GARNER — Things were different but the same for Garner’s softball team Friday in its 10-0 win over Athens Drive. The win continued the Trojans’ winning ways this season, but it opened a new chapter in the book of Garner softball 2013. It’s the chapter Garner works all year to write – the playoffs.
Teams build all year for the playoffs: striving to reach the postseason, then pushing forward to make that playoffs experience last as long as possible.
Garner (16-2) showed all the qualities a playoff team wants to show against Athens Drive. The Trojans played error-free defense, got a dominant performance from Lauren Marbrey on the mound and showed a balanced and consistent offense.
Marbrey worked a one-hitter for Garner, recording just two strikeouts. The Jaguars hit just two balls out of the infield against Marbrery – Tanya Van Dyk’s double in the second inning and a fly ball out in the sixth.
Courtney Weathersbee doubled twice for the Trojans, including a three-run double in the fifth to push the Trojan lead to 7-0. Garner totaled 15 hits on the night.
Marbrery was 3-for-4, while Madison Stewart went 3-for-4 with a double. Shea Barbour, Brooke Kamphuis and Alisha Josie also had two-hit nights.
“This is what I play for all season, getting ready for the playoffs,” said Garner coach Moe Barbour. “The approach I had coaching (American) Legion (Baseball) was just to get in. But in this, it’s so important to be at home. You want to have these games at your place. You don’t want to be riding that sweet pickle bus with no AC to Scotland or Wilmington. It makes a huge difference.”
Barbour led Garner to an American Legion state championship and hopes to do the same with this edition of Trojans’ softball.
That’s why the Trojans worked so last week to prep themselves for playoff softball.
“My mindset changed tonight,” said Weathersbee, a junior. “It’s senior night and that made me think that every game we play from here on out could be the last game we play with these girls every time you’re out here. It keeps you more focused.”
Garner honored seniors Alyssa D’Arco, Stewart and Barbour before the game.
“You treat it difference because you know either you do it or you don’t and you’re done,” Stewart said. “We worked since Monday to mentally prepare for what we needed to do in the playoffs.Garner will host East Wake (15-5) in the second round, one of only two teams to beat the Trojans this season.
“You’re trying to get that in their minds,” Barbour said of prepping his team for playoff games. “But you’re also trying to make sure you’re peaking at the right time and I think this team is doing that. We had a little blip when Brooke got hurt but once she came back we got our lineup set like we want it and have played well.”
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