Rivers Andrews had been a bonafide ace for the Cedar Ridge softball team over the past few seasons. One year ago, the UNC-Wilmington recruit posted a 0.37 ERA in 20 appearances.
But the Red Wolves were struck with some bad injury luck when Andrews suffered a hip injury that has sidelined her from the season.
Just like that, Cedar Ridge went from being rock solid at the pitching position to having virtually no experience at all.
Such is life in high school softball, where teams often heavily rely on one pitcher.
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As might be expected, the loss of Andrews has made things tougher for the Red Wolves. After going 15-7 last year, they are 3-7 this season.
But despite the struggles, Cedar Ridge has seen sophomore Taylor Barnes step up and assume much of the pitching responsibilities.
Willing to step up and help her team out, she’s pitched in each of Cedar Ridge’s games this season after only two last season.
“It obviously was not a position I was planning on playing this year because we would have had Rivers,” Barnes said.
While the adjustment has been tough for her, Barnes said she’s becoming more settled in as the season continues to progress.
Two of her top performances have come against Chapel Hill. On March 21, Barnes pitched three scoreless innings against the Tigers as Cedar Ridge earned its first win of the season.
Two days later, she went the distance, allowing only three runs over seven innings in a 6-3 victory.
“After the first couple of practices once I realized how I needed to contribute to the team, I got my head into what I needed to do and I’ve performed that way” she said. “It’s getting easier with each game.”