Emma Turner and her North Johnston teammates definitely got off on the right foot in the NCHSAA 2A softball playoffs.
The senior fired a four-hit complete game and helped her own cause with an RBI double as the Panthers eliminated Midway 5-0 on Wednesday night at George Daniels Field.
The win propelled No. 8 seed North (16-7) into a second-round home game Friday night against West Bladen, which eliminated visiting Franklinton 3-1 on Wednesday. Midway, seeded 25th, finished 13-9.
“Defensively we were solid,” said North coach Chris Batten, whose team pounded out 11 hits, six of them for extra bases. “We usually don’t make many mistakes on defense. On offense we ran ourselves out of two innings and might have cost ourselves three or four runs.
“We did get a few big hits, but we’ve got to get better at the plate. We haven’t pitched a lot of shutouts this year. Emma did a good job.”
Catcher Jada Santiago led North — which is on a six-game winning streak — at the plate with a triple and a double for two RBI, while Lindsey Massengill added two hits including a double with an RBI and Taylor Narron a double and a single.
Midway finished with four singles, all from different players.
“We’ve played much better all season,” Raider coach Leigh Smith said. “We had some opportunities early in the game. We’re a better team than we showed tonight. The good thing is we have a field full of sophomores and freshmen.”
Turner, a senior, struck out five without a walk as the Panthers got their fourth straight shutout.
“My curveball and my screwball were working pretty well tonight,” Turner said. “I didn’t know much about their team. But Jada and I communicate very well.”
North got on the board with a run in the third as Narron hit a one-out single and scored on Santiago’s single up the middle. “We’re doing a good job motivating each other,” the second baseman said. “And it was really exciting playing at home. We got a lot of energy from the crowd.”
The Panthers made it 3-0 in the fourth as Turner led off with a double and scored on a single from Jordyn Scott. Scott later scored on an error.
And they got insurance in the fifth with two more runs, as Narron led off with a double and scored on a double from Massengill. Santiago’s triple completed the scoring.
“We hit really well and got the runs we needed,” said the sophomore Santiago, who has already committed to UNC Wilmington. “And Emma really stepped up her pitching.”