Lady Legion senior softball: Hickory Post 48 pulls out doubleheader sweep at home over McDowell after about a week and a half layover

Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

Hickory Post 48 put two more games in the win column on Tuesday night with a sweep of McDowell Post 56 at Lenoir-Rhyne, 5-0 and 6-3, respectively.

Following about a week and a half layover of Lady Legion play due to a holiday break for Independence Day, the first game didn't begin hot but it progressed once the rust and sluggishness wore off.

“The energy wasn't there like I like to see out of the dugout, but as far as their play, I thought they all played really well,” said Post 48 head coach, Todd Smith. “They didn't have any let downs and they came ready to play.”

Both teams were held scoreless in the first inning, but in the bottom of the second inning Post 48 was able to get on the board changing the momentum in its favor a little, at the time.

Madison Rowe, the Surry Community College product, would step up to the plate and hit one through the middle to bring home Katelynn Thompson to take the lead 1-0. In the top of the third, Post 48's pitcher, Mayson Lail would hold her own as she allowed only two walks in the frame with no hits and no runs.

Lail, the St. Stephens product, pitched a complete five-inning game in the first contest against Post 56, and she did so with force. She would finish with only two hits and two walks allowed, while almost coming away with double-digit strikeouts earning nine.

The turning point in the match-up, however, came in the bottom of the third inning with Post 48 on offense.

With a runner on third, Emma Lay stepped up to the plate. Lay had been looking for her first hit of the season and this would be her chance. She connected in great fashion as she would not only earn her first base hit on the play (which turned into a double essentially off of a Post 56 fielding error), but she also picked up an RBI in the process to put her team up, 2-0, at the time.

The next big offensive play came by way of Surry Community College product, Payton Goble. Goble came up to bat and drove the ball far enough for a two RBI single to put Post 48 ahead, 5-0, at the end of the inning. The scoring runs in the frame came from Emilee Dishman, Kayla Hollar, Rowe and Lay. Thompson would also have an RBI of her own.

Nothing else would go for either squad for the rest of the game, and Post would seal the deal with a game one victory.

In game two of the evening, Post 48 carried some of its momentum from the first game for the most part.

Nevertheless, McDowell put itself on the board first to start the contest by way of Candance Cooper. Cooper would pick up the lone hit in the frame, in addition to the run from a Post 48 error. Post 56's 1-0 lead wouldn't last long though, as Hickory made up for it in the bottom of the frame to score twice and gain the lead.

Goble would shine once again as she picked up a two RBI double to put her team on top 2-1, at the time.

In the top of the second inning, defense would be a factor for Hickory. With Newton-Conover's Destini Vines on the mound as the starter, Post 48 didn't allow a single hit or run. An even bigger show of defense came on a double play put out at second and first base to put a hold on Post 56.

In the bottom of the frame, Vines also stepped up on offense as she knocked back a base hit to bring in Bailey Burton in for the first score of the inning. The scoring wouldn't be over there as Kaitlyn Britton would come in next as she slid home. Then, Shi Pope would get herself a run on a fielder's choice to put Post 48 up, 5-1, at the time.

It seemed as though nothing would go wrong from that point, but it somewhat did. In the top of the third, McDowell showed its fight an was determined to regain the lead. Cooper once again scored a run off of a Hickory error. On the next pitch by Vines, Post 56 scored off of a catching error to bring itself within two, 5-3.

However, Ashtyn Hopson, the Bandys product, wasn't having any of it as she put an end to the frame on a SportsCenter'esque play. The McDowell batter would hit one to the left side toward second base and that's when Hopson made the leaping grab and slung it to first for the put-out. The fans in attendance cheered loudly for Hopson.

Hopson would have about three or four solid plays throughout the contest.

“She played out of her mind,” said Smith. “I can't say enough about her play there. She saved some hits there. Them were some outstanding plays.”

In the top of the fourth, Goble would enter on the mound to replace Vines to pick up the save. She went the last two innings with two strikeouts and one walk, while allowing only one hit. Vines finished with one strikeout and three walks, while allowing one hit and three runs in the win.

As for finishing it out offensively, Pope would score the final run on a McDowell error as a designated runner. Prior to the run, Pope stole two bases in the same play to push herself to third base. With Layne Sain at bat, Pope scored via a sacrifice fly.

Goble would finish the deal in the top of the fifth, as she allowed no hits and no runs.

Post 48 improved to 9-3 overall and 7-3 in the conference (second behind Burke County) and will head on the road to North Lincoln High School on Thursday, July 11 to compete against Lincoln Post 30 for the second time.

Smith said that Post 30 would be tough as it had players missing the first time Post 48 played them this season. He believes that it will be a good outing between them. Hickory swept the first encounter at home against Lincoln County, 7-5 and 6-1.