04/09/04 — Softball -- Hawks edge North Pitt

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Softball -- Hawks edge North Pitt

Published in Sports on April 9, 2004 1:59 PM

LAGRANGE -- Sometimes, even great defense will not beat good offense.

North Lenoir's softball team almost found out the hard way as the Lady Hawks had to come from behind to edge a pesky North Pitt squad, 2-1.

The Hawks maintained their first-place spot in Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference play with a 3-0 record. North Pitt fell from the ranks of the unbeaten and exited 2-1.

North Lenoir -- especially pitcher Hermia Humphrey -- played exceptional defense. Humphrey, who picked up her sixth win of the year, struck out 11 without surrendering a walk.

She retired the first 12 hitters she faced, and 14-of-15. With the Lady Panthers utilizing a bunt-and-run style offense, she also assisted on seven other putouts, making her involved in 18 of the game's 21 total outs. Four of her strikeouts came with North Pitt batters taking a called third strike.

"Hermia did well hitting her spots tonight," said coach Heather Humphrey.

As hot as the Lady Hawks were on defense, they had trouble getting their offense together. After putting runners on base in each of the first three innings, they were shut out in the fourth and fifth by Tiffany Shaw.

Only a sophomore, Shaw pitched five excellent innings. For the night, she struck out five, and also did not allow a walk. Her efforts seemed to get her club, which was playing without two starters, rolling.

Catcher Jenna Hardy broke up Humphrey's bid for a perfect game with a double to lead off the fifth. The Lady Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the sixth when left fielder Mary James singled, and came home on Anita Roberson's triple.

A different North Lenoir team came to the plate in its half of the sixth. Rachel Cromer led off with a double that fell between the outstretched gloves of the shortstop, third baseman, and left fielder.

She raced home on Randi Moulton's single over the second baseman's head, and in a heads-up move, went to second on the throw home.

Moulton was sacrificed to third on a bunt by Morgan Worthington. The catcher came home with the game winner, thanks to a sacrifice fly to center by Humphrey.

"We stayed in there, and almost got the job done," said North Pitt coach Chris Miles. "It came down to North Lenoir putting the ball in play and finding a way to win. That's what good teams do."

"Our team doesn't quit," said Humphrey, who echoed Miles' thoughts. "I told our team that all they had to do was put the ball in play. I knew we'd score."

Humphrey is looking forward to the spring break for her team to heal before entertaining C.B. Aycock on the 19th. Moulton is nursing a bruised shoulder. Her back-up, Ashley Griffin, broke her nose.

Besides trying to avenge an earlier loss, "this will give us a good game before resuming our conference schedule," coach Humphrey said. "We've got to hit the ball though, something we didn't do before."

North Pitt 000 001 0 -- 1 4 2

North Lenoir 000 002 x -- 2 5 0

Leading hitters -- North Pitt -- Anita Roberson 3B; Jenna Hardy 2B; Roxanne Wynn 1 hit; Mary James 1 hit, RBI. North Lenoir -- Mary Catherine Mills 2 hits; Rachel Cromer 2B; Randi Moulton 1 hit, RBI; Leslie Oliver 1 hit; Hermia Humphrey RBI.


North Pitt (5-6, 2-1)

Shaw (L, 4-6) 6 5 2 2 0 5

North Lenoir (13-1, 3-0)

Humphrey (W, 6-1) 7 4 1 1 0 11