03/31/04 — North Johnston's Evans paces Panthers over Rosewood

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North Johnston's Evans paces Panthers over Rosewood

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 31, 2004 2:02 PM

KENLY -- Last spring, North Johnston ace pitcher Candace Evans struggled under rainy conditions in the second round of the Class 1-A N.C. High School Athletic Association softball playoffs in a tough, 5-4 loss at Midway.

The junior right-hander faced more of the wet stuff at home on Tuesday night against Rosewood and took what she and coach George Daniels' feels is a big step in the right direction in dealing with the elements.

Facing the Eagles (3-6, 1-3 Carolina 1-A) and a steady downfall through most of the game, Evans struck out 10 and pitched out of several jams in recording her first no-hitter of the season in a 10-0 win in five innings over Rosewood.

The jams were due not only to the conditions and a slick ball, but also due to the Eagles' patience at the plate in drawing seven walks. Rosewood's Kayce Grey, Jennifer Boren and Courtney Hill all drew walks in the third inning to load the bases with two outs, before Evans got out of it by getting Lyndsey Cotten on a high, fly out in foul territory down the right-field line.

"I had problems at Midway, but I think I did better tonight," Evans said. "Considering nobody scored and it was raining the whole time."

Evans (7-0) also benefitted from flawless defense behind her.

With a 4-0 lead, North Johnston (10-1, 4-0 Carolina) backed Evans with more run support in the bottom of the fourth as Janna Rogerson reached on an infield single against Rosewood reliever Jennifer Boren. Ashley Tart followed by reaching on one of the Eagles' five errors. From the ninth spot in the order, Candice Renfrow delivered a two-RBI double into the right-center gap.

After Rosewood cut down two players at the plate with force outs with the bases loaded, Hannah Ellis, who had two hits, capped the three-run third with a single up the middle off of Bliss Parrish to score Renfrow and push the Panthers' lead to 7-0.

North Johnston put the game away in the bottom of the fifth as two more Rosewood errors and a double by Tart led to three more runs as the umpires called the game due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Rosewood coach Jennifer Cochran was clearly not pleased with the errors, but feels like the big key was not being able to produce offensively and get a key hit when it got on base.

"We just didn't hit. In order to score you've got to do it. They've got a good pitcher, and we just couldn't get it past her," Cochran said. "She's hittable, but it's still early in the season."

The Panthers' proved balanced at the plate as eight different players got hits and all nine starters reached base. Daniels' saw the team start making strides at the plate last week at Smithfield-Selma, and he hopes it continues heading into a key conference match-up at Ayden-Grifton on Friday.

"It has not let up," Daniels said. "I knew we had the potential, we just hadn't put it all together. We are seeing pitchers of varying speeds, but I think we are doing a better job of adjusting their swings. We'll definitely see a good pitcher on Friday at Ayden-Grifton."

Rosewood looks to bounce back on Friday at home against North Duplin.

Rosewood 000 00x x -- 0 0 5

N. Johnston 400 33x x -- 10 9 0

Leading hitters -- N. Johnston -- Hannah Ellis 2-3, RBI; Ashley Tart 1-3, 2B, RBI; Candace Evans 1-3, 2B, RBI; Candice Renfrow 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 runs.



Aubrey Reinhard (L) 1 5 4 2 0 1

Jennifer Boren 2 2 3 2 3 2

Bliss Parrish 1 2 3 0 1 0

N. Johnston

Candace Evans (W, 7-0) 5 0 0 0 7 10