between the two starting pitchers, Anna King for the visiting South Caldwell Spartans and Kali Morton for the host Mooresville Blue Devils, there were nine strikeouts and only five base hits. Between these two excellent teams, there was solid defensive play. And unmistakably, King, a junior (that’s correct sports fans, she’s coming back!), is a natural talent who is very capable of throwing strikes and retiring batters.
Had it been the bottom of the ninth when Regan Weisner hit the game winning home run, I would be referring to her four-bagger as a “buzzer beater”. Since the Spartans were the visitors, and with the tone of the contest going scoreless back and forth, this game very much went down to the wire. It was a 3-0 pitching count when Weisner KO’D the softball over the fence. In a valiant attempt by the Blue Devils center fielder to rob Weisner of this glorious moment, the outfielder and the makeshift fence went down simultaneously. Might there be a safety issue there? Thank goodness the ball dropped and the Mooresville player was not injured. Needless to say, I am not a fan of portable fences. They looked like you could grow your rose bushes around them.
From there, the Spartans combined great pitching and field play in the bottom of the ninth to maintain the 1-0 victory. With the win in the Western Regional finals, South Caldwell will travel to NC State University in Raleigh to face the Eastern Regional Champions, the Hoggard Vikings from Wilmington, the best of three Class 4A State Championship series begins this Friday, May 31st at 5pm.
There are those observations of games, like keeping up with hits, walks, strikeouts,etc. Then again, there is nothing better than getting the perspective from participants of the winning school. When asked about her game winning home run, Regan Wesiner commented, “It was an amazing feeling. I knew I had a job to do. It was a 3-0 count and I knew she Morton) was going to throw a good one”. Added Anna King, “I was pumped. Those Mooresville players talked junk about me. It’s great to be going back to state. The game was too valuable to let go.”
Regarding the team performance assessment, head coach Casey Justice commented, “We struggled with the bats tonight but we were playing against a very good team. Anna (King) battled; she did not falter. And with the 3-0 green light, Regan hit that home run and now we’re going back to the state title game. South Caldwell High School Principal Chad Smith also spoke of the way he was “extremely proud of the coaches and student athletes for their accomplishments. We look forward to an exciting next weekend”.
With the trip to the state finals last year, the Spartans knocked on the door. This year, Coach Justice and his outstanding squad have great plans to “kick the door “down this time around. Best wishes and safe travels to all.
SC – 000000001 (3 hits and no errors)
M – 000000000 (2 hits and 1 error)
SC – Hall 1-5, Pittman 1-4, Weisner 1-4(HR)
M – Martin 1-3, Goins 1-4