High School Sports

N&O All-Metro softball team and final top 25 rankings - 2017

The South Granville Vikings ended the year ranked No. 1 in the final N&O rankings for the third straight season.
The South Granville Vikings ended the year ranked No. 1 in the final N&O rankings for the third straight season. newsobserver.com

A midseason nonconference meeting between Orange and South Granville turned out to be the difference between No. 1 and No. 2 in the final edition of The News & Observer 17-county area top 25 softball rankings.

South Granville beat Orange head-to-head 6-2. The Vikings remained undefeated until faltering in three games to Parkwood in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A championships, coming up just short in a quest for a “three-peat.”

Orange, meanwhile, also got to the state championships, sweeping Piedmont to win the 3A crown. The Panthers were followed in the rankings by South Central (lost in 4A fourth round to eventual runner-up Cape Fear), Lee County (lost to 3A semifinalist West Brunswick in the fourth round) and D.H. Conley (lost to 4A semifinalist Southern Alamance in the fourth round).

Headlining the 30-player N&O All-Metro team is the state’s all-time home run leader Mia Davidson of Orange. She makes her third appearance on the team, as does South Granville’s Miranda Barker and Megan White and Lee County’s Whitney Sanford.

Louisburg’s Arianna Fuller-Bell and Princeton’s Beth Braswell were selected for a second time.

Note: not all stats may be exact as many softball coaches left MaxPreps season stats incomplete, missing a game or two.

N&O ALL-METRO SOFTBALL TEAM

Miranda Barker, South Granville

Senior pitcher is making the N&O All-Metro team for the third straight season and was the Northern Carolina Conference player of the year. Led the N&O No. 1 Vikings to a third straight 2A state championship. Going into the title series: batted .609 with 49 RBIs and five home runs while posting a 0.88 ERA with no-hitters and 209 strikeouts in 151 innings pitched.

Barker
South Granville's Miranda Barker (15) heads to second base after hitting her solo home run. The South Granville Vikings took on the J.F. Webb Warriors in a non-conference softball game in Oxford, N.C. on March 8, 2017. South Granville wins 9-4. Steven Worthy newsobserver.com

Jordan Blake, Pinecrest

Senior was voted Southeastern Conference co-player of the year. Barton College recruit batted .509 with 26 RBIs and seven HRs. As a pitcher, she posted a 2.49 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 129.1 innings pitched.

Blake
Pinecrest pitcher Jordan Blake hurls a ball to first base. The Lee County Yellow Jackets played the Pinecrest Patriots in a softball game that took place in Sanford, N.C. on Thursday, March 9 2017. Lee County won 4-3. Don Beard

Nadia Blevins, West Johnston

The senior lefty slap-hitter was voted the Greater Neuse River Conference player of the year. She helped the No. 18 Wildcats to a 17-5 record.

Blevins
West Johnston's Nadia Blevins (10) lays down a blunt for an infield hit to put herself on base as the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 6th inning. Coverage from the prep softball game between the Cleveland High Rams and West Johnston High Wildcats played in Benson, N.C. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. West Johnston defeated Cleveland 5-0. Dean Strickland

Beth Braswell, Princeton

The senior registered a 15-5 record in the circle while posting a 1.45 ERA. She had 152 strikeouts in just 115 2/3 innings. Led the No. 23 Bulldogs to an 18-6 mark and the Carolina 1A Conference title. Also hit .449 with six HRs and 26 RBIs. This is Braswell’s second straight appearance on the team, and last year it was primarily as a hitter.

Braswell
Princeton pitcher Beth Braswell (19) tries to make a throw to second after a Whiteville infield hit. Dean Strickland

Mary Anna Clement, J.F. Webb

A force on the mound and at the plate for the breakout Warriors, which went from unranked last year to No. 10 this year. The senior posted a 1.61 ERA with 161 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings. Also hit .455 with 37 RBIs, six homers and a whopping 13 doubles.

Clement (3)
J.F. Webb's Mary Anna Clement (22) winds up for the pitch. The South Granville Vikings took on the J.F. Webb Warriors in a non-conference softball game in Oxford, N.C. on March 8, 2017. South Granville wins 9-4. Steven Worthy newsobserver.com

Hailee Cutts, J.F. Webb

One of two Warriors selected to the team, the senior hit .538 with 35 RBIs and seven home runs. It’s the first time J.F. Webb has ended the year ranked since it was first tracked in 2013, and Cutts and Clement are also the only two All-Metro picks in that time.

Cutts
J.F. Webb's Hailee Cutts fields a ground ball against South Granville in a nonconference softball game on March 8, 2017. The Vikings beat the Warriors 9-4. Steven Worthy newsobserver.com

Mia Davidson, Orange

Two-time N.C. Gatorade state player of the year, Mississippi State recruit and the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s all-time home run leader also led her team to the 3A state title. She hit .517 with a staggering 50 RBIs and 12 homers for the No. 2 Panthers and also added 22 stolen bases. Perhaps the most insane stat is how many times she was walked this year – 46. No one else in the state recorded more than 27, according to MaxPreps.

Davidson
Orange's Mia Davidson (33) holds at first during the N.C. 3A State Championship softball game with the Piedmont Panthers high school and the Orange Panther high school in Raleigh N.C. on June 3, 2017. Orange won the game 4-1. Johnny Johnson newsobserver.com

Cam Davis, South Central

The junior was among the state’s leaders in RBIs and helped lead the No. 3 Falcons to a 23-3 mark including the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference title. Davis batted .453 with 49 RBIs, seven homers and 11 doubles.

Davis-Cam (2)
South Central's Cam Davis is congratulated by her coach after her home run during the NCHSAA Round 1 Softball Playoffs between South Central and Person. South Central won by a score of 10-0. Carin Goodall-Gosnell newsobserver.com

Cara Davis, D.H. Conley

The senior centerfielder for the No. 5 Vikings was well-rounded. The UNC-Pembroke recruit hit .488 with 25 RBIs, seven homers and added 20 stolen bases.

Davis-Cara
D.H. Conley center fielder Cara Davis fields a pop fly. The C.B. Aycock Golden Falcons visited the D.H. Conley Vikings in a nonconference softball game on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. newsobserver.com

Arianna Fuller-Bell, Louisburg

Making her second appearance on the team – she also made it her sophomore year – for the No. 15 Warriors. Fuller-Bell went 13-5 in the circle with a 0.80 ERA. She struck out 95 batters in 98 innings and also did a lot of damage as a hitter. The Salem College recruit hit .523 with 34 RBIs and four homers.

Fuller-Bell
Louisburg's Arianna Fuller-Bell (16) winds up to deliver the pitch. The Louisburg Warriors took on the Granville Central Panthers in softball in Louisburg, N.C. on April 4, 2017. Louisburg wins 13-1. Steven Worthy newsobserver.com

Kristina Givens, Orange

Went out on top with the No. 2 Panthers, going 22-3 as a pitcher with a 1.36 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 119 innings. Also hit .413 with 39 RBIs and four homers.

Givens
Orange's Kristina Givens (21) keeps the Piedmont Panthers off the bases during the N.C. 3A State Championship softball game with the Piedmont Panthers high school and the Orange Panther high school in Raleigh N.C. on June 3, 2017. Orange won the game 4-1. Johnny Johnson newsobserver.com

Ally Goss, South Granville

One of three freshmen on the team and one of three South Granville players, she hit .506 with a whopping 48 RBIs and staggering 18 doubles.

Goss
South Granville's Ally Goss (18) fields a ball at second base in Game 3 of the NCHSAA 2A softball state championships as the Vikings played the Parkwood Rebels on June 3, 2017 at UNC-Greensboro. Don Beard

Marissa Green, Wake Christian

The TISAC player of the year got it done in multiple ways for the No. 24 Bulldogs. The junior hit .472 with 36 RBIs and eight homers but was even better pitching with a 1.05 ERA, and 163 strikeouts in 87 innings.

Green
Wake Christian's Marissa Green pitches during NRCA's softball game at Wake Christian on Friday, April 28, 2017. Wake Christian won the game 10-1. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Haley Haislip, Wake Christian

The freshman tied for the most home runs in The N&O area with 12 while hitting .425 with 46 RBIs. One of two Bulldogs players to make the team after helping Wake Christian go 26-6 to finish No. 24 in the N&O rankings.

Haislip
Wake Christian's Haley Haislip expresses her frustration after hitting a pop up in the infield during NRCA's softball game at Wake Christian on Friday, April 28, 2017. Wake Christian won the game 10-1. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Summer Howerton, Rolesville

The junior pitcher had a solid 2.14 ERA with 59 strikeouts (one game missing from the stats) but did more damage with the bat: she hit .500 with 34 RBIs and four RBIs.

Howerton
Rolesville's Summer Howerton (9) pitches during Rolesville's softball game at Heritage on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Heritage won the game 5-1. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Carmen Keene, South Johnston

The senior was voted the Two Rivers 3A Conference player of the year after posting a 1.45 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 86 2/3 innings and also batting .449 with 24 RBIs.

Keene
South Johnston pitcher Carmen Keene (11) winds up to deliver a pitch to the Princeton batter. Coverage from the prep softball double header between the Princeton Bulldogs and the South Johnston Trojans played n Four Oaks, N.C. on Friday, March 17, 2017. South Johnston defeated Princeton 6-2 in the first game and 4-3 in the second game. Dean Strickland

Makenna Matthijs, D.H. Conley

The senior and UNC-Greensboro recruit had one of the best stat lines from any slugger in the area: batted .580 with 47 RBIs, six homers, 7 triples and added 10 stolen bases to boot.

Matthijs
D.H. Conley's Makenna Matthijs (12) rounds third after a homer during the C.B. Aycock High School girl's softball game against D.H. Conley High School in Greenville, N.C. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Carl Copeland newsobserver.com

Lindsey McCallum, South Central

One of two South Central players to make the team and, like Cam Davis, she too had 49 RBIs on the year. The senior shortstop hit .511 with 13 doubles.

McCallum (2)
South Central's Lindsey McCallum fields a ground ball in the NCHSAA first round of the 4A softball playoffs between South Central and Person. South Central won by a score of 10-0. Carin Goodall-Gosnell newsobserver.com

McKenzie McCullen, Northern Durham

The junior was voted PAC-6 Conference Player of the Year after having a great year in the circle (1.22 ERA, 76 strikeouts in 46 innings) and an even better one at the plate (hit .571, 20 RBIs, seven triples).

McCullen
Jessica Wright, second from right, of Northern runs to the 1st base while sending her teammate McKenzie McCullen, left, to home against Jordan's catcher, Sarah Parrott, second from left, and Jordan's 1st baseman Hannah Kauwe, right. The Northern Durham Knights played the Jordan Falcons in a softball game that took place in Durham, N.C. on Friday, March 17 2017. Northern Durham won 21-0. Fabian Radulescu newsobserver.com

Mary Elaine Murdock, Rolesville

One of two Rams to make the All-Metro team – her and Summer Howerton are the first two in school history to do so. Murdock also broke the .500 mark at the plate, batting .562 with 25 RBIs and three homers. The catcher added 13 stolen bases.

Murdock (2)
Rolesville catcher Mary Elaine Murdock (13) makes contact during Rolesville's softball game at Heritage on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Heritage won the game 5-1. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Olivia Oates, Apex

The senior and William Peace recruit was 13-2 as a pitcher with a 1.19 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 99 2/3 innings. She also hit .424 with 23 RBIs.

031717-SFB-APX-GHO-CMA-0024
Apex's Olivia Oates fields a ground ball during the softball game, which was played at Green Hope on Friday, March 17, 2017. Apex won 3-2 in extra innings. Christine Adamczyk newsobserver.com
 

Amberlynn Pearce, North Johnston

The sophomore was a strikeout machine for the No. 13 Panthers, going 20-5 with a 2.75 ERA and 151 Ks in just 89 innings.

Pearce
North Johnston's Amberlynn Pearce (5) delivers the pitch during the Bunn High School softball game against North Johnston High School in Kenly, N.C. on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Carl Copeland newsobserver.com

Mookie Powell, C.B. Aycock

The speedy senior easily had the best batting average of any All-Metro player this season, posting a .620 with 18 RBIs and 16 stolen bases for the No. 8 Golden Falcons.

Powell
C.B. Aycock's Tanika Powell "Mookie" (4) listens to coach Lavon Matthews while at third base. The C.B. Aycock Golden Falcons visited the D.H. Conley Vikings in a nonconference softball game on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Carl Copeland newsobserver.com

Raygan Rensing, Heritage

One of two freshmen to make the team, she went 16-1 as a pitcher with a 1.87 ERA and a stellar 136 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings. Also batted a respectable .360 at the plate for the No. 6 Huskies.

Rensing
Heritage's Raygan Rensing (5) slides safely into home as Rolesville catcher Mary Elaine Murdock (13) loses control of the ball during Rolesville's softball game at Heritage on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Heritage won the game 5-1. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Kaylee Saunders, Louisburg

No one in the state stole more bases than did the sophomore. Saunders batted .562 with 18 RBIs and five triples and stole 50 – yes, 50 – bags this year for the 1A East runner-up.

Saunders
Louisburg's Kaylee Saunders (10) swings at the pitch. The Louisburg Warriors took on the Granville Central Panthers in softball in Louisburg, N.C. on April 4, 2017. Louisburg wins 13-1. Steven Worthy newsobserver.com

Whitney Sanford, Lee County

The East Carolina recruit was almost unhittable and led the No. 4 Yellow Jackets to a 25-2 mark and fourth-round appearance. The senior was 20-1 with a 0.27 ERA (lowest in the area) and an eye-popping 295 strikeouts (most in the area) in just 132 innings pitched. Also did well as a hitter, batting .419 with 23 RBIs.

Sanford
Lee County pitcher Whitney Sanford (9) hurls the ball to the plate. The Lee County Yellow Jackets played the Pinecrest Patriots in a softball game that took place in Sanford, N.C. on Thursday, March 9 2017. Lee County won 4-3. Don Beard

Carson Shaner, Northwood

The senior was one of just two players to top the .600-mark on the year and had the most triples of anyone on the team. The UNC-Wilmington recruit batted .609 with 47 RBIs, eight home runs and 11 triples for the No. 17 Chargers.

Shaner
Carson Shaner, right, of Northwood celebrates along her teammate Ally McKee (22) after making a catch in the outfield. The Northwood Chargers played the Fike Demons in a softball game that took place in Pittsboro, N.C. on Wednesday, May 10 2017. Northwood won 10-4. Fabian Radulescu newsobserver.com

Cassidy Somers, Panther Creek

One of the top 4A pitchers in the state went 18-3 with a 1.65 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 127 innings. The senior led Panther Creek to a 19-4 mark and a No. 12 final ranking – the first time the Catamounts have ended the year ranked.

Somers (2)
Panther Creek pitcher Cassidy Somers (6) pitches during Panther Creek's softball game against Holly Springs that took place on Friday, March 17, 2017 in Holly Springs, N.C. Holly Springs won 11 to 6. Don Beard newsobserver.com

Megan White, South Granville

The junior catcher is making her third straight appearance on the All-Metro team. Going into the 2A title series she was hitting .521 with 40 RBIs and 11 homers.

White
South Granville catcher Megan White (10) catches the ball while talking to teammates before playing at J.F. Webb in a nonconference softball game on March 8, 2017. The Vikings beat the Warriors 9-4. Steven Worthy newsobserver.com

Grace Valchar, Heritage

The junior catcher was named the district’s 4A player of the year after batting .512 with 37 RBIs and three homers for the 22-3-1 Huskies.

Valchar
Heritage catcher Grace Valchar (9) brings in a foul pop-up during Rolesville's softball game at Heritage on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Heritage won the game 5-1. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Final N&O Softball Rankings

Rank, Team

Pvs

Rec.

1. South Granville

1

27-2

2. Orange

8

26-3

3. South Central

3

23-3

4. Lee County

2

25-2

5. D.H. Conley

5

23-4

6. Heritage

4

22-3-1

7. Holly Springs

6

18-5

8. C.B. Aycock

9

22-4

9. Garner

7

20-3

10. J.F. Webb

10

21-5

11. Apex

12

18-4

12. Panther Creek

14

19-4

13. North Johnston

13

20-6

14. Bunn

11

18-3

15. Louisburg

18

24-5

16. Cleveland

15

19-6

17. Northwood

16

18-6

18. West Johnston

22

17-5

19. Beddingfield

23

16-5

20. East Chapel Hill

24

17-4

21. Jordan-Matthews

20

19-7

22. Chatham Central

21

19-4

23. Princeton

17

18-6

24. Wake Christian

19

26-6

25. Fuquay-Varina

25

11-9

N&O All-Metro softball team

Name, school

Yr.

Accomplishments

Miranda Barker, South Granville#

Sr.

Hit .609, 49 RBIs, 5 HRs / 0.88 ERA, 8 no-hitters, 209 Ks in 151 IP

Jordan Blake, Pinecrest

Sr.

Hit .509, 26 RBIs, 7 HRs / 2.49 ERA, 100 Ks in 129.1 IP

Nadia Blevins, West Johnston

Sr.

Greater Neuse River POTY

Beth Braswell, Princeton*

Sr.

1.45 ERA, 152 Ks in 115.2 IP / Hit .449 with 6 HRs and 26 RBIs

Mary Anna Clement, J.F. Webb

Sr.

1.61 ERA, 161 Ks in 130.1 IP / Hit .455, 37 RBIs, 6 HRs, 13 doubles

Hailee Cutts, J.F. Webb

Sr.

Hit .538, 35 RBIs, 7 HRs

Mia Davidson, Orange#

Sr.

Hit .517, 50 RBIs, 12 HRs, 22 SBs, 46 BB

Cam Davis, South Central

Jr.

Hit .453, 49 RBIs, 7 HRs, 11 doubles

Cara Davis, D.H. Conley

Sr.

Hit .488, 25 RBIs, 7 HRs, 20 SBs

Arianna Fuller-Bell, Louisburg*

Sr.

13-5 with 0.80 ERA, 95 Ks in 98 IP / Hit .523, 34 RBIs, 4 HRs

Kristina Givens, Orange

Sr.

1.36 ERA, 126 Ks in 119 IP / Hit .413, 39 RBIs, 4 HRs

Ally Goss, South Granville

Fr.

Hit .506, 48 RBIs, 18 doubles

Marissa Green, Wake Christian

Jr.

Hit .472, 36 RBIs, 8 HRs / 1.05 ERA, 163 Ks in 87 IP

Haley Haislip, Wake Christian

Fr.

Hit .425, 46 RBIs, 12 HRs

Summer Howerton, Rolesville

Jr.

Hit .500, 34 RBIs, 4 HRs / 2.14 ERA, 59 Ks

Carmen Keene, South Johnston

Sr.

1.45 ERA, 72 Ks in 86.2 IP / Hit .449, 24 RBIs

Makenna Mattijs, D.H. Conley

Sr.

Hit .580, 47 RBIs, 6 HRs, 7 triples, 10 SBs

Lindsey McCallum, South Central

Sr.

Hit .511, 49 RBIs, 13 doubles

McKenzie McCullen, Northern Durham

Jr.

1.22 ERA, 76 Ks in 46 IP / Hit .571, 20 RBIs, 7 triples

Mary Elaine Murdock, Rolesville

Jr.

Hit .562, 25 RBIs, 3 HRs, 13 SBs

Olivia Oates, Apex

Sr.

1.19 ERA, 99 Ks in 99.2 IP / Hit .424, 23 RBIs

Amberlynn Pearce, North Johnston

Soph.

2.75 ERA, 151 Ks in 89 IP / Hit .256

Mookie Powell, C.B. Aycock

Sr.

Hit .620, 18 RBIs, 16 SBs

Raygan Rensing, Heritage

Fr.

16-1 with 1.87 ERA, 136 Ks in 93.2 IP / Hit .360

Kaylee Saunders, Louisburg

Soph.

Hit .562, 18 RBIs, 5 triples, 50 SBs

Whitney Sanford, Lee County#

Sr.

20-1 with 0.27 ERA, 295 Ks in 132 IP / Hit .419, 23 RBIs

Carson Shaner, Northwood

Sr.

Hit .609, 47 RBIs, 8 HRs, 11 triples

Cassidy Somers, Panther Creek

Sr.

18-3 with 1.65 ERA, 181 Ks in 127 IP

Megan White, South Granville*

Jr.

Hit .521, 41 RBIs, 11 HRs

Grace Valchar, Heritage

Jr.

Hit .512, 37 RBIs, 3 HRs

*-Two-time pick; #-Three-time pick.

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