Finally! Pisgah beats Franklin in softballIrvin belts 29th career homer, Kuykendall gets first varsity win as Black Bears end skid with Panthers
CANTON — Senior catcher Mahaila Irvin crushed a two-run homer in the first inning and junior Sheridan Pressley scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning on sophomore Callie Kuykendall’s line-drive single to center to give the Pisgah varsity softball team a 3-2 WNC Athletic Conference win over visiting Franklin at the Diamond on the River Complex Friday afternoon.
Pisgah, which has loss 12 straight to Franklin over the past four years, moved to 2-1-1 overall and 2-0 in the WNCAC. The Panthers slipped to 4-2 and 1-1 in the conference.
“I told the team that we had the defense to stay with them that we just needed to play,” said Pisgah Head Coach Cyrena Goodwin. “It was a big win for such a young group and big confidence builder. The most important part is that we are 2-0 in conference. I don’t remember the last time we beat Franklin.”
Irvin’s homer was her second of the season and 29th career round-tripper. The state record is 37, which was set by in 2011 by North Meck’s Sarah Mooney.
“The big factor with Franklin is that they always got in our heads,” said Irvin, “but this year we have been able to really bond as a team even though it has been a lot of younger players. Every senior has really took the lead role and is looking after the younger girls. Against Franklin, we just never did quit, even when Overholt it that bomb. We never wavered as a team. As for the home run record, I am going to play my final season hit by hit and not worry about the state record.”
Kuykendall (1-1) also was the winning pitcher, throwing a complete-game, five-hitter, while striking out three Panthers and walking only one. Her only blemish in the game was giving up a game-tying, two-run homer to the Panthers’ Haley Overholt in the fifth.
Franklin’s Kaitlin Bishop suffered the loss as she gave up five hits, struck out six batters and issued two walks, both to Irvin.
The WNCAC showdown stayed tied until the bottom of the seventh, when Pressley singled and advanced to second on Irvin’s base on balls. Kuykendall lined a fastball inches over the Bishop’s head.
In the JV game, Pisgah won, 6-5.