West Johnston’s softball team came out swinging the bat against East Wake and never stopped on Wednesday night in a 4-2 Greater Neuse River 4A Conference game.
The Wildcats, who stayed in the thick of the conference race with a 9-2 record, jumped on top in the first inning on an RBI double by Megan Gibbons and finished with nine hits against the Warriors.
Gibbons, a senior shortstop, had three hits, including a pair of RBI doubles, and junior first baseman Blair Koonce also had three hits and two RBIs – the pair pacing the West Johnston offense.
“The main thing we talked about was that we need to swing the bat,” West Johnston coach Warren Singleton said.
“We have some folks that had not being doing well and came through tonight and that made a big difference.”
East Wake, which dropped to 8-4 in the conference and is solidly in fourth place behind Garner, West Johnston and Clayton, battled to tie the score at 2-2 in the third inning.
But the Warriors had just two hits against West Johnston’s Christina Gower, a senior right-hander who struck out seven.
West Johnston got a one-out single from Gibbons to get things going in the fifth and Rachel Willis singled to left field with two outs. Koonce followed with the Wildcats’ third hit of the inning, a single to left-center that drove in Willis for a 3-2 lead.
“I really adjusted well to her pitching,” Koonce said of East Wake pitcher Lauren Miller. “I knew she was going to pitch me inside, so I just adjusted well and swung the bat.”
Koonce came up next and drove Willis in with a groundball to shortstop.
“She is a fighter,” Singleton said. “She wants it bad and she endured the pain. She is the person that calls the shots. She facilitates things, directs things and navigates for us on the field.
“She is a leader.”
For East Wake, the biggest number was a negative one. The Warriors made three errors, twice dropping pop-ups by Myers to lead off an inning. Each time, Myers would come around to score on doubles by Gibbons, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead when she scored in the first and a 2-0 advantage when she crossed the plate in the third.
“They made their own adjustments (at the plate),” Singleton said. “They kept their eye on the pitches and swung through it, had faith and believed that they could hit. That made the difference.”