The South Garner High campus serving as a two-year temporary home for Garner High received capacity test on Friday as the host site of three N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoff matches.
The popular viewing spot was outside the softball field’s right post.
From elevated vantage point, you could simultaneously keep an eye on the baseball game below and softball before you. Administrators in golf carts used that as their central location, too. The soccer match in the stadium was out of sight, but it was within listening range – crowd noise– and walking distance.
But the unique day turned out to be a long one for the Garner Trojans. Only the softball team advanced to the next round of the playoffs. The Trojans’ softball team held off Panther Creek, 1-0.
On the other fields the Trojans’ baseball team lost to Cardinal Gibbons, 14-2, and the girls soccer fell to Fuquay-Varina, 5-1.
The Trojans’ softball team scored an unearned run in the third inning that stood up behind the complete-game pitching of junior Sam Weidner. She spaced out six hits, struck out five and walked only one.
Ashton Thomas scored the run with some alert base running. She singled, advanced to second on Sydney Jones’ sacrifice bunt and to third on a fielder’s choice. She came home after taking a big lead that drew a pickoff throw. The attempt was in the dirt and careened into left field as Thomas easily scampered home standing up.
“I got back to the base in time and then I heard my coach say, ‘Go!’” Thomas said. “We knew it would be a close game. Our pitcher really threw well the whole game, and we played good defense.”
Garner survived Panther Creek rallies in the fifth and seventh innings.
In the fifth, the Catamounts’ Alayna McNally tripled with no outs, but she was stranded. In the seventh, the Catamounts loaded the bases, but a fly ball to right field ended the game.
“We had some big bats, but we couldn’t get that timely hit,” Panther Creek coach Bryan Cromer said. “They played good defense and their pitcher kept them in the game.”
Fifth-seeded Garner advanced to face No. 4 seed Southern Alamance on Tuesday in the third round.