South Granville’s softball team, coming off a second straight N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A championship, could be heading for another if everything gels.
Miranda Barker (1.38 ERA, 139 strikeouts) is back in the circle to pitch, and the Vikings have a strong lineup as always, led by Abbi Colclough (.392), Brianne Coleman (.387), A’Niya Jackson (.364) and catcher Megan White (.408).
Princeton won the 1A championship and C.B. Aycock was runner-up in 3A.
Note: A Triangle preview covering conferences where most of the teams are located in Wake, Durham, Orange and Johnston counties ran Saturday. This preview covers the rest of the The N&O coverage area.
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Eastern Carolina 3A/4A: It’s easy to see why this is one of the toughest softball conferences in the state. D.H. Conley (27-4) was a 4A semifinalist but it was 3A runner-up C.B. Aycock (29-4) that won the league.
Aycock’s Connor Vinson (.524), Allison Shingleton (.419), Taylor Puetz (.418) and Tanika Powell (.41) are all back as are Conley’s Cara Davis (.459), Makenna Matthijs (.447), Grace Cochran (.432) and Lexi Phillips (.398). Aycock pitcher Taylor Waddell had a 1.23 ERA and Conley’s Emily Kirby posted a 1.28.
Cameron Davis hit .408 for South Central (16-7). Amber Pfennig batted .422 for Southern Wayne (7-14) while Dawn Anderson had a 1.11 ERA.
Big East 3A: Hunt (10-8) and Northern Nash (16-6) were co-conference champions. Hunt has hitters Julianne Etheridge (.500) and Hannah Williamson (.471) and Northern Nash is led by slugger Katelyn Wood (.542).
Eastern Plains 2A: North Johnston (17-8) and Beddingfield (18-4) were co-conference champions along with Washington (19-8). North Johnston graduated four players and will be led by Jada Santiago (.423). Beddingfield graduated just two players from last year.
Kate Lancaster hit .488 for Farmville Central (9-14).
Northern Carolina 2A: South Granville (25-1) always faces a strong challenge in its own conference from Bunn (19-3). The Wildcats have a strong core with Emily Bell (.522), I’Kesha Little (.455) and Delaney Wilson (.400).
Franklinton (11-7) is led by All-Metro pick Summer Jacobs (batted .527, 164 strikeouts as a pitcher)
Carolina 1A: Princeton (24-3) won the state title and shared the conference title with North Duplin (21-5), which was the 2015 state champ. Princeton brings back some of its best hitters like Brianna Myers (.469), Beth Braswell (.449) and Casey Mitchell (.383).
Ashley Marriner (.571) leads Spring Creek (8-12) at the plate while Keelin Hunter (.531) and Kaitlyn Kincaid (2.05 ERA) headline Rosewood (7-12).
Misc. 4A: Jordan Blake (.461) is the leading hitter for Pinecrest (17-5) while Jordan Adcox (.544) leads Overhills (7-11).
Misc. 3A: N&O All-Metro pick Whitney Sanford (0.76 ERA, 196 strikeouts) leads Cape Fear Valley 3A champ Lee County (23-4) along with shortstop Jacie Arrington (.512) and third baseman Tessa Wilson (.451).
Misc. 2A: Jordan-Matthews (24-2) returns a solid core with Tomora Carter, Carlie Mote, Marshall Phillips and lone senior Hanna Stackhouse.
Goldsboro (4-11) won more games last year than they had in all its previous seasons combined and will bring back the bulk of last year’s team.
Dakota Jones (.447), Riley Howell (.325), Matti Rose Lyon (.308) and Nikki Olmstead (.306) are back for the Cougars.
Misc. 1A: Louisburg (19-4) edged Granville Central (14-6) and Oxford Prep (10-8) for the Tar-Roaoke title. Granville Central’s Logan Taylor (.482) returns as does Louisburg’s Taylor Ferguson (.468), Khadijah Strickland (.448), Summer Phillips (.434) and Mackenzie Wood (.433). Arianna Fuller-Bell had a 0.99 ERA for Louisburg.
Kaci Roberson (.548, seven triples), MacKenzie Pendergrass (.481) and Hannah Brummit (.475) lead the way for Oxford Prep.
Chatham Central (17-8) won the Central Tar Heel and graduated just four players.
Private schools: Oakwood (12-4) defeated Cape Fear Christian (10-10-1) for the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A title. Cape Fear Christian, led by Delaney Cumbie (.660), graduated just one player from last year’s team.