West Johnston finds offense, defeats Garner

CorrespondentApril 23, 2009 

— West Johnston has spent the majority of its Greater Neuse River 4-A Conference softball season struggling for offense.

In contrast, the Wildcats' pitching -- namely sophomore Lexi Betancourt -- and defense have been top-notch.

That was the case again on Wednesday night, but West Johnston finally found its offensive touch, defeating league-leading Garner 5-0 a night after falling to the Trojans 1-0.

Garner (13-2 overall, 7-1 conference) maintains a one-game lead over West Johnston (9-5, 6-2) in the league race and has a two-game cushion on Holly Springs.

Wednesday, though, brought a rare off night for the Trojans, and senior pitcher Christie Wright's string of 51 innings without an earned run ended in the third inning. Meanwhile, Betancourt kept the Trojans' speedy leadoff combo of Nadia Jeffries and Mary Scott Powell off of the bases.

Jeffries reached on a West error to open the game, but Betancourt retired the next 15 Garner batters in order. She carried a no-hitter into the seventh, losing it on Ashley Carroll's one-out single.

Offensively, the Wildcats put their leadoff batter on base in four of their six at-bats.

"We just told ourselves we weren't going to swing at balls tonight," West coach Wayne Collins said. "I had the girls taking a strike from the start of the game. We were able to get some runners on, and then we finally hit the ball a bit tonight."

Marissa Hackney and Abby Dupree picked up two hits each.

Betancourt finished with 11 strikeouts and a walk.

On Friday, the Wildcats get another chance to play Holly Springs, the only other Greater Neuse River team that had beaten them. Holly Springs won that game 1-0.

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