Kuykendall’s bat beats WarriorsPisgah to play North Buncombe today at 5 p.m. in Canton
CANTON — Pisgah junior pitcher Callie Kuykendall used her bat instead of her arm to beat visiting Erwin, 5-4, in a NCHSAA Class 3-A West first round softball game at the Diamond on the River Complex Wednesday afternoon.
Kuykendall erased a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first with a two-run homer then she wiped out 3-2 deficit with another two-run round-tripper in the bottom of the sixth to send the Black Bears (15-8) onto the second round.
“I wanted to be aggressive at the plate and jumped on the first pitch in my first at bat in the bottom of the first,” said Kuykendall. “I think it was in the fourth when (Erwin pitcher Kayla McCarson) tried to pitch around me. Trailing by a one in the sixth, Nadia (Hudson) walked and I knew she was not going to pitch around me again. She had to protect the 3-2 lead. I looked for and got a riseball and put a good swing on it.”
Kuykendall was the winning pitcher, although she gave up 11 hits, including three doubles and a solo home run to Hannah Gregg in the sixth that gave Erwin a 3-2 lead. She walked only one batter and struck out seven.
McCarson suffered the loss as she gave up six hits, including two homers to Kuykendall and struck out six batters.
In Friday’s second round, the Black Bears will host at 5 p.m. the North Buncombe Black Hawks.
After Gregg’s solo shot over the leftfield wall in the top of the sixth gave Erwin a 3-2 lead, Pisgah quickly recovered in its next at bat.
Hudson coaxed a leadoff base on balls and scored ahead of Kuykendall, who hit her second homer of the game in the identical spot (left-center) as her first inning blast.
Sophomore shortstop Brooklyn Allen lined out and junior Shelby Tomassi popped up to the second baseman before senior second baseman Sheridan Pressley scored what eventually became the game-winning run.
Pressley ripped a shot off the base of the rightfield wall for a triple. But she was waved home by third base coach Walt Leatherwood when the relay throw was misplayed to give the Black Bears a 5-3 lead.
In the top of the seventh, however, Erwin catcher Natalie Case lined a one-out double and scored on McCarson’s sharp single to cut the deficit to a run. But Kuykendall got the next batter to ground out to Pressley for the second and retired the final batter on a 1-3 comebacker to end the game and the upset-minded Warriors’ season at 11-10.
Kuykendall finished with two homers, four RBI and eight total bases for Pisgah, while Mandalin Blanton, Tomassi, Pressley (3B) and Morgan Henson had one hit each.