An early starting time for the crucial Garner-West Johnston softball game apparently also jump-started West Johnston’s offense.
The Wildcats banged out 16 hits to spark an 11-2 victory over Garner Friday night at West Johnston in a Greater Neuse River Conference showdown.
With the victory, West Johnston, the area’s No. 8-ranked team, avenged a 6-3 loss on Tuesday to No. 2 Garner that had dropped the Wildcats two games behind the Trojans with three conference games to play.
“We were upset about the loss and worked hard on our hitting,” said West Johnston’s Kassidy Wood, who was 4-of-5 with two runs scored. “We knew we could hit better. We really wanted to come back and win. That drive to win really helped us.”
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West Johnston trimmed Garner’s lead in the GNRC to one game after Tuesday’s loss dropped the Wildcats (17-4, 10-2 GNRC) two games back of Garner (18-3, 11-1 GNRC) with three to play. Both teams have only two more games remaining in league and regular-season play next week. West Johnston faces sixth-place Knightdale, while Garner has a tougher task against third-place Knightdale.
The starting time was moved up as a precautionary measure after a Thursday night storm knocked out the lights and the scoreboard at West Johnston’s field, although both were repaired in time for the game.
West Johnston enjoyed a 4-0 lead after three innings, but the Wildcats blew open the game with three more runs in the fourth and four in the sixth.
“We weren’t going to let up,” Wood said. “We know Garner . They’re good hitters and we knew they could come back.”
Three to know
Kassidy Wood, West Johnston: The junior catcher started the three-run rally with a single in the third, the three-run fourth by getting on base on an error and the four-run sixth with a single.
Sam Fiorella, West Johnston: She was 3-of-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Her double in the fourth scored two runs and a single in the sixth one run.
Libby Bynum, Garner: The junior first baseman was 2-of-3 with a run scored.
They said it
“We’re still in first place and our goals haven’t changed. We’ve got two games left and a one-game lead in the conference. We need to win two next week to win the conference, but Rolesville is a good team. We’re also playing for seeding. We want to play as many games as possible in the playoffs. They (the Wildcats) swung the bat and we didn’t. Give them credit.” – Garner Coach Moe Barbour.