Garner Cleveland: Sports

Softball hurlers, players net all-state honors

The N.C. Softball Coaches Association has released its all-state teams and 19 area players were named to the lists. Two of those players – Clayton’s Nicole Bond and North Johnston’s Lauren Batten – picked up regional pitcher of the year honors.

Bond was the 4A East Pitcher of the Year. The Northwestern University recruit led the Comets into the state playoffs for the past four years. The Comets were 15-5 this spring and reached the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.

She was 15-4 with 213 strikeouts and an 0.72 ERA. She had more than 800 strikeouts in her career.

Batten led North Johnston to a top-10 national ranking during the season and was 15-0 with a 0.52 ERA with 141 strikeouts in 80 innings of work. The four-year Panther standout will play at the University of North Carolina next spring.

North Johnston had eight players named the to 2A all-state team: Jamie Johnson, Kaylynn Batten, Caroline Turner, Meredith Johnson, Taylor Adams, Olivia Narron, Olivia Stewart and Lauren Batten. Corinth Holders’ standouts Nella Chamblee, Kelsie Hocutt and Kristina Neal were also named to the 2A all-state team.

South Johnston, which advanced to the eastern regional semifinals, placed Katlyn Johnson and Kayla Allen on the 3A team. Cleveland’s Brittany Bucklin also made the 3A team.

Four Garner players joined Bond on the 4A all-state team: Kelsey Bryan, Alyssa D’Arco, Brooke Kamphuis and Lauren Marbrey.

Legion teams will stay at home: If a North Carolina team is fortunate enough to win the American Legion Baseball World Series title this year it will do it at home. That’s because the Southeast Regional and World Series events are both being played in the state next month.

After Wilson hosts the eight-team state tournament at Fleming Stadium July 25-30, the Southeast Regional is set for Aug. 8-12 in Asheboro. Teams that advance from the regional move onto the World Series, Aug. 16-20, at Keeter Stadium in Shelby.

Harris to Presbyterian College: Three-sport Clayton High School standout Jenna Harris verbally committed to play softball at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. last weekend. Harris plays volleyball, basketball and softball for the Comets.

Harris is a rising senior catcher for Clayton.

Stephenson in top 10 at Big I: Four Oaks golfer Patrick Stephenson finished tied for seventh in the N.C. Trusted Choice Big “I” Junior Classic at Longleaf Golf and Country Club in Pinehurst on July 14. The event brought the majority of the state’s best boys and girls junior golfers.

Participants qualified for the state level event based on their regional qualifier results. Stephenson, a rising sophomore at South Johnston High School, opened with a 68 in the first round, then followed with a 71 to finish at 3-under-par for the tournament.