05/01/06 — Wayne Christian softball enjoying banner season

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Wayne Christian softball enjoying banner season

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on May 1, 2006 2:08 PM

The Wayne Christian softball team has never seen this type of success.

The Lady Eagles are ranked No. 2 in the state, finished the regular season 15-1, are hitting almost .400 as a team and have two dominant pitchers.

For Eagles coach Roger Longwell, life is good.

"This is by far the best season we've had in the five years I've been here," he said. "We've got a very, very young team this season, but at 15-1, this is definitely a great start and hopefully we can get even better down the road."

Wayne Christian was supposed to have opened the Carolina Christian 1-A Conference tournament against Norlina -- a team the Eagles beat 18-0 on March 19 -- at home on Tuesday afternoon, but Norlina has already forfeited that contest. They could end up facing No. 1 state-ranked Cape Fear -- the only team to beat the Eagles this season -- on Friday in the finals.

"The girls want Cape Fear, they want to beat them bad," he said. "We're hoping to meet them in the finals."

Considering the Lady Eagles start three seventh graders and has just two upperclassmen, Wayne Christian could be a team to beat for years to come.

"Our girls hit the ball well and we've got good pitching," Longwell said. "We're preparing them for state and they worked hard. The girls have a lot of confidence going into this."

Kinston High transfer Traci Davis, a sophomore, is averaging nearly two strikeouts an inning on the mound and has an ERA less than 2.00. And at the plate, Davis -- who Longwell considers a Division I or II softball prospect -- is hitting a team-high .636 with two home runs and 15 extra-base hits.

When Davis isn't on the mound, catcher Brittany Sullivan does the pitching. Sullivan has won all of her starts this season and is hitting .349 with a team-high four home runs.

Also making big contributions for the Lady Eagles are seventh graders Charity Wright (2B, .394 avg.), Reagan Hinton (IF, .543 avg.) and Kayla Kennedy (SS, .361 avg.).

"Our seventh graders are doing well," Longwell said. "They've been a big part of the success we've had."

Danielle Pender (OF, .300 avg.) is the team's only senior. The only junior is first baseman Michelle Krug, who is hitting .355. Other major contributors are Logan Dawson (.200 avg.), Katie Daniels (.273 avg.), Hope Wright (.381 avg.) and Lindley Pierce (.357).

Longwell thinks his Eagles can contend for a state championship this year, but refuses to put too much pressure on his young team.

"We're just going to go play our game and have some fun," he said.