Lady Legion senior softball Area 1 playoffs: No. 5-seed Hickory Post 48 set for 1st-round battle with No. 4-seed Wilkes Post 31 on Tuesday

Hickory Post 48's Emma Lay (7) attempting to get the Lincoln Post 30 player out on base on July 11. (File photo by Tonya Holmes)
Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

Hickory Post 48’s (11-4) Lady Legion senior softball team are set for a first-round match-up with Wilkes Post 31 at West Wilkes High School on Tuesday night.

Post 48 must come in swinging as it hasn’t played in a little spell as it is coming off of a week of ‘rest’ because its last week of regular season games against North Gaston and South Gaston were canceled.

With a week off, there was plenty of time to practice, but Hickory didn’t know for whom until Saturday night when the Area 1 bracket was finalized.

It was dealt the hand of Wilkes County -- a team that Post 48 has not competed against since the beginning of the season in the team’s first match-up of the season on June 6.

In that encounter, Post 48 split the series, losing the first game, 9-3, and winning game two, 5-4.

Hickory got down early in the first game to Wilkes County, 7-0, before the bats were able to warm up late in the contest but it wasn’t enough.

Post 48’s leading hitters in that game were Emma Lay, Madison Rowe and Payton Goble.

Lay finished 2-for-2 with a triple and a run scored. While, Rowe and Goble each went 1-for-2 with an RBI in the loss.

Game two was a tight one with Hickory able to pull away in the seventh inning thanks to great play on the mound by Mayson Lail.

After Goble had the go-ahead RBI (finished with two in the game), Lail took care of business on the mound in the bottom of the seventh to wrap things up. She picked up five strikeouts, while only allowing one run and one hit.

Kayla Hollar was the leading hitter, going 2-for-3 with a double.

“I think we are a different team now from when we first played them, but I’m sure they are as well,” said Post 48 head coach, Todd Smith. “It was our first real game of the season and we were still trying to see where everyone fit in the lineup and field.

“However, things change a little when you go from a 5-inning game to a 7-inning playoff game, so you may see us utilizing players in a way we didn’t in two 5-inning games. Offensively, we will use each player’s assets to help the team, whether it be just to run bases or just to hit. Defensively, we will continue to do what we have done all year.”

Post 48 will look to sprinkle some of its fairy dust in the playoffs starting with Post 31 after reaching the State Championship in 2018 eventually falling to Concord Post 51.

Smith said he thinks that the team must do a better job getting behind its pitchers and play better defensively.

As far as on the mound, he said that the coaching staff will look at each pitcher and see how they match-up against each playoff opponent.

“You may see all four pitchers (Mayson Lail, Payton Goble, McKenzie Deal and Destini Vines) in a game or maybe only one,” he said. “That is a great option for us to have because I’m very confident of all four of them.”

Post 48 is in the top half of the Area 1 bracket which features: No. 1 Burke Post 21, No. 8 Shelby Post 82 and No. 9 North Gaston Post 266.