CHARLOTTE — A group of area softball players finished third in the Powerade State Games this week.
Glenn Craddock, who had coached at Surry Central, and East Wilkes’ Bradley Hayes led Region 7 to a win over Region 3 in the bronze medal game Wednesday night.
The eight regional team had three games in pool play, with the results of those games determining who would make it into the title game, the bronze game or consolations.
“Region 5 was by far the toughest team,” said Craddock. There were several girls from North Davidson on the same squad, and they were really good.
Region 5 won all three games in pool play and beat Region 6 for gold.
The rest of the teams beat up on each other for three games, said Craddock.
Craddock’s team lost 12-3 to the eventual champs. The team beat Region 1 13-6 and lost to Region 8 by just one run at 6-5.
There were three teams that tied for a chance at the bronze. The tiebreaker was how many runs the team scored, and Region 7 had 21 runs in three game, getting the area girls into that round.
Overall, the competition was so much stronger this year, he said.
In the pool play Monday and Tuesday, East Surry’s Emily Cummings was one of three pitchers used, along with Sarah Myers, Davie, and Breanna Hagarty, South Caldwell.
Some games were played at UNC Charlotte and some at Hopewell High. The university had a beautiful field and nice facilities, but the stadium was in a low area so there was no air stirring on those hot days, the coach said.
Emily pitched the most innings in those three games, but with that heat it was necessary to rest her, he said.
“Emily did a great job for us, I’m very proud of her. … Her bat came alive, and she was hitting some good shots.”
Surry Central’s Katlin Anthony had to endure more heat than anyone as she strapped on the protective gear behind the plate.
“Shes a tough young lady,” Craddock said. Her batting had come around. She had one huge hit in Wednesday night’s medal game.
Early on when it was still a close 2-0 ball game, Katlin came up with the bases loaded, but two outs.
“Kaitlin hits one into the gap that clears the bases,” he said. “It was one of the turning points of the game. That put us up 5-0 at that time.”
Give Region 3 from the Middle Creek area a lot of credit, he said. The team didn’t give up and kept trying to chip away at the lead.
Morgan Smith, Freedom High, kept her team in front, however, with some timely hitting.
“Morgan, her bat carried us,” said Craddock. There wasn’t a game where she didn’t get at least one hit.
It also helped that the team had two quick left-handers who could slap-hit and get on base often, he noted.
Mallory Choplin, Forbush, and Kenzie Barneycastle, Davie, made for a potent one-two punch.
The game was delayed for 45 minutes because of lightning in the area, but the pause didn’t stop Region 7 from rolling on to a 9-5 victory.
Breanna pitched the first six innings for the win, and Emily came in to close out for the seventh inning, he said.
Craddock said it was great to get an opportunity to coach such talented girls.
He gave a big thanks to East Wilkes’ Bradley Hayes for all his help during the week. Craddock’s regular assistant coach, Richard Layne, was expected to be part of the staff, but he came down ill and missed the week.
Craddock said Hayes called the pitches in addition to many other duties.
When Craddock was third base coach, and Hayes was at first, the team didn’t have anyone in the dugout to handle the scorebook and keep the girls in proper batting order.
Emily’s dad, Keith Cummings, volunteered to help, said Craddock.
“I truly had a blast. All the girls had a good time,” he said.
“It is great to have this kind of showcase where coaches can come down and see the kids. The players can get their names out there for the coaches to check them out next year.”