HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SPORTS: Bryant-led Bears win conference softball tourney title

Published Sunday, May 6th, 2018


Bunker Hill High scored all of its runs in the fourth inning on Friday night, snapping Fred T. Foard’s 16-game win streak with a 5-4 victory that captured the Northwestern Foothills 2A softball tournament championship.

The third-seeded Bears (12-6) batted around in the fourth inning at West Iredell en route to beating the top-seeded Tigers, who had won two regular season games over Bunker Hill in extra innings.

Lillie Pennington had an RBI for the Bears’ first run and they led 2-0 after a run scored on a throwing error. Run-scoring hits by Alexia McCrory and Ashlyn Wright made it 4-0.

Bunker Hill’s other run scored on a double by Madison Roan.

Payton Bryant hit a home run and threw a complete game for the Bears, going seven innings. She gave up eight hits, four runs, walked two and struck out six.

She worked out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to topple the Tigers (17-3), getting a pop-up in foul territory, a strikeout and a groundball out.

Bryant was named the tournament MVP.

Foard advances to the state 2A tournament next week – pairings will be released Monday – and projections developed by Raleigh-based High SchoolOT have the Tigers getting a West No. 3 seed and a home first-round game Wednesday against No. 30 Central Davidson.

Bunker Hill is projected as a West No. 14 seed, playing a home first-round game on Wednesday against No. 19 Hibriten.


Bunker Hill 6, Fred T. Foard 4

Left-hander Thaxton Isenhour pitched five innings and struck out eight, leading the top-seeded Bears (19-5) past the third-seeded Tigers (11-9) for the Northwestern Foothills 2A tournament title at West Iredell.

Eli Moser drove in two runs for the Bears, who collected career win No. 453 for head coach Marty Curtis, and Carrington Chapman pitched two innings in relief and struck out three for Bunker Hill.

The Bears advance to next week’s state 2A bracket as the league’s No. 1 seed, with HighSchoolOT projections currently listing the Bears as a West No. 6 seed opening at home Wednesday against No. 27 West Stokes.

Foard is projected to get a West No. 26 seed and go to No. 7 West Stanly on Wednesday for a first-round game.

Two other Northwestern Foothills 2A teams are expected to reach the postseason – No. 17 West Davidson visiting No. 16 Hibriten, and No. 30 West Iredell going to No. 3 North Davidson.

Alexander Central 3, South Caldwell 0

Tournament MVP Dawson Elder threw a complete game, allowing four hits, walking four and striking out eight, as the second-seeded Cougars (20-7) beat the top-seeded Spartans (22-3) to win the Northwestern 3A-4A tournament crown.

Alexander Central gained a 2-0 lead in the first inning and scored its other run in the fourth inning.

The Cougars had seven hits off South Caldwell losing pitcher Daniel Dye (seven innings, seven hits, three runs with one earned, one walk, seven strikeouts).

Josh Lafone went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Bryson Hammer drove in a run for Alexander Central, which has reached 20 wins for the first time since 2014.

Tyler Wike went 3-for-3 for the Spartans and Austin Blevins had the other South Caldwell hit.

South Caldwell goes into the state 4A playoffs with the league’s No. 1 bid, and Alexander Central has the No. 1 3A berth.

The Spartans are projected by HighSchoolOT to get a West No. 4 seed and first-round bye while the Cougars are projected as a West 3A No. 8 seed, facing No. 25 Sun Valley on Wednesday in Taylorsville in the first round.

Also projected to get into the postseason from the conference are No. 18 St. Stephens, going to No. 15 Mount Tabor, and No. 28 Hickory on the road at No. 5 Carson.

All-tournament: Matt Smith, McDowell; Nathan Watkins, McDowell; Lyle Holland, Freedom; Tyler Delay, Freedom; Josh Lafone, Alexander Central; Bryon Younts, Alexander Central; Josh Jacobs, Alexander Central; Trent Black, S. Caldwell; Austin Blevins, S. Caldwell; Tyler Wike, S. Caldwell.


Hickory 4, St. Stephens 1

Ayden Vaughn had two goals and an assist on Friday, leading the Red Tornadoes to a home victory that left them in a three-way tie with Watauga and South Caldwell for the Northwestern 3A-4A regular-season title.

Lauren Hayes and Brooke Rowland each added a goal for Hickory (15-4-0, 12-2-0) and Sarah Harding made seven saves.

Caroline Beane scored the Indians’ goal and Makenzie Stafford had eight saves.

St. Stephens dropped to 7-12-1 overall and 6-7-1 in the league, finishing in fifth place.

South Caldwell earned the conference’s No. 1 4A playoff bid while Hickory won a draw with Watauga to gain the No. 1 3A playoff spot.

The state playoffs start Wednesday and HighSchoolOT currently projects these first-round matches: South Caldwell as a No. 7 West seed with a bye; No. 17 Weddington at No. 16 Hickory, No. 26 Parkwood at No. 4 Watauga and No. 29 Alexander Central at No. 4 A.C. Reynolds.



(Area players’ results from Gardner-Webb)


First round

Brann Reid (N-C) d. Alex Niblick (Shelby) 6-0, 6-0

Kyle Fitzsimmons (Lake Norman Charter) d. Luke Parson (E Burke) 6-1, 6-0

Patrick Lichtenwalner (Maiden) d. Ben Kersley (R-S Central) 6-1, 6-0

Chase Hines (E. Lincoln) d. Bryce Spradlin (Brevard) 6-0, 6-3

Sang Vang (Bunker Hill) d. Joseph Firth (Black Mountain Owen) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1

Luke Laney (Maiden) d. Jack Brownlee (Shelby) 6-0, 6-1

Second round

Reid (N-C) d. Fitzsimmons (Lake Norman Charter) 6-0, 6-0

Lichtenwalner (Maiden) d. Stephen Williams (Hendersonville) 6-1, 6-0

Hines (E. Lincoln) d. Chase Smith (E Burke) 6-1, 6-2

Laney (Maiden) d. Vang (Bunker Hill) 6-0, 6-0

Third round

Reid (N-C) d. Lichtenwalner (Maiden) 6-0, 6-0

Laney (Maiden) d. Hines (E. Lincoln) 6-2, 6-4


Reid (N-C) d. Laney (Maiden) 6-2, 6-1

Third and fourth qualifiers

Lichtenwalner (Maiden) d. Hines (E. Lincoln) 7-6 (7-5), 7-5



First round

Jake Dalton-Afton McRee (Maiden) d. Ethan Hallyburton-Jacob Davis (E. Burke) 6-3, 6-4

Second round

Cullen Duval-Aidan Spradlin (Brevard) d. Dalton-McRee (Maiden) 6-2, 6-0

Other local teams participating

Greyson Welch-Ben Hinshaw (N-C)

Eli Matthews-Holden Aldridge (FTF)

Sam Owensby-Grant Wagner (Bandys)

Nick Colannino-Joel Reiter (E. Lincoln)

Drew Palasick-Tre Thorne (Lake Norman Charter)

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