Garner softball coach Moe Barbour readily admits that while his team’s pitching has been adequate, the Trojans have relied heavily on their offense this season.
Sixteen times in 21 games this season, Garner has scored in double-digits, including Wednesday’s 10-3 victory over visiting Overhills in a N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A first-round contest. Not surprisingly for Garner (19-2), it was victorious all 16 of those times.
Barbour is hoping for more of the same on Saturday when the No. 4 East seed hosts No. 5 Mideast seed Panther Creek in a second-round game.
“That’s what’s carried us all year, we’ve outscored a lot of teams,” Barbour said. “I have three pitchers, they’re not shutdown pitchers, but they’re all good and they generally keep us in the game until we swing the bats well.”
That was largely the case Wednesday against a game Overhills squad that looked better than its 9-11 record and No. 13 Mideast seed it carried into this year’s state playoffs.
Starting pitcher Mikayla Brumbles bent but didn’t break over her six-plus innings of work, allowing only one run after giving up a two-run single by Overhills’ Autumn Davis in the opening frame. Her performance enabled Garner to keep a narrow lead throughout much of the game until it blew things open with a four-run sixth inning.
Much of the damage offensively for Garner was done by the top of its order, as Kira Jackson, Kristina D’Arco, Haleigh Joyner and Brumbles combined to go 9-for-14 with eight RBIs and seven runs scored against Overhills. D’Arco and Brumbles had three hits and three RBIs apiece.
“My first four hitters, I have two speedsters (Jackson and D’Arco) at the top and then my third baseman (Joyner) who is just a dynamite player in the field and at the plate,” Barbour said. “And then my pitcher today (Brumbles), a 14-year-old freshman, she was my leading hitter this season. ... Those first four, they generally set the table for us.”
Jackson, a shortstop who with first baseman Libby Bynum are the lone seniors are Garner’s roster, believes that the cohesiveness of all the players has impacted the team’s play in a positive manner.
“It’s all about intensity and passion, backing everybody up on the field and in the dugout,” Jackson said. “We always want to be loud and cheer everybody to keep the energy up.
“I have full confidence in this team, I can’t wait to come out and see what we can do.”
While Garner still harbors hopes of a state title, Wednesday’s game marked the final scholastic competition for Overhills senior shortstop Jordan Adcox.
The four-year varsity player who will compete collegiately at Division II program UNC-Pembroke did her part to try and extend the Jaguars’ season, going 2-for-4 with a double. She nearly homered in the final inning but her deep fly ball was hauled in near the fence by left fielder Ashton Thomas.
“We made (state) playoffs when I was a sophomore, but to make playoffs my senior year was a great accomplishment,” Adcox said. “We had a really good year as far as the young talent. ... I’m really looking forward to Pembroke, to being with a good group of girls and coach (Brittany) Bennett. … I am really excited about experiencing that high level.”